By David BrookS / Feb. 18, 2019 / NYTimes
These different kinds of pain share a common thread: our lack of healthy connection to each other, our inability to see the full dignity of each other, and the resulting culture of fear, distrust, tribalism, shaming and strife.
My something extra was starting something nine months ago at the Aspen Institute called Weave: The Social Fabric Project. The first core idea was that social isolation is the problem underlying a lot of our other problems. The second idea was that this problem is being solved by people around the country, at the local level, who are building community and weaving the social fabric. How can we learn from their example and nationalize their effect?
We’re living with the excesses of 60 years of hyperindividualism. There’s a lot of emphasis in our culture on personal freedom, self-interest, self-expression, the idea that life is an individual journey toward personal fulfillment. You do you. But Weavers share an ethos that puts relationship over self. We are born into relationships, and the measure of our life is in the quality of our relationships. We precedes me.
Social scientists tell us that selfishness is natural, people are motivated by money, power and status. But Weavers are not motivated by any of these things. They want to live in right relation with others and to serve the community good.
Their example has shown me that we don’t just have a sociological problem; we have a moral problem. We all create a shared moral ecology through the daily decisions of our lives. When we stereotype, abuse, impugn motives and lie about each other, we’ve ripped the social fabric and encouraged more ugliness. When we love across boundaries, listen patiently, see deeply and make someone feel known, we’ve woven it and reinforced generosity. As Charles Péguy said, “The revolution is moral or not at all.”
PS See my What to do? from 08/18 to drill down deep into the the issue of Media in the Age a Masses and social solidarity.
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