[Springboard] 21st Century Contradicitons

John Cock jpc2025 at triad.rr.com
Wed Nov 7 11:18:26 EST 2007

There are two sets of vision statements mingling in my head now: the "All
the earth belongs to all the people: all the goods (eco), all the decisions
(pol), and all the gifts (cult)" -- which can mean all the goods of earth
belong to the humans, all the decisions of earth belong to the humans, and
all the gifts of earth belong to the humans. All this is true, but not in
the meaning of exclusive or primary human ownership. Therefore, we have to
be sensitive to the "belongs to humans exclusively" misunderstanding.
Indicatively, at our best, our vision meant/means that all humans are meant
to share fully in the universal blessings of goods, decisions, and gifts.
Why not just say "all the earth belongs to all the earth" or "all the earth
belongs to the universe" or, my favorite, "all the earth belongs to all"? We
have to be at least as persnickety today about inclusive earth-community
language as we are about gender language, wouldn't you say -- like changing
the hymnals and Bible translations to be earth community correct as well as
gender correct -- which is to say we humans have been and are abusing the
total earth community every day in our language: an indication of our
operating images, organization, and actions. 
The other set of vision statements mingling is Jack's trilogy yesterday of
"NEW EARTH/NEW SOCIETY/NEW HUMAN." Though these are very general, they are
super good and easy to remember relative to all the above. In fact, their
simplicity frees me up in thinking about "earth processes/social
processes/human processes" contradictions (you see, I also have a little
problem with the "social process" name being as all-inclusive as we
sometimes infer).
All of which is to say, unlike Roxana and Randy who are always at the head
of the class, I do not have my 3-9 contradictions yet. "21st Century
Contradicitons" really is a daunting assignment. As you can see, I'm just
spinning my wheels, probably avoiding the assignment. 
But I promise . . . 
One more vision (plus contradiction/strategic) statement: "The task before
us now, if we would not perish, is to shake off our ancient prejudices and
to build the earth."


From: springboard-bounces at wedgeblade.net
[mailto:springboard-bounces at wedgeblade.net] On Behalf Of R Williams
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 9:57 AM
To: Springboard Dialogue
Subject: Re: [Springboard] 21st Century Contradicitons

I agree, "legitimate" vision is always indicative.  It is never and
imposition on history of "what I'd like to see," a perversion that often
creeps into organizational planning.  Instead it is, to quote Buber, "what
is emerging from (the visioner), to the course of being in the world."
Thanks for the feedback.

----- Original Message ----
From: Jack Gilles <icabombay at igc.org>
To: Springboard Dialogue <springboard at wedgeblade.net>
Sent: Wednesday, November 7, 2007 8:44:23 AM
Subject: Re: [Springboard] 21st Century Contradicitons


You are right, at least I think so.  When I did my contradictional analysis
I started with the Vision statement we made in 72 (?) of all the Goods....
all the Decisions.... and all the Gifts of Humanness...... It is important
to remember that we saw these as indicative statements.  That is, they are
not what should or could be, but what is.  My thought is that this reality
is now becoming aware to a vast number of people, although they wouldn't
probably articulate it like we did.  People are becoming deeply aware that
we are all in this together and therefore we have to figure out how to make
the vision we stated a reality in some way.  When an awareness becomes
apparent that is being blocked by the present structures, mindsets, etc.,
then the emergence of the contradictions becomes possible to identify.   As
I said, I listed 9, three each for each of the three vision components.
I'll share those later this week.  Thanks for jumping in there.  I like what
you have stated.  Let's hear from some more.


On Nov 7, 2007, at 7:45 PM, R Williams wrote:

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
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
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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