Monday, 18 April 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…


You are the world, and your relationship with another is society.


The problems of modern society are crises of the Spirit, and can only be healed as such.

Sharif Abdullah

To commune is to share without dividing… it is communion that turns a human group into a community, instead of a series of juxtaposed and competing individualities. A people is more than a horde. A society is more, and better, than a multitude.

Andre Comte-Sponville (from “The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality”)

Personal Wisdom:

What are your “communities”? With what
do you “commune” with this group?

Do you have an experience of being “bound” to a group, without it feeling
negative or burdensome?

Societal Wisdom:

When do we act like a “horde” and when do we act like a society? What are some
examples of both?

Is there anything in common that binds us as Americans? (A positive bond, not just
“obedience to the law”.)

a Moment with Sharif…


These are three comments on the concept of “society”.

You’ve all heard me talk about the notion of “society” and “societal transformation”. But, what is this “society” that I am committed to changing?

If we’re doing sloppy thinking, “society” is synonymous with “a group of people”. This is the way we throw around terms like “community”, without really understanding what we mean and intend.

According to Andre Comte-Sponville (ACS), we cannot have a “society” without
“communion”. Now THERE’S a loaded word! Some of us remember “communion” being the Bread and Wine of a church ritual. But, since ACS is a confirmed atheist, his meaning of communion goes well beyond the Church context.

His notion of communion is “sharing without dividing”. Sharing with a group. A community implies something being communed, shared.

If we accept this definition, we can see that many of the instances that we call “community” is really a “multitude”. This includes some of our favorite “groups”. For example: I talk about a “black community” here in Portland, but, using ACS’s definition, there isn’t one. There is nothing that
binds African-Americans here, there is nothing that is “shared without dividing”, there is nothing communed. I can say the same for a “Progressive community” or a sexual orientation “community”. Under this definition, we have little experience of society.  I intend for us to correct this… on a planetary level.

Without this focus on that which binds, we have this notion in our heads of “community”, but no real experience.  We heal our present crises in our cities by focusing on this
spiritual dimension.




All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.


This entry was posted in A Moment for Wisdom and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Monday, 18 April 2011

  1. Shirlene Warnock says:

    Let the healing begin!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *