As we are sitting here and looking at this chart
of the Global Priorities, I was aware that this weekend we touched
on every one of them, either by direct work or by an uptodate
contexting on them. After hearing what went on this weekend I
decided that if I had it to do over again I would do the packet
cover differently. I wouldn't have just the map of Area New York,
but superimposed over it would be the ''Those Who Care" symbol
of the 24 initial Human Development Projects. Also I' would not
have the Area New York Guardians Meeting on the cover, but rather
The Meeting Of the Global Guardians from Area New York. I want
to read you something:
"Within history, in concrete, objective contexts, both humanization and dehumanization are possibilities for man as an uncompleted being conscious of his incompletion.
But while both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives, only the first is man's vocation. This vocation is constantly negated, yet it is affirmed by that very negation. It is thwarted by injustice, exploitation, oppression, and the violence of the oppressors; it is affirmed by the yearning of the oppressed for freedom and justice, and by their struggle to recover their lost humanity.
Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human.. This distortion occurs within history; but it is not an historical vocation. Indeed, to admit of dehumanization as an historical vocation would lead either to cynicism or to total despair. The struggle for humanization, for the emancipation of labor, for the overcoming of alienation, for the affirmation of men as persons would be meaningless.. This struggle is possible only because dehumanization. although a concrete historical fact, is not a givendestiny, but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors; which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed."
PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED,
Although it may seem disguised at times in this talk,
I want to talk about only one thing, "What is a Guardian?"
We have, as you know, made a lot out of the word
"Maneuver" this past year. I think we've gained a great
deal of prowess in waging a war, discerning victory and all that.
But for us who are Guardians and, therefore, the Movement, we
need to continually remember that fundamentally Maneuvering for
us is none of these things, unless maneuvering is something else
first. I find that "something else" hard to talk about
articulately but it is of fundamental importance. Do you recall
those old "Trend" conversations we tried once? Sometimes
they were called "Waves of History" conversations. I
always thought they went badly, but our intuitions were right
about the fundamental task of the Movement for human society.
They were right about trying to grasp the present creative turn
that history is in. That's why they were so hard. They were about
timing not the timing of this force or that, this approach or
that -- they were about the timing of the Way. We've talked about
it in many ways the activity of the Mystery. Katzanzakis has talked
about it as the ascending spiral. Some have talked about it as
the void. I suppose in the Christian Poetry and literature it
is the sets of the prophets o£ the Old Testament uttering
before anyone could see it, what God was doing in History. Or
it is "having the mind of God."
Any of you who have been around long enough to have
had RSI recall that Richard Neibuhr talks about it as discerning
the new will of God. This is absolutely fundamental to everything
else we do -- obedience and responsiveness to the great and fundamental
turn that the Mystery is making manifest in history. It makes
no difference if you do 50 million Town Meetings if they
are not in accord with the creative turn of the Way, then they
are not participating in the continued creative birthing of the
human and humanizing experiment on earth. That is why spirit prowess
is absolutely a life and death issue for us -- not for shoring
up our twisted psyches, hut that we individually sad corporately
become those who have a feel for, a sensitivity to, and know the
Now there is one other aspect to this, although I
have already implied it, the Guardians of Humanness know that
each monumental, vast eon of the turns of time is creative --
or as we might say "good". They are for the continuation
of the human experiment. I like the way the Journal Reading at
lunch came at this when it said, "It need not astonish us
that for some minds the world appears to be full of light, while
for others it seems to be plunged in darkness. The difference
is due not so much to power of intellect as to purity and integrity
of will." Or put another way, only those of the Way can discern
the great historic timing.
Next comes trends -- that is not the same really
as the Timing of the Way. Don't ask me to explain that yet --
I don't know how right now. Trends are critical to right action
-- by which I mean action pointed at the contradiction of the
time and in accord with the creative momentum of the era. Going
back to these "wave" conversations again, what was frustrating
about them was that we would use as data what we'd seen in Newsweek
or a movie, or the paper, but whether we got it articulated or
not, what you knew wee that once it had hit those spots it was
already a wave crashing on the shore and another new one was forming
-- and it wee the unformed one we needed to discern It is discerned
from seeing and hearing and smelling -- it is from casual conversations,
from fledgling groups and coalitions that are forming, it's from
the feel of the streets, the sounds of the music, from the spirit
of the times. It's the hints - unnewsworthy, not seen nor beard,
nor remembered by most. It's a strange pair of eyeglasses no one
else wears. Some of our poetry to talk about it would be visiting
this world from the other world. It is profound spirit and detachment
and at the same time passionate love for the creation -- that's
what it takes. But whoever sells his soul to this or that, to
this community or that program id blinded; they cannot discern
the trends for they no longer stand in the Way. It's a trick to
remain in that posture. Herein lies the value of the acceleration
treks -- new eyes. It is inevitable that people in passionate
identification with a community go blind -- for the moment. We
send them new eyes of the way, and since they are of the Way their
sight is restored.
One more word on trends. We are concerned fundamentally
with the trends that are the means of furthering humanization.
It is this that we are about. I don't care about Ivy City, or
Kelapa Duas I don't care about Brockton or Harlem, I don't care
about literacy programs or stakes, health advocates or Local Economic
Vehicles. I don't care about people leaving the order or movement;
pouting Guardians or disgruntled priors. I don't care if the Order
goes out of existence except as it frustrates or furthers the
vast vocation of humanization. Unless I keep clear on this, I
will not be of the Way and will where after a thousand worries
and be useless to the Mystery.
Now another aspect of this whole thing is readiness;
the world's and ours. It's related to the trends and it's related
to the great creative turns, but it's within a smaller time frame
I think. Our action rides on the crest of the world's receptivity
-- don't get me wrong; we are not controlled by it, but use it.
We knew of the Women's Forum in 1970 -- you couldn't give it away,
let alone market it. That's what I'm pointing to with readiness.
There is today a readiness for what we have called "local
engagement". I won't rehearse all of the signs, et cetera,
but I want to add that this is not really the readiness, this
is but the overt sellable manifestation -- the real readiness
is for spiritual rebirth, ethics, care, vocation.
Then there is our readiness to participate in the
Way of humanization. That has first of all to do with articulating
the contradiction currently manifest in the social fabric. Remember
in PLC's how we used always to start with the G1obal? Well, that
has not changed! In the first instance we are concerned only with
the global contradiction -- that which in this time is fundamentally
blocking the effective thrust of the trends toward humanness in
the light of the societal readiness. Only in the light of this
clear statement of contradiction can their manifestations in more
limited geographical configurations make sense. In the movement
we spent really from 1968 to 1974 discerning with radical clarity
these global contradictions and in response to them have come
the three campaigns: the Town Meeting and The Global Social Demonstration
are the proposed responses to the contradictions.
Now the question is delivery, not contradiction.
That is to say, if Town Meeting and Global Social Demonstration
are not responses to the other side of the articulation of the
contradiction, then we need to begin again. There is no contradiction
in Town Meeting or Global Social Demonstration, rather the question
is, how to maneuver in order that they are victoriously delivered
where they need to land, with the right force, on time -- something
like that. What I'm trying to say is that this is a time of theatre
and field maneuvers, not contradictions.
I'm not going into all the details of maneuvering.
I'm still talking about what it means to be a Guardian in case
you got lost in all this. I just want to point out what I think
it means to be a Maneuverer of the Way. It means that you begin
with victory -- that is the starting point. If I can be a little
theological here -- you start with victory because you are a person
of the Way and the Way has already won and therefore you have
no other starting place. Anyone who starts a campaign or war with
the question, "do you think we can win?" won't. You
start with a vision of the victory as your standing ground. That's
what the book of Revelation is about, I think, envisioning the
victory of the Way, discerning the war chat will be fought, and
then clarifying the battles that must be done. Then it is that
you know how to start. At every moment of the war and battles
it is critical to reenvision the victory -- it alone keeps
the maneuvers on target.
Now I want to spend a little time on that victory.
It has to do with Awakenment and Engagement -- that won't surprise
anyone, I guess. But I don't think they are finally two things,
but one -- Awakenment. I remember ~ used to try to get my daughter
out of bed and I'd say, "Are you awake?" She'd say,
"Yes" but then I didn't hear anything -- no water running,
no footsteps, no closet doors -- nothing! Anyone really awake
is engaged or else they are lying about being awake. But let's
talk about them separately for the moment.
The Awakenment of the way know that: this is a never
ending and continuing teak for their whole life. I wee thinking
of the man who came to our meeting yesterday. He almost got burned
out in the sixties working in urban Boston, partly because he
didn't see the fruit of the labor, but partly because, like most
of us, he thought it would be completed. You can't be a guardian
long without knowing the relief that comes, knowing that that
is not so. We are about the awakening of every town, every social
structure, every social institution, awakening them to the next
creative leap in humanization. "Goldingin" does
not mean being "done". There are thousands of more towns.
"Golding in" is but a minuscule tactic a gimmick
on the long march - don't be fooled.
And the Engagement -- those Human Development Projects.
Their function is a "look and see" task. How many of
those does it take? I hope you don't mind my using a little scripture,
but remember when John the Baptist's disciples came to Jesus to
check him out? He said, "Look and see!" And when the
awakenment happens, you take your finger and point and say, "Look",
and see what profound community can be. And then maybe you whisper
in their ear, just like Jesus did, "Greater things than this
will you do!"
But really, this is not the victory; the one of the
Way envisions at all, finally. Rather, it is profound human and
humanizing community. It is primal community. That's the old word
that is rapidly coming back. Primal Community and Global Servant
Force are in my mind one scene of the victory -- they are one
thing, for Primal Community is not painted store fronts and parks,
in the first instance; rather it is the presence of the spirit
of the Way actively alive across the globe in every place, profounding
the meaning of life and the forms of social care. Remember, I'm
still answering the question, "What is a Guardian?"
When I get all that said to myself, then those Global
Priorities blaze. Then "golding" the counties is absolutely
critical because it is a strategy for honoring the Way of humanization.
Then it is that I know that the fate of the great leap is related
to every place. If a corner of California isn't done, all our
work in New York is for nothing. If Vogar doesn't come off, Joyce
Ollison might as well go to bed in Ivy City. It is not just cleverness
to call ourselves the Global Guardians. The work of our task farces
was about the Globe. We have to figure out how to do all of this
faster, not because we need to keep up our motivity, but because
the timing is right -- the opening in the line is before us and
we don't know for how long.
We are called to be guardians of the Way. Guardians
of the movement of the spirit in history -- not the guardians
of any particular thing, but of no thing. Katzanzakia talked about
this as being the Saviors of Gad -- I like guardians of the Way
better myself. We are first of all to be a sign of that way; the
embodiment of it. Jesus said, "I AM the Way..." shocking
isn't it? I guess that is why Human Development and Town Meeting
work is not manipulative mechanical tactical action, nor even
artistic secular warfare, but rather is prayerful tactics and
In other words, we are called to be the Yes. We are
the advocates of the way. Our primary insight of the quarter in
Town Meeting setup is that if you go looking for a Yes in
the community you will not find it, unless you are the Yes in
that community that requires no responding yes for sustenance.
Put another way, we are the miracle in the community, we are not
sustained by the miracles in the community.
As Guardians of the Way, we are at the same time
the guardians of the forms through which that way is made known.
It is in that context that we can talk about being Guardians on
the Movement. That way is made manifest in all ages through forms
-- enfleshment. If you cannot guard this form now in being, then
be a guardian of something else. Or in deep prayer and meditation
determine the ways in which this form must change. And mind you
-- only for the sake of human society -- and then put your spiritual
life behind it. We cannot be a guardian of the Way if we forever
bitch about the form it is in.
We are also called to guard the War itself: the War
for humanization -- and it is a War. This means for me, Guarding
the Global Priorities, guarding the supply lines. For some of
you it means authenticating and lending creditability and advocacy
so that the awakenment and engagement programs and maneuvers can
be delivered effectively. Guarding the Way means constantly seeing
that the war remains on target. On target, not first of all in
relationship to the Movement Priorities, but in terms of the Way's
creative turn itself.
Guardianship of the Way is a continual Journey in
prowess. The number one priority seems to me is not the expertise
in this or that no matter how valuable ant crucial these skills
may be, but in secular -- spiritual gianthood.
Meeting of the Global Guardians of Area New York
December 24, 1977