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being an American
  enlightened being

gary e. davis
August 30, 2020
The DNC4 name a range of importances (normally called values) that can be usefully gathered relative to four kinds (modes, dimensions) of human being singularly (i.e., instanced by one’s life): virtuous character(1) embodying cultural(2), social(3), and political(4) importances (values, modes of being).

That’s an abstraction, of course. It may make good sense in terms of the range of specific importances involved. Most of the importances, cited by the DNC4, pertain to more than
one mode of being. That reality joins modes of being as the life showing itself.

So, my abstraction is twofold: Firstly, understanding values as importances in-and-for one’s way of living, one’s way of being. Thanks to Bernard Williams for the sense of value as importance.

There’s no mystery to ‘being’ any more than one’s living is mysterious (which shows important questions or ongoing issues that are mysteries). Human being is easily explicable, though never fully, because a life is intrinsically unfinished, thus ultimately undefinable. (And conceptual issues quickly arise with complex relations and implicatures that give philosophers jobs.)

So, yes, being is intrinsically mysterious in embodied senses by embodied sensibility (or appreciability—or “intelligibility,” according to David Velleman). Being is about one’s life.

Secondly, my abstraction is about pragmatic modes (or conceptual aspects/dimensions)
of human being: characterological, cultural, social, and political. It’s normal in academia and journalism to grant those distinctions, of course, but one might wonder about the categories: What exactly distinguishes one concept from another? That question will be shelved with the presumption that a common sense of the differences is good enough here.

What matters, for the present, is that specific importances are the substance of modes of being a singular life. For my purposes here, an ordinary sense of concept is good enough: a term for gathered instances of a kind—a kindness of sense.

A specific phenomenon commonly pertains to multiple kinds: personal is likely cultural; cultural likely social; cultural may be political; political may be personal.

    virtuous character as balance of authenticity and genuineness
      authentic self determination
genuine interpersonal life
    from cultural values through social values to political values
    being light
“To see our way forward” involves the virtue of enlightened being. Yet, going forward requires appreciation of American history’s lessons about living the democratic idea.

There’s profound potential in the notion of “the soul of America” (a topic coming up)
which may admirably show in our lives.

And much can be appreciated about truly being democratic, about defining genuine national leadership, advancing collaborative global leadership, and being ultimately oriented by “paying forward” to unborn generations, like our ancestors paid for us.

“We shouldn’t want to escape a sense of history,” Jon Meacham advises. “An honest accounting of who we’ve been can enable us to see who we should be.”


next—> sacred government



  Be fair. © 2020, g. e. davis