Sunflowervillager's Blog

Growing into community

Principles May 27, 2009

Filed under: solidarity,subsidiarity,sustainability,transparency,values — Saera @ 3:07 am

After the preceding post, I went back and worked through some definitions of things I’d said I’d write about awhile ago. It seems like a long list maybe, but these things linked together and my explanations say a lot about just what it is I’m trying to do. Obviously these aren’t generally things I have come up with myself, but describe what I feel and value just as authentically as if I had. I am so grateful for those who explicated this vocabulary and gave it meaning to me.

Principles:
Self and Inter Reliance – Self reliance suggests that people have a number of traits which propel them towards greater achievement. Dependency suggests that a person cannot take initiative or be motivated unless they are pushed by another person. While both conditions occur, neither is really healthy, and it seems to me that most people blend a combination of these two, primarily centered on a third type of reliance, which I term inter-reliance. Inter-reliance is when people encourage, inspire, and help each other, sometimes physically and materially, to create value together that benefits both.

Solidarity – Solidarity is the idea that if someone else is experiencing social or other structural injustice, I stand by that person and work with them to change that situation.

Subsidiarity – anything that can be worked out at the most pertinent local level should be, before resorting to another level. For example, a school should have its own dialogue on curriculum and grades before having them instituted for them by the school district, or even worse, the federal government. Another way of saying subsidiarity is the “bottom-up” approach to leadership, rather than “top-down”, which is the most common approach. I, and an increasing number of people, argue that subsidiarity is much more effective (and probably efficient) than top-down. This is related to the fact that the people most proximate to a situation probably have the best understanding of how to solve that situation, as well as a reduced need for bureaucracy and excessive travel to work out arrangements from a “higher” level.

Sustainability
– many people have defined this terms so differently that I almost hate to use it. Its current popular use can be misguiding for a number of reasons. For me, Sustainability is still an adjective more than a noun that describes living in such a way that sustains the future of life. This is not just about the viability of the planet to support human life, although that is an important aspect. It is about being responsible for the way we do things so that the most life is able to survive, whether we think it currently profitable or not. This does not mean that we have to let pests eat all our crops or insist on the utter abolition of antibiotics or that we can’t cut down a tree to heat us in winter, but considering whether the things we do and how we do them are going to promote life or limit it. I do not see sustainability compatible with a number of words with which it is commonly paired, including corporation, and capitalism.

Symbiosis
– life forms cooperating with each other to create a stronger existence for both.

Synergy
– two things working together for greater effect, perhaps also one thing having more than one function.

Self-determination
– the capacity of a person, community, or other group of people to decided its own future based on its own values

Egalitarianism
– the idea that all people should be presented with equal opportunity and rights

Justice
– the pursuit of righting wrongs in human society by pointing them out and correcting them.

Dialogue
– discussion between two or more people to create better understandings, relationships, and solve disputes, among other things

Seven Generations
– the consideration of the effects our actions on the seven generations to come, as well as an understanding and appreciation of the efforts of those from the past seven generations.

Transparency
– existing in such a way that those within and outside an organization, business, or other operation are able to see and understand what is happening and why, and that those carrying out an operation are accountable for their actions and the associated consequences.

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2 Responses to “Principles”

  1. Dickie Says:

    Hi Saera, It’s nice to read your thoughts even though they sort of serve as an on-going reminder of the ebbing of my own ideals. I need to look to someone like you to think in terms of initiatives, rather than just-getting-by-actions. And reactions. Keep it up and keep in touch, Dickie

  2. Saera Says:

    Hey Dickie! Thanks for reading! Its hard to make the shift from getting by to doing something different. But remember the fact that you teach a perspective which questions what we do as a society, and that is an important step. Together, we can do even more. 🙂


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