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Spiritual Revolutions: Revolutionary Spirit

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Re: Agenda?

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Quote:There is very little common ground when it comes to religion. This is why religion-based social services will not bring about global social justice or meet global social needs.Good point.
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Re: Violence and Vision

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irishrose: I'm not sure that it is necessary for each individual to perform a job in which they find personal fulfillment.I think this points to a crucial component of Agapic Radicalism and the moral universe in which it exists: key to Dr. King and Gandhi's vision of the "good society" was the imperative to treat others as you would want to be treated. This is nothing new to Gandhi and King, and can be found in many religious traditions across the globe and history. In context of this discussion, I think it demands an economic system where no one will be forced to do onerous tasks of debilitating drudgery: simply, would you want to do this kind of work, or ask your mother to, or your child, or someone you loved and cared for?Now, there are some who will say, "Hey, I've done this kind of work...it didn't hurt me...let them do it too, it will serve them well to learn a thing or two about the real world where sacrifice and suffering are part of the game."I think there is something, frankly, sick about this kind of thinking: I think it has to do with a seemingly universal compulsion to repeat the trauma we have suffered on to others. The trauma and abuse that we endured is justified because it is seen as training for the "real world", and the continued traumatization of others is rationalized as necessary for the victims own good, and for the good of society.I think this is a kind of distorted realism built upon a terribly truncated vision of what society can and must be. And, as I've stated, I see it rooted in histories of past trauma...out of these histories (both collective and individual) arise ideologies that justify vengeance, punishment, and outright disregard for the needs and fulfilment of others.I think an economic system that claims any sort of moral decency should aspire to provide work that is meaningful and empowering to its members. It should sharpen our capacities for critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and cooperation, and help to reinforce a society of democratic polity and a rule of law that protects individual liberty and personal dignity. It should encourage generosity and care for others, as well as responsible stewardship of the earth and its ecosystems. It should serve to elicit an awe and wonder of existence that fills its members with gratitude and hope for the future.irishrose: I worked those jobs (hated) for financial survival, but my emotional fulfillment came from family, friends, books, theater, etc.I think your ability to rise above this hateful jobs is admirable. I do wonder if there is something askew in any moral system that says "This is hateful, I hate it...but I think others should do it." I should think you would want to eliminate such an experience for yourself and for others? Why encourage or support the continued trauma?And, let's look at the trauma: 40+ hours stuck in an environment where your creative capacities are essentially silenced; your abilities to make decisions largely controlled by someone else; chained to onerous tasks of monotonous drudgery; producing items or services you probably find offensive to your personal value system, and most likely detrimental to the communities in which they are sold; creating a profit which you have no say over what direction it is to be utilized; surrounded by fellow workers with whom the only solidarity you have is a shared disgust for the work you do, and a visceral animosity toward your managers and the owners of the company. Then, let's not forget the transportation to and from work: the smog laced traffic and the stressed out fellow commuters, many of which escaping similar work situations as yours: feeling resentful, unappreciated, angry, and gripped with an existential yearning that says "What the hell is all of this about, and why am I killing myself to do it?"Then, arrive at home: exhausted, numb, overwhelmed and filled with a worry that the bottom may fall out at any moment....enter the Family....feed them, clothe them, educate them, medicate them, entertain them, protect them, meet their emotional and physical and intellectual needs. Deal with their addictions, mental illnesses, physical disabilities, fears and traumas that they have also been on the receiving end throughout their day. Go to sleep. Try not to think about work and the worries of the day. Maybe you medicate youself to slumber: forcing the worries and concerns to leave you some precious time for artifical rest.Now, enter the Social Polity: ideologies, technologies, political parties, CNN, Rush Limbaugh, War in Iraq, Katrina, Terrorism, violent crimes, gas prices, melting ice caps, crystal meth on the streets in your kid's school, corporations with record profits and massive layoffs, outsourcing of jobs, promises unmet, new promises made, and an overarching sense of impending doom....all of this is all the less approachable via the work place. All of this is all the more distant and inaccessable due to the 40 + hours spent weekly stifling your mind and training your body to keep busy doing things you hate for people you largely despise.Our workplace demands the lion's share of our physical and intellectual energies: we simply cannot afford to waste it doing things we hate, nor should we stand by knowing others are trapped in similar situations. We cannot separate the Workplace from the larger Social Polity....more on this below.irishrose: For me the issue lies in the inability to sustain a comfortable (not just survival oriented) lifestyle in even the simplest jobs. I think a more workable goal for the U.S. to strive for is: a person willing to work a typical work week (8 hours five days a week), should be capable of earning enough money to live. I think life-sustainable wages for all work is an excellent idea. I especially like the notion that comfort be part of the equation, not simply survival. Simply surviving ravages a person: it is a profoundly stressful, debilitating physical and mental health. It is comfort and care and relative peace and security that nurture a person into vital health and a family into vibrant social interaction.But, I think the issue is more than money. I think it is also what happens in the Workplace: how it is organized and decisions are made and profit is shared and relationships maintained. I think the Workplace should sustain and support a democratic polity, and this requires a participatory structure where decisions are shared, as well as profit and sacrifice. I think the essential qualities of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and cooperation must be nurtured and trained in the Workplace: because it will bridge the lion's share of our intellectual and physical labor with the world outside of Work.irishrose: Capitalism has its place and competition is not necessarily bad.I think your notions of healthy competition and simple lifestyles are, again, admirable. I think simplifying our consumption habits, appetites, and ways we live as a household and in community are crucial moral, political, and ecological issues...as well as psychological and, ahem, spiritual. Still, I don't see how Capitalism can provide the economic structures such simplicity will require: on the contrary, I see Capitalism as the antithesis to such simple lifestyles. Crucial to the antithesis is the anti-democratic structures of the workplace in Capitalism: hiearchical in nature, built upon a continued drive to defeat opponents, strict adherence to the bottom line of greater profit, sharp distinctions of labor, greater technological subservience, and an incessant need to expand markets....all of which undermine the development of solidarity, democracy, ecological sustainability, and personal sanity. I think Capitalism fuels our darkest natures, insipres greed and avarice, requires massive military expenditure to secure markets and a compliant police force to secure labor...I think it is a consumption frenzy of the worst sorts filling our soil with pesticides, our water with pollutants, and our air with smog...and our minds with trivial nonsense tied to violent imagery. I think we need to envision something much more democratic and decent: something that engenders generosity over greed and solidarity over competition.irishrose: It is o.k. with me that a person willing to work extraordinary hours, sacrificing a personal and entertainment life, makes more money than I do.I think this person is killing herself. I think it is lunacy and self-destructive and probably destroying whatever family she has. It is a dangerously compulsive behavior that lends one more body to the cogs of a system that rewards compulsivity and engenders selfish disregard for others. I can imagine the way she treats those who work beneath her: how detatched she is to their needs and concerns...they are parts of the machine, either they work, or they don't...get rid of the ones that don't, replace them with ones that will. Then imagine how she relates to her peers: constant threats to her position and ascendancy to power; relationships to be manipulated, seduced, bribed; and her superiors as envied powerholders to be unseated and replaced by herself.I think we need to envision something better than this. I think we need to train for the vision, not simply replicating the problem.
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Re: Free market and Education

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Quote:the "good society" was the imperative to treat others as you would want to be treated. And I think it is possible for a person to live her entire life without ever working in a job I would consider fulfilling and yet still be treated as I would want to be treated. I would want to be treated with equality, with fairness and justice and with opportunity. People treated in this way could still choose, or have no other option, than what I would consider a mundane job. She might enjoy her job, though there are jobs that any contemporary society require that I can't imagine anyone finding fulfillment in. This is reality. And as much as I want a job that I find personally fulfilling, I wouldn't want anyone to hand it to me, nor would I expect any extraordinary favors in achieving it. There will be those whose desires inspire them to find fulfilling jobs, and there are those whose values may vary. Quote:I think it demands an economic system where no one will be forced to do onerous tasks of debilitating drudgery: simply, would you want to do this kind of work, or ask your mother to, or your child, or someone you loved and cared for?No I wouldn't want to do this kind of work. But contemporary society requires that work like this must be completed. As I said, I think it unlikely that we regress to a society where these jobs are no longer required. Even in this simpler, more independent society, who is to say that the work was personally fulfilling? It was based on personal survival, and in the U.S., for a while anyway, was largely based on personal land ownership, so the assumption is there was some kind of personal fulfillment. I can't imagine enjoying living in this environment, though. Just because the cow was mine, doesn't mean I would get personal fulfillment from waking at dawn to milk it. The point is, reality precludes us from realistically stating that every person will be able to find work that is personally fulfilling. Reality, however, does not preclude a country like the U.S. from insuring that anyone who works, whether or not in a personally fulfilling job, can receive reasonable wages that keeps them from poverty. As I stated, this can also be accomplished in a free market with healthy competition.Quote:Now, there are some who will say, "Hey, I've done this kind of work...it didn't hurt me...let them do it too, it will serve them well to learn a thing or two about the real world where sacrifice and suffering are part of the game."I think there is something, frankly, sick about this kind of thinking: I think it has to do with a seemingly universal compulsion to repeat the trauma we have suffered on to others. Don't misinterpret my claim that someone has to and will do mundane work, with someone deserves to do mundane work just because I did it. I do not support this hazing mentality, and don't really see it in that light. But I can't ignore that the jobs exist, will continue to exist, and must be completed. Do I feel anyone deserves to participate in this kind of work? No. Do I assume that everyone will hate it as much as I or others do? No. I know people that are o.k. with boring jobs. They just want to get through their work day with minimal thought and effort, in order to earn their keep and live their life otherwise. Can these people be challenged into thinking and acting otherwise? Probably. Do I think this is necessary for a fully healthy individual? Probably. Do I think it is the market's responsibility to challenge this individual? Nope. Do I think this individual cannot live a happy life just because he is not challenged in his work place? Not necessarily.Quote:I think an economic system that claims any sort of moral decency should aspire to provide work that is meaningful and empowering to its members. I'm not sure if an economic system is, or should be, in the business of claiming "moral decency." I think this is more the province of a social system. Although, of course, the two are related. A social system will have more promise for fulfillment, for "moral decency," if it interacts with an economic system that is not so corrupt as our current system. Quote:It should sharpen our capacities for critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and cooperation, and help to reinforce a society of democratic polity and a rule of law that protects individual liberty and personal dignity.I think this is largely where the government has failed the public with regard to the free market. Some of the founding fathers, namely Jefferson, were hesitant in setting up a free market economy in the U.S. Alexander Hamilton had a huge hand in pushing it through. They all agreed, however, that a free market would only be fair if the public was duly trained in order to fully participate in the economic system. Jefferson had a huge hand in setting up government universities (namely the University of Virginia), in order to encourage and financially support education. For years this free market struggled along with all the social changes that can affect an economy. Emancipation put a strain on the market as white slave owners had to provide wages for the work that had, until then, been free. A huge crush of agricultural workers were now looking for wages. Women entering the workplace also put a strain on the market. As did, of course, the Great Depression, immigration, mass production and a new global economy influence. But if you look at today's working public and the economic system, I think the greatest single strain is the cost of education. Until recently, a high school diploma, financially provided for by the state, could make you relatively competitive in the workplace. Today, most secretary and administrative positions require at least a bachelor's degree. If a person desired to work a fulfilling job, it was, at least, possible to land such a job with only a high school diploma. That is less likely, almost impossible, today. The single greatest failing in the current market is the lack of training for desirable jobs. The founding fathers recognized that this was the responsibility of government, not the market. Our current government does not hold the same values. That is why under trained, uneducated masses are forced into low wage, low benefit, degrading jobs.As I said, competition is healthy. There are those who will not compete at a high enough level to attain desirable jobs. That is o.k. with me as long as the opportunity exists for people to be relatively equally competitive. That is not the case today. And, sadly, I don't think it would be too difficult to tweak the system a bit to create a stronger, healthier country. There are three major issues that need to be addressed:1. As I already explained, educational opportunity through government financial support needs to be expanded. 2. As I already explained in my last post, wages for any job, regardless of its personal fulfillment, need to be adequate. (This will include a standard of living well above the current poverty line, and should include healthcare and childcare.) 3. Immigrant workers need to be addressed. A program needs to be developed that allows these workers to participate in these new fair wages and the tax responsibility that will come with them.I know these three goals are all tied up in hundreds of issues, not the least of which is: financially how will they be achieved? But they are a realistic set of goals that do not require too much government participation in a free market economy, encourage healthy competition through competent training and address the ignominy that taints the poorest of our citizens and immigrants. With the international goals the country feels it is able to take on, I don't think those three national goals are overly extraordinary. I also think their fulfillment will likely result in stronger numbers that could more readily contribute to the international goals.Quote:irishrose: It is o.k. with me that a person willing to work extraordinary hours, sacrificing a personal and entertainment life, makes more money than I do.I think this person is killing herself. I think it is lunacy and self-destructive and probably destroying whatever family she has. I think this is a personal choice in a free market placed within a democratic republic. But I think a healthier economic system, based on the goals I set forth above, will not foster such unhealthy competition and personal goals.
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Education driving the Market

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irishrose: There will be those whose desires inspire them to find fulfilling jobs, and there are those whose values may vary.I don't think the issue is finding fulfilling jobs, as much as being shown respect and dignity whatever the circumstances may be. I don't think the workplace should be exempt from this fundamental human right. If the work is not fulfilling, I don't see how it can be properly respecting or affirming the dignity of those doing it. Likewise, I don't see how the owner or manager who assigns these tasks could actually respect and honor the labor involved. I think the solution to a life where rote and meaningless drudgery is inescapable is to compensate those who do so in far better ways: a principle of remuneration that rewards grueling labor over, say, banal celebrity?Another solution would involve a workplace where all shared in the onerous as well as empowering tasks. That means all members of the production force (from top to bottom) will receive needed training, information and share in the decision making that mobilizes their production. CEOs cleaning toilets and janitors planning marketing schemes: this is the kind of democracy Agapic Radicalism envisions. It is essentially a vision of shared power and shared sacrifice.irishrose: The point is, reality precludes us from realistically stating that every person will be able to find work that is personally fulfilling.I agree that the ideal is high and difficult to attain: but I don't think it is even considered in our contemporary economic system. I think there is a good reason for this, and it is not because it is an unrealistic ideal: it is because it is lunacy to share power and sacrifice according to the dominant bottom line that drives global capitalism. I think the contemporary model demands a steady population of disposable labor: simply numbers, impersonal cogs and "its" to be placed, moved, abandoned, dropped, downsized at will....with no voice or share in the decision making process. According to this economic model, Agapic Radicalism is thoroughly unrealistic. But, I think the dominant model is thoroughly unrealistc as well: and is wreaking havoc on the lives of billions and steadily eviscerating the biosphere. Therefore, I think we need to imagine something profoundly different.irishrose: Reality, however, does not preclude a country like the U.S. from insuring that anyone who works, whether or not in a personally fulfilling job, can receive reasonable wages that keeps them from poverty. As I stated, this can also be accomplished in a free market with healthy competition.I think it would certainly be an improvement if wages were raised to meet decent living standards. Of course, out of who's pockets would those higher wages come? You will meet strong opposition from folks who will tell you that this will force them to raise prices and that they have an obligation to share holders to increase profit first and foremost. And, if push comes to shove, they will simply pack up and find a labor force offshore somewhere where they can pay pennies on the dollar for US workers.I think the Free Market requires workplaces where all the members share in the profit and the sacrifice as well as the decision making. This is bringing democratic freedom into the workplace, protecting the dignity of the worker and ensuring wages that reflect decent lifestyles: and that production is not packed up and moved across borders.irishrose: Do I think it is the market's responsibility to challenge this individual? Nope.I think we need to make a distinction between those who purposefully avoid meaningful work and those who are forced to work in meaningless jobs. I think the former are far fewer than the latter: actualy, I would say that a great number of Americans feel they are forced to work in fairly meaningless jobs for fear of losing health insurance, a pay check, seniority, retirement plan, etc. I would say a great number of Americans are working multiple meaningless jobs just trying to make ends meet. I think these folk are not satisfied with their work, are miserable when they give it sincere thought, and feel trapped for the circumstances I've mentioned.If the market cannot deal with the needs of these great many Americans who are trapped in these meaningless jobs (not by choice) then something is seriously wrong with the market. It may be that market moralities will not produce a just soceity: and if that is the case, then those who pursue justice will have to reject market moralities and develop a different way to run an economy.irishrose: I'm not sure if an economic system is, or should be, in the business of claiming "moral decency." I think this is more the province of a social system. Although, of course, the two are related. A social system will have more promise for fulfillment, for "moral decency," if it interacts with an economic system that is not so corrupt as our current system.I think any human system needs to be held morally accountable, and that especially includes our economic systems: considering how these involve those values and institutions we choose to follow in order to feed, house, clothe, and pay for medical care, education opportunity, entertainment, as well as the way we treat the earth to gain our resources and where we deposit our refuse.I agree our current system is deeply corrupt, and I suspect it has something to do with the notion that economics and free market are autonomous of morality: and I think there are good reasons for why this idea is prominent...those most successful in the dominant system are not willing to curb their appetites or lifestyle habits. In a sense, they are trapped as well. Like the woman willing to sacrifice her own life for greater wealth, a market devoid of morality is a market of compulsion and servitude to appetite...anything but Free.irishrose: The single greatest failing in the current market is the lack of training for desirable jobs. The founding fathers recognized that this was the responsibility of government, not the market.I think it has more to do with the moral vacuum within the Market that excuses profoundly unjust and antidemocratic behaviors. I think the training for desirable jobs should include training for how to transform the current anti-democratic workplace into a participatory democracy where profit, sacrifce and decision making is shared by all members. Thus, even if our educational institutions embraced their full responsibility in properly training citizens for meaningful work, unless we changed the market mechanisms that determine value and worth, the training would be for naught, because the depravity of the market would still demand legions of disposable labor kept out of the profit and decision making processes that make up their workplaces.I think the education system (in all its myriad complexities) needs to be front and center in this process of envisioning and defining what the "good society" should look like, what sort of institutions will make it possible, and what sort of values will fuel its citizens to act responsibly and morally.I don't think the education system should be held captive by the market: it should be the shaper of values and vision that will determine that sort of society is good and worthy of sacrifice for its citizens.
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Re: Education driving the Market

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irishrose: 1. As I already explained, educational opportunity through government financial support needs to be expanded. I agree completely, as long as we see the education process guding the market, not being held captive to it. Likewise, we need to expand education to involve life-long learning, making it easy to access and (as you rightly argue) more affordable. I think the Workplace can also be a primary place for education: learning the complex machinations of participatory democracy as part of the production process. This will undoubtedly better equip Citizens to more fully participate in teh social polity of electoral politics.irishrose 2.As I already explained in my last post, wages for any job, regardless of its personal fulfillment, need to be adequate. (This will include a standard of living well above the current poverty line, and should include healthcare and childcare.)Again, it is hard to disagree with this! Can you clarify what principle of renumeration this would follow? By the way, you are demanding a great deal from the current system...some might say too much...some might even say radical, or revolutionary.......irishrose: 3. Immigrant workers need to be addressed. A program needs to be developed that allows these workers to participate in these new fair wages and the tax responsibility that will come with them.I think this is crucial, considering our immigrants are usually the ones engaged in essential services that keep the entire economy afloat...but receive the lowest wages and the worst protection. I think part of this involves a massive Marshall Plan with our neighbors to the South....it means a massive move of fiscal generosity to Latin America...it means providing a generous portion of our GDP not by dumping money into the hands of corrupt governments, but through cooperation with non-governmental organizations committed to human rights, democracy, environmental sustainability, and enhancement and respect for native cultures and traditions. This will work to keep these many men and women home, where they truly desire and long to be, citizens in their own land.irishrose: I think this is a personal choice in a free market placed within a democratic republic. But I think a healthier economic system, based on the goals I set forth above, will not foster such unhealthy competition and personal goals.I agree that your goals will be important steps toward a more just economic system and will undoubtedly be less prone to encourage and sustain such self-destructive behavior. But I don't think she is acting freely, but compulsively: meaning, trapped in an addictive cycle of self-destruction and debilitating disregard of others...within a political system that is nominally democratic. It are these kinds of people that you, me, we will have to persuade to get off the bootle, kick the habit, come clean from the junk of their obsession for more wealth and greater power...they will not be pleased with your notions of fair wages, or universal health care, or greater money for more education, or protection of the rights and responsibilities of the refugees and poorest among us.I think your vision is noble, but unrealistic. Of course, I think mine is unrealistic as well. What both will require is a substantial tranformation of reality from what is to what should be. I think this is precisely the stuff of Faith.
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Re: Education driving the Market

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Dissident: I think the solution to a life where rote and meaningless drudgery is inescapable is to compensate those who do so in far better ways: a principle of remuneration that rewards grueling labor over, say, banal celebrity?Absolutely. And a society where fair wages are distributed would lead to a slow ebbing of capital from celebrity to labor. For instance, fair wages for agricultural workers will surely demand higher prices for all food, especially produce. Therefore, more money will be spent on food, less on entertainment. The less money spent on entertainment, the less professional athletes, movie stars, rock stars etc., and more importantly the less entertainment corporations and executives, will make. CEOs cleaning toilets and janitors planning marketing schemes: this is the kind of democracy Agapic Radicalism envisions. I think this is a gross waste of resources. There are those who are adaptable and willing to learn the skills necessary to be a CEO, there are those that are not. There are varying degrees of intelligence, creativity, desire to work, desire to think, desire to make money when it comes to the marketplace. It is possible to have respect within all frameworks here. That equal, reciprocating respect does not require those who have advanced training, in say business, to scrub toilets. I do, however, understand the appeal of a more democratic oriented ideal for business. It would also have the added benefit that the more equally the individual participates in a democratic business framework, the more productive she is likely to be. But this, as you say, goes against every ingrained notion of business, capitalism and, likewise, financial success. I think the contemporary model demands a steady population of disposable labor: simply numbers, impersonal cogs and "its" to be placed, moved, abandoned, dropped, downsized at will....with no voice or share in the decision making process. And I imagine these "impersonal cogs" will become more personal to the employer when he is required to pay them a reasonable salary. Disposable labor is largely considered disposable, because it is cheap. Money isn't everything, but it is important. And the more expensive a worker becomes, the more his employer will notice him.You will meet strong opposition from folks who will tell you that this will force them to raise prices and that they have an obligation to share holders to increase profit first and foremost. Dissident, I revel in opposition, and I gather you probably are the same way. But seriously, nothing ever happens without strong opposition. I think substantial wage increase is an accomplishable goal. It isn't, by any means, a fix-all goal, but it could be a spring board for other change.I agree completely, as long as we see the education process guding the market, not being held captive to it. Likewise, we need to expand education to involve life-long learning, making it easy to access and (as you rightly argue) more affordable. I seriously think the current perception of education is a (possibly the) major weakness in the U.S. It pervades everything, from poor schooling at the elementary level, to poor parent participation, to poor funding. Meanwhile, politicians are standing their ground based on ideology, and want to give the easy explanations. So Republicans claim teachers and teacher unions are the cause of the failing, while Democrats claim that poor funding is the only cause of the failing. And in the middle of all this U.S. children are receiving poor educations, with high (I think we have one of the highest now) high school dropout rates. There is very low social value for education in this country. The pessimistic side of me questions if this is not intentional among the wealthy and those with the most power. Equal education among the masses has always threatened the land-holding elite. I hesitate to say it is intentional, but I wonder...Again, it is hard to disagree with this! Can you clarify what principle of renumeration this would follow? By the way, you are demanding a great deal from the current system...some might say too much...some might even say radical, or revolutionary.......I tend to think in ideals. I like to think of them as workable ideals, but I know they aren't things that will be necessarily accomplished. Like you, I do feel that, even if these ideals are unlikely even impossible, they should still be part of the dialogue. For too long now the assumption that it can't happen has prevailed, leaving one without even the possibility of the discussion. I recently had a debate with a friend on the legal presumption of safety. That even if I walk in a piss poor neighborhood, I have the right to assume that I will be safe, and would have legal recourse if I was assaulted in any way. Now, I take personal responsibility for my safety, so I, of course, wouldn't walk in that neighborhood, at night anyway. (The argument all stemmed from the typical comment: "she was stupid to walk in that neighborhood," which then infers she deserved what she got.) Anyway, after about a half hour of debating whether or not there is, or should be, a legal presumption of safety, I realized he had given up on safety itself. He did not believe in the presumption of safety, because actual safety did not exist in these neighborhoods, and was unlikely to exist in these neighborhoods. He no longer demanded safety, because he saw that as an impossible goal. This is a long-winded tangent. But the point I am trying to make is that we too easily give up. We say, it can't happen, instead of it is difficult to make happen. That is a large failing socially, which has pervaded our politics and our economic system. In government, I think a lot of this comes down to a fairly incurious voting public, and a society that revels in immediate gratification. The politician who is perceived to get something, anything done quickly is the stronger candidate. We do not accept that the most solid changes need to take place over long, difficult, strenuous years/decades. As for actual numbers with regard to wages, I'm not an economist. In my opinion, off the top of my head, I imagine that the minimum wage would have to, at least, double. I also think varying rates for standard of living would rightly have to be considered geographically. This would then fall into state minimum wages. I also think to keep people from poverty, health care needs to be addressed with wage increases. This will work to keep these many men and women home, where they truly desire and long to be, citizens in their own land.I agree this is the ultimate goal. But, right now, the U.S. is too busy with the Middle East to even pay attention to South America, or, for that matter, most of Africa. The sooner this is accomplished, however, the more successful countries will be in maintaining the different flavors of varying cultures. I think your vision is noble, but unrealistic. Of course, I think mine is unrealistic as well. What both will require is a substantial tranformation of reality from what is to what should be. I think this is precisely the stuff of Faith.You're right, they both are unrealistic, but at least we're talking about it. To a certain degree I would agree it comes down to faith (notice the lowercase "f"), but the faith that drives me is faith in humanity, in my belief that eventually justice will emerge from the rubble just out of mutual respect for other humans, regardless of religion.
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Love

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irishrose: I think this is a gross waste of resources. There are those who are adaptable and willing to learn the skills necessary to be a CEO, there are those that are not. There are varying degrees of intelligence, creativity, desire to work, desire to think, desire to make money when it comes to the marketplace. It is possible to have respect within all frameworks here. That equal, reciprocating respect does not require those who have advanced training, in say business, to scrub toilets.I think this points back to a fundamental component of Agapic Radicalism: leader as servant to the led. This principle has deep, ancient roots and Christians (like Dr. King) would read it throughout the Gospels....finding it clearly stated in the example of their Lord, Jesus. Jesus, the leader par excellence for Christians is the paradigmatic servant who is sent to proclaim justice to the nations: Quote:Matthew 12:18: Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.Jesus presented a community ethos that one would think completely antithetical to the massive Church magisterium that eventually spread throughout Europe and the Americas. One would think it thoroughly contrary to the hierarchical framework of Corporate Global Capitalism that so many Christians take for granted and see as the only alternative for managing human affairs. Quote:Matthew 20: 25-27: But Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. Quote:Matthew 23: 11-12: The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.Quote:Mark 9:35: Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."I think there is something universal in the kind of integrity that can arise from leadership that is willing to get in the trenches with the troops: roll up their sleeves and get dirty, risk the same kind of dangers, suffer the same kind of misery. Part of Gandhi's radicalism involved making his own wool, weaving his own cloth, and wearing clothes of his own labor. Or his Salt March where he led tens of thousands of Indians to bypass the British economic structure: and get their own salt. I agree that different folk have different aptitudes and abilities and it would be ludicrous to demand something from someone who hasn't got it. I do think all players in the production should be informed about all elements of the process: and given the opportunity to receive training to perform in whatever level they prove worthy...but, they won't have the opportunity to do so unless given the chance. This chance won't be available unless those who have positions of prominence and power step aside and help with the remaining task load. irishrose: I do, however, understand the appeal of a more democratic oriented ideal for business. It would also have the added benefit that the more equally the individual participates in a democratic business framework, the more productive she is likely to be. But this, as you say, goes against every ingrained notion of business, capitalism and, likewise, financial success.Very well said. I think this challenges us to revaluate the "ingrained notions" that undergird and promote the dominant economic system. I'm not sure if I support this idea because it makes people more productive, but becuase it is how we honor labor and respect human dignity.irishrose: But seriously, nothing ever happens without strong opposition.Jesus, Gandhi and Dr. King's deaths show the validity of this painful axiom. Actually, I think this axiom (real change provokes real opposition demands real sacrifice) is a foundational piece to what I mean by the word "Faith". irishrose: The pessimistic side of me questions if this is not intentional among the wealthy and those with the most power. Equal education among the masses has always threatened the land-holding elite. I hesitate to say it is intentional, but I wonder...It' hard to deny the teribly ugly history of white supremacy and aristocratic warfare against laboring peoples throughout US experience. But many do. These roots run deep and have left scars and habits on the psyche of anyone who had struggled to make ends meet or survive with social status. I think it is intentional by some, accepted as inevitable by many, and the greater majority of the "land-owning elite" are simply in denial of this terrible history and its ugly legacies. The moral conseuquences are simply too demanding, and the change in lifestyle simply impossible to fathom. There is profound resistance to changing the system that rewards this segment of the population with such opulence and power.irishrose: In government, I think a lot of this comes down to a fairly incurious voting public, and a society that revels in immediate gratification.I think this incuriosity, or apathy, or cluelessness is encouraged by the dominant economic system: it is what happens when you keep a susbtantial portion of the population engaged in relationships where they are not given voice, participating in the meaningful decisions, and offered a fair share of the profit and sacrifice of their labors. Jobs that stifle the democratic spirit are traumatizing and require numbing solutions: alcoholism, drug addiction, zoning out on tv and the web, overeating...anything to forget about the world of work- which is the world where most of our energies and intellect are used up.irishrose: To a certain degree I would agree it comes down to faith (notice the lowercase "f"), but the faith that drives me is faith in humanity, in my belief that eventually justice will emerge from the rubble just out of mutual respect for other humans, regardless of religion.This is an important component in the faith and hope of Secularism: a fantastic trust that humanity will rise above its worst natures of cruelty, tyranny, and criminal disregard for the safety of self or others. I think this is faith because there is so much evidence that points to the contrary: as you said above, there is massive opposition...I think the opposition is within each of us, throughout our social and economic systems. The Secular Humanist, like yourself has a vision of what society should be (in the face of profoundly conflicting evidence) yet still moves forward...seeing incompletely what life should be, struggling against opposition, yet passionately commitment to caring for and nurturing the ideal and vision- when many around you call it foolishness, impossible, and even outright treachery.Paul, another ancient character in the Agapic traditions decribed it like this: Quote:1 Corinthians 13:12: Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.So, irishrose, let' talk about love.
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Re: Love

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Praise God and Amen to Love
irishrosem

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Re: Love

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Dissident: This chance won't be available unless those who have positions of prominence and power step aside and help with the remaining task load. I would prefer that the education and opportunity to perform the preferred jobs was extended at a more foundational level. That is not to say that business cannot also be in the business of educating. However, to think a business would be responsible for teaching an under-trained, uneducated employee, hired in the service industry, to compose complex economic reports is, frankly, ludicrous. The contribution would have to made at the post-high school education level, not once the job is acquired. Should a company spend its capital investing in the future of its company or in the personal fulfillment of individual members of the company at such extraordinary levels? In a free market, even a partially regulated free market, this would be outside the purview of a company, and I don't think that is wrong. As I stated before, there is a place for healthy competition within a free market. There just must also be a system that allows for reasonably comparable competition with regard to training and acquiring jobs. The current system does not allow for this comparable competition. People, students, tend to compete against people within their own class. This helps to perpetuate class distinction with very little movement between classes, movement impeded not by government mandated laws, not by tyranny, but by a lack of equal opportunity. That educational opportunity needs to come from somewhere other than the businesses themselves. Sure a major corporation needs to be open to a woman from Spanish Harlem who holds non-ivy league degrees and does not come from circles familiar to their larger employee base. But on the other hand, a company isn't responsible to make sure a woman with no high school diploma (or these days only a high school diploma), who might be cleaning toilets for the company, has the same opportunity as the woman from Spanish Harlem with advanced degrees from state universities. This is where I said the moral responsibility needs to take place at the social, rather than the business level. We can socially address when and why the high school diploma woman's training and education stopped. This does not mean that both women can't be considered and respected (both socially and financially) as contributors to the company. This is an important component in the faith and hope of Secularism: a fantastic trust that humanity will rise above its worst natures of cruelty, tyranny, and criminal disregard for the safety of self or others. I want to caution or explain that my statement that I have faith in humanity to rise above its current condition in no way concedes the kind of faith that you advocate. My faith is in humanity and knowledge alone, not in god or religion or the soul or spirituality. If there is one sincere belief that I hold without true evidence it is that education and not religion will save humans from themselves in every aspect of their current paths of destruction. On that we shall not see eye to eye. That is not to say that we cannot pursue the same goals, just that our methods will be profoundly different.So, irishrose, let' talk about love.I am both deeply fascinated with and skeptical of love. What kind of love do you speak of?
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Agape

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irishrose: to think a business would be responsible for teaching an under-trained, uneducated employee, hired in the service industry, to compose complex economic reports is, frankly, ludicrous. I think the more ludicrous demand is to expect a polity to function democratically when driven by an anti-democratic economic system. I think there is already profound waste and rampant inefficiency resulting from such hierarchical economic structures. I think the training of all members of the production team will result in a greater overall efficiency, and help make possible the kinds of polity changes that will support the educational vision you and I share for society.I think the training of all members of the production team will bring the wheels of production into proper allignment with the needs of the polity. The needs of democratic polity will not be met by an undemocratic economic system...those needs will only be heard and taken seriously when all of the players in the economic system can share the sacrifice and opportunity. Class Struggle will always interfer with the kind of democratic education vision you, rightly, espouse. The primary engine for this Class Struggle is the workplace. The primary beneficiaries of this Class Struggle do not want actual democratic education, anywhere. irishrose: If there is one sincere belief that I hold without true evidence it is that education and not religion will save humans from themselves in every aspect of their current paths of destruction.My religion requires a lifetime of education: constant, perpetual, ongoing, lifelong learning; a continued searching and exploration of the glory of God in all of Creation. I think this connects back to a post in the Faith thread where I introduce the virtue of Reverence. I think Agapic Radicalism involves a reverence for life that demands constant investigation, exploration and creativity: a kind of wonder and awe at the great beauty and sublime mysteries of Creation which inspires a passion to know and understand and lovingly participate in God's pageant of life and death.The God that Dr. King refers to, and I think is the source of what is most healing and transformative in Christianity, is a God that demands justice and mercy: not merely an aloof, distant, detatched and disinterested divinity...but a profoundly engaged partner...in solidarity with and journeying alongside as one who suffers and rejoices...as one who loves, who is love.Which brings us to your final statement and question:irishrose: I am both deeply fascinated with and skeptical of love. What kind of love do you speak of?I quoted a portion of Dr. King's autobiography earlier in this thread where he discusses a kind of love that is best captured by the Greek term agape. I think it worthy of revisting:Quote:When we speak of loving those who oppose us, we refer to neither eros nor philia; we speak of a love which is expressed in the Greek word agape. Agape means understanding, redeeming goodwill for all men. It is an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative. It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object. It is the love of God operating in the human heart.Agape is not a weak, passive love. It is love in action. Agape is love seeking to preserve and create community. It is insistence on community even when one seeks to break it. Agape is a willingness to sacrifice in the interest of mutuality. Agape is a willingness to go to any length to restore community. It does not stop at the first mile, but it goes the second mile to restore community. The cross is the eternal expression of the length to which God will go in order to restore broken community. The resurrection is a symbol of God's triumph over all the forces that seek to block community. The Holy Spirit is the continuing community creating reality that moves through history. He who works against community is working against the whole of creation. Therefore, if I respond to hate with a reciprocal hate I do nothing but intensify the cleavage in broken community. I can only close the gap in broken community by meeting hate with love. If I meet hate with hate, I become depersonalized, because creation is so designed that my personality can only be fulfilled in the context of community. In the final analysis, agape means a recognition of the fact that all life is interrelated. All humanity is involved in a single process, and all men are brothers. Love, agape, is the only cement that can hold this broken community together. Then I am commanded to love, I am commanded to restore community, to resist injustice, and to meet the needs of my brothers.I think skepticism is wholly warranted regarding this kind of Agapic Radicalism...why trust that those who hate me and wish me harm will be transformed by my love for them? They don't deserve my respect, let alone my love. I think King's point is to highlight the deeper relationship between all humanity that transcends personal grievance and communal history: the links that bind us are more important than the traumas that separate us. And the link, as King describes it, is the power of the Holy Spirit of God...that unconquerable, indefatigable, incessant, driving, mobilizing force that creates community and fuels solidarity. And that force is love. Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 12/13/06 2:06 pm
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