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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Our Shared Values and Objectives

An impressive fact of our common experience is that advances in technology are always combining to have the effect of shrinking our world. There was a time when it took months to physically make contact between various land masses and countries. The journey that once took months now takes a few hours. Email has replaced snail mail and the Pony Express. Wire transfers have made the old methods of moving currency redundant. Telephone has progressed to video phone. In fact we have come so far technologically, that the possibility of actualizing the “beam me up Scotty” phenomenon no longer seems far-fetched.  

We have shrunk both time and space, thus making our world smaller, more accessible, and more connect-able. All these facts have combined to create a reality in which we are now able to affect each other in ways not previously possible. A smaller world brings us closer together. As we become closer, our shared values and our common goals and objectives become more obvious… and so do the things that create conflict between us. 

One outstanding reality of an ever shrinking world is the need for us to learn to share the spaces we occupy, and the resources in those spaces, in ways that do not create and elevate conflict as an inevitability in our communal experience. The creation of conflict is antithetical to the most basic of human instincts… the instinct to survive. This instinct is at the very core, and is an essential part of the foundation, of every wholesome value system we have developed. Ideas about unity in diversity speak to the very essence of the values at the heart of our "village" experience. We have come to know the cliche that it takes a village to raise a child. We must also now acknowledge the reality that we need that same coordinated effort to sustain our corporate possibilities. United, we grow and prosper; divided, we become unviable.

In the long run we rationalize and define our behaviors, both individual and corporate, in accordance with our perceptions of how we should be, and what we must do to thrive in our social environment. The shared values and objectives we have articulated in our communal experience are expressions of such perceptions. The ultimate formulation of these values is codified in the commandment: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. It is our obedience to this code that allows for the possibility of peaceful and functional community. It is our violation of it that creates violence, and the subsequent destruction of community. 

Implicit in this code is a CommonSense born of our common experience. Except for those who suffer the dysfunction of enjoying not only their own pain, but that which they inflict on others; we can agree that it is in the interest of each to look out for the best interest of the other. It seems therefore that our coexistence, as individuals and as communities, must be a function of morally informed shared values, and social objectives that are undergirded by the best interests of everyone. When we discover the wisdom of the golden rule we will avoid the pitfalls of trying to impose our convenient dogmas on each other. This imposition now seems to be a threat to our ability to live together. It won't matter what our fundamentalist beliefs are if we are all dead.

There is no heaven for intolerant haters. If a person says they love God, while he or she hates ... That person is a liar.

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