our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a


feet on the ground

Someone informed me that universal moral principles, world community, and justice are all dubious concepts.


This Dubious-ity. Why not apply it equally to cities -- as long as we're considering worldly communities (along with peace love and understanding) dubious. I suppose cities are indubitable -- certain and real -- because we delineate them in space and material planes where we can cut them up as property, thus granting them the magic essence of indubitability. But all we're really talking about is the headache of making agreements -- agreements that we have to have for concepts such as human rights, treaties, and points of law, all the dubious things we might need -- because like it or not, we are one world, certainly one vast marketplace, like it or not, and we better have some understanding, some ground rules, some dialogue that attempts a delineation of this (ever-expanding) playing field.

In many ways, communities and these intangible dubious things are the only things really real to the psyche, the place where we spend most of our time storing the me inside our body. They're not dubious at all when they're the basis for understanding law and protocol and heritage and even the shared shadows of our dreams.

What is a world community but this organic, interdependent web of life? It's "what is," not what one wishes or what "should" or used to be. Through community, small and large, we learn to understand the grace of aging, the need for neighbor, father mother brother daughter grandparent, and how they fit and work together; the flow and rhythm of life, of birth, of death, and why one shouldn't steal and lie and kill (it hurts another person: somone you love). It's the ground where we learn to grok other dubious notions, such as honor and humanity, even politics, negotiation and how and why to listen or speak out; that you are not a world or law unto yourself, and that other people are like you with the same needs and desires; that knowing one great truth does not make you know the mind of god. All such understandings are extrapolated from the experience of living in communities, communities that link in ceaseless points.

This living web is what is disturbed, broken, lost in cultures that are cut off, invaded, taken over by outsiders. Alien leaders, dependence, strange ways -- what's left for them but Pax Romana. Praetorian Guards. All meaning becomes forced.

How to build community -- in any world, even one that thinks it's free, self-determined, meets its needs , has strength and power (dubious concepts, all) -- when its people don't meet face to face? When human contact takes place behind glass shields -- cars and offices, even our food comes this way, our leaders televised, our news scripted, our friends and lovers but perfect two-dimensional strangers.

A polarity keeps coming back. We have individuals with unimaginable power to influence things who also feel they've been selected to do GodsWork. And what God is this? There's the question, one which I think "God" in whatever form it takes should be allowed to answer in each of us through the heart-dialogue of our living.

The other pole of this model is the lack of trust that so dominates an individual that it becomes confused with liberty.

Uniting individuals in spontaneous community -- learning first-hand, immersed in the messes of life -- how can that be bad?