Words, Thoughts, Actions

The advancement of civilization – the theme of this blog – is achieved through action.  It occurs through building capacity in individuals, institutions, and communities to work towards a prosperous world civilization characterized by a dynamic coherence between the material and spiritual aspects of social existence.

Why type, why talk, why think? Why read?  Why not only go act?  Plenty of reasons.  Some, like the relationship between action, reflection, and consultation, have already been discussed.  Along the same note, and key to the field of discourse itself, is the relationship between thoughts, words, and actions.  The way we individually and collectively speak influences the way we individually and collectively think, which influences the way we individually and collectively act.  And vice versa.  Each affects the other two – and a transformation of one can lead to a change in the others.  Discourse shapes thought, action, structure, and relationships.

What led to your conceptions of the nature and purpose of a human being? Of a community? Of education?  Where did you get your speech about the idea of health care? Of politics? Of the role of parents?  Why do you do whatever it is you do on Friday nights? On Wednesday mornings? On the first of the month?  How did you learn what to do at a baseball game? A church? A hospital?

Most of this develops on an unconscious level – at the level of assumptions – as a result of all the complex social forces and implicit environmental factors that constantly surround us.  Existing social structures and patterns of community life think, act, and speak a certain way, all of which bears upon how we think, act, and speak.  In turn, however, the thoughts, words, and actions of individuals make up the thoughts, words, and actions of the communities and institutions of which they belong.  Furthermore, words, thoughts, and actions all influence each other.  And this is just one glimpse of the interconnectedness that governs the universe.

Discourse is indispensable in the process of civilization-building.  Speak to your friend about the underlying oneness of humanity, and he will think about it.  Then he will see others’ actions in this framework.  And then act upon this assumption.  Others will see this action, and express the oneness of humanity in their speech.  What the world needs now is for more and more people to openly, consciously, and intentionally think and speak about our shared collective destiny – at the level of principles, at the level of assumptions, and with a real and foreseeable optimism.  And of course this requires courage – any effort to champion the cause of justice does.



History of the World, Part 1

In previous posts, we read about various fragmented and incoherent conceptions of the individual and her or his relationship to society.  We also looked at an example of the evolution of conceptions of the individual over a historical perspective.  The concept of the oneness of humanity, woven throughout our earlier posts, has helped illuminate our understanding about the nature of social relationships.  Drawing on the analogy of the human body has helped us avoid fragmented conceptions of social reality.  As we delve deeper into the metaphor, refine our understanding of the relationship between cells, tissues, organs, and systems of the human body, we behold a rich model materializing before us of how to avoid extremes of unfettered individualism and suffocating collectivism – a topic of heated contention in western political theory.

Oneness is our foundational principle, which we use as the context to understand our interconnected and collective life on the planet.  It is through the lens of this principle that we analyze and interpret human history.  The next few posts will provide a perspective of history that is consistent with a conception of global and temporal human oneness.

The first point we consider, is that all things are on a path, evolving and developing towards maturity.  This is true of plants obviously: the progression from seed to sapling to fruit-bearing tree. It is true of the human being: from embryo to infancy and childhood to youth and adulthood. And it is even applicable to a conception of society and the path of human civilization: from family to tribe, to city to nation-state, and to planetary civilization.  Each stage betokens requirements and characteristics, each stage expresses powers and limitations, each stage engenders conditions that the subsequent stage supersedes.  From stage to stage, new capacities are trained and awakened, new limitations wax and old ones wane, and novel challenges are confronted.  The progression is not linear, but rather goes through cycles, characterized by ebbs and flows of tragedies and triumphs, of crisis superseded by victory.


Oneness through Time and Space

Following the last post’s foundational conviction that society should be organized according to the principles of reciprocity, cooperation, and interconnectedness, that oneness is the operating principle of civilization – as well as following a previous post’s idea that oneness is an ontological truth of reality – our perspective takes on dimensions of time and space.

On a spatial level, these principles imply the need for a global perspective.  The well-being of geographically distant people is taken into account for personal and collective decision-making.  If, indeed, oneness of humanity is the principle by which civilization operates, then the well-being of the entire earth’s population needs to be accounted for in decisions made by any one part of the world.  (And this is precisely how human physiology operates.)

On a temporal level, our perspective needs to be intergenerational.  In other words, the well-being of future generations of people is taken into account for any personal, local, collective, or world-wide decision-making.  If one thinks more deeply, this is also a feature of human physiology, particularly during embryonic and infant stages of development.  This temporal dimension to the oneness of humankind provides the foundation for the concept of sustainability – concern for future well-being – a concern that is more fully understood when adopting a vision of the body of humanity over time.

The environment crisis is one practical example of ignoring these two dimensions of oneness.  Can you think of others?  How can these issues be addressed through this richer understanding of oneness?  Any daily life examples of the operationalization of the principle of oneness?

Human Nature Oneness

Oneness as an Ontological Truth

The analogy of the human body to the body of humanity provides important insights to the nature of human society and the relationship between the individual and the collective, as well as into the principle of oneness itself. Yet, the concept of oneness embodies a deeper truth. Ultimately, oneness is a defining characteristic of the entire phenomenal world. Reality is one. Every part of the universe is connected with all other parts; every reality is an essential requisite of other realities; and cooperation and reciprocity – so characteristic of the functioning of the human body, as well as characteristics that the body of humanity desperately needs as it transitions to maturity – are manifestations of the interconnectedness that governs the entire universe.

The intrinsic oneness that characterizes humanity is derived from the underlying oneness of reality itself. It is true of physical phenomena, it is true of the human body, it is true of humanity (though it needs to be expressed in more fuller degrees), all because it is true of reality. This latent oneness of humankind will become manifest when cooperation, mutual aid, and reciprocity characterize all the relationships within our social body.

Thoughts? Please share below.