[Springboard] 21st Century Contradicitons

R Williams rcwmbw at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 7 09:15:31 EST 2007


I believe there need to be two backdrops as context for a conversation about 21st century contradictions.  The first is the vision which we embraced with "All the earth belongs to all the people;" all the goods (eco), all the decisions (pol) and all the gifts (cult).  It seems to me any analysis of contradictions has to be over against that vision.  I believe that vision has basically not changed except that it needs to be expanded to include all creation.

Second, contradictions must be considered in light of the imbalance in the social process, which is still today what it was 30 years ago--the dominance of the economic, the subservience of the political (to the economic, example, Greenspan's statement that Iraq is and was always about oil), and the collapse of the cultural.  Not only has the cultural collapsed, but it has been co-opted by the economic.  By this I mean that the economic rather than the cultural has become the meaning-giving pole of the social process, and the political has helped by imposing reduced values.

Now to Niebuhr.  His three contradictions were a reflection of the social process whether he knew it or not--"racialism" (cultural), "nationalism" (political), and economic imperialism.  Reflecting on this, I believe we should identify and focus on only three inclusive "master" or major contradictions, one on each pole of the social process.  As others respond to your query and offer their reading of the contradictions for our time, I expect that each stated contradiction can probably fit under one or another of the SP poles, if indeed the Social Process is as inclusive as we think it is.

This will be interesting because there is so much overlap and inter-connectivity.  A couple of examples.  Racism has been revealed to be a contributing and related cause of poverty,
especially since Hurricane Katrina.  Catholic Charities USA has written a position paper entitled "Racism and Poverty: Overlapping Threats to the Common Good."  Also, I think racism has to be expanded to include a kind of "species-ism" meaning discrimination against the non-human.  A second example--is religious fundamentalism a cultural or political contradiction?  I think I would put it under political.  Islamic extremists in the Middle East and far right evangelical Christians in the US have become political movements.  Rather than trying to "transform" the political, they are trying co-opt and "become" the political.

The primary contradiction under the economic continues to be what it was 30 years ago--the growing gap between those who have much and those who have little, and we must expand this to go beyond just humans.  However, now the emphasis is more on natural resources, particularly water, land and air.  This can be seen not only globally but also in every locale.  In the developed world it is often spoken of as the disappearing middle class.

So with fear and trembling, at this moment here are my three.  Under the economic, Disparate Resource Distribution which has led to economic impoverishment; under the political, Elitist Political Exclusiveness which has led to political powerlessness; and under the cultural, Discredited Cultural Heritage, which has led to cultural disenfranchisement.

I hope a lot of people jump in on this so you have plenty of grist at Junaluska.  Thanks to Roxana for being one of the first.


----- Original Message ----
From: Jack Gilles <icabombay at igc.org>
To: Springboard Dialogue <springboard at wedgeblade.net>
Sent: Tuesday, November 6, 2007 2:23:59 PM
Subject: [Springboard] 21st Century Contradicitons

Dear All,

I have followed the dialogue on the OE list serve regarding the  
updating of the HRN call for social pioneers in the three areas he  
felt at that time where critical for the sensitive and responsive  
ones to respond to.  Since we are referring to the Guild as that  
part of society that is sensitive and responsive to bringing forth a  
new earth/new society/new humanness I think it is important that we  
discern what the critical areas of contradiction are for our time.  I  
have been working on this for a couple of weeks and have developed  
what for me are the contradictions that the Guilds (and the Order)  
need to be addressing.  I won't share them just yet, but would invite  
everyone to think what would be your list.  Next week sometime I'll  
share my list and rationale.

There are many, many areas of concern and issues facing the world  
today.  So to try and discern the critical ones I applied the  
following test.  I asked "What societal contradictions, if not  
addressed in the next 10-15 years will put the global society into a  
tipping point of danger?"  That is, although there are many issues  
facing India today, I discovered a set that seemed to apply here as  
well as in the developed world.  Common contradictions that are  
affecting us all and will "sink the ship" if we don't mobilize the  
sensitive and responsive to creatively respond.  I found brooding on  
the imbalances of the Social Process as well as the Pressure Points  
we discerned 30+ years ago to be helpful in my discernment for today.

Maybe by the time of the Junaluska event we will begin to see a  
consensus of what these are and then we could perhaps do some writing  
on them at the gathering as well as use them as a screen for what we  
might be doing with the Guilds.

I look forward to hearing what you feel the Order needs to address.



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