Monday, October 17, 2011

Consensus Builds Community

Although I love politics, American politics in particular, I will spare you any analysis of the burgeoning "Occupy" movement - as tempting as it may be. Having said that, I think that there are aspects and outcomes of the movement that are worth discussing. As the occupation of Wall Street persists we are witness to the possibility of community unified by the ideals of humanity: shared, mutual interests, collective concern, servant leadership, empathy and conscientious choice.

In a wonderful article in the New York Times, Sunday Review, the author writes about the Power of Place, and how public space can facilitate consciousness and democracy. He describes how hundreds of strangers are managing to live together, under rather primitive conditions, by sharing and organizing resources, tasks, and energy. But what I loved most about the article was reference to Aristotle's belief that community requires face-to-face conversation. (And in an age where face-to-face conversation is increasingly rare, especially between strangers, the model of community in the park may be an oracle of sorts.) Everyone in the park agrees that consensus builds community.

However, when individuals work collectively, with compassion, intention, and respect to share in a greater vision they are also building community through deliberate acts of kindness. It's as if consensus builds kindness and community.

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