advancing community
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an American politics of virtue
  shared goods of transpersonal humanity

gary e. davis
October 9, 2020
We commonly talk about “the common good,” also about goods in common, which is different, though implied by any notion of “the” common good.

Last March, Tom Friedman (NYTimes) sought “…‘the common good’ in a pandemic.” Note his own quote marks, which pertained to his highlighting of philosopher Michael Sandel, who’s thinking about “the” common good (link upcoming). I disputed the Friedman/Sandel attraction to their “the,” by way of a long comment at the article, including my assertion that:
“The common good is about being well together relative to shared ideals by which we orient our sense of purposeful being in family, friendship, solidarity, and community.”
Being well together is, at best (“well”), a plural cohering of being varably together: being civil, being in solidarity, in friendship, as kindreds, as intimates.

As “together,” ideals may have an oriental appeal for separate purposes and shared purposes.

Inasmuch as such telic cohering has singularity (“the”), it’s a dynamic which is fruitful (we trust or know), emergently thriving, even flourishing—not a structural or conceptual unity. (Thriving is about active healthfulness; flourishing is about active fulfillment of that healthfulness.)

“In light of idealizing purpose,” I continued, “we gauge competing benefits, burdens,
and select relevant lessons for making a good and decent life together.”

The pandemic requires effective solidarity about necessary action—private and public—where “individualism…is indeed in tension with feeling solidarity and sense of community.” This entails difficulties of effective public policy facing “conflict between prospected degree of deathly risks to health vs. prospected short-term risks to the economy.”

But Sandel confused “public health issues with ethical issues…,” which I continued
to counter:
“However, the health vs. economy tension is definitely an ethical issue for public policy. But that should be considered at that level. Sandel is confusing modes of relevance, though it’s useful to think about Our historical tension between individualism and community (made famous by Robert Bellah’s Habits of the Heart, in the early ‘80s).” [full comment]
We are the global species of commoners sharing manageable regions (commonwealths)
of continents. The common good is a traditional notion that is better dissolved into a plural dynamic of shared regional goods composing a social ecology of goods which tend to be progressive: an ecogeny of goods—a progressive regioning.

Each life could do well to own importances that advance shared goods because social being is ecological. Such enowning evinces (would) from the authenticity of the life. Authenticity as such is a commonly shared importance—a profoundly important good.

Yet, authenticity is lived relative to particular lives, not as a common good, though authenticity may enjoy a plurality of interpersonal or public goods that everyone may share individually: decency, integrity, genuineness, and other canonical virtues.

Analogously, nations share global public goods—which are inevitably in the care of specific nations, entrusted by the rest of humanity. For instance, the global public good of a vast carbon sink (e.g., the Amazon rainforest) doesn’t belong to Brazil’s sovereignty—or rather, it belongs to all Brazilians the same as it belongs to the rest of humanity who entrust Brazilians with care for the shared resource.

A global public good belongs to all humanity. National sovereignty doesn’t apply validly to duty of care for global public goods, implicitly entrusted to a region by humanity.

That can be understood relative to a given national avowal of a given resources’ sacred importance (resource R), by the nation entrusting itself (because R is part of the nation) or located elsewhere, among nations avowing that sacred importance of R, altogether trusting transnationally as aggregate humanity holding R sacred for the sacred future of Earth’s sustaining of Our sacred children’s quality of life.

Analogously, regions of nations and persons are the basis of their nation’s ensurance
that entrusted global public goods are sustained in specific regions.

And since regional fidelities are only as good as the aggregate of persons avowing them, the future of global public goods originates in the appreciability of lives that keep sacredness alive.

So, this one sense of healthy regioning belongs with other senses of healthy community and metropolitan life.

I advocate—would and will advocate—a politics of green metropolitanism, and a view of evolving humanity as a new epoch of city states (i.e., national regions anchored by metro-politan regions of care)—a lattice of metropolia already obvious by satellite views of Earth at night—gradually minimizing national boundaries.

The good of humanity is transpersonal, trans-social, trans-ethnic, and trans-generational: specie-al. There’s good reason to develop notions of humanity-as-such as specieal goodness (which I’ve called good*).

Throughout cultural evolution (but prior to the bioanthrogenic concept), there were intimations and anticipations of humanity-as-such in conceptions of spirituality, in the range of ecumenism, in generically catholic universalism, and in humanism. Notions of progress were expressed by notions of growing perfectibility, growing nearness to the gods, heaven, or doctrines of eschatology.

Now, “spirituality” is mainly transpersonal—or active mindfulness (Selfness wholly) distinguishing selfidentity from its personal, usual life (which I emphasized earlier).

Spirituality encultures one, like an odyssey of being. A generalizing humanism of lovely reason for being (enjoying the endlessness of It All) may express an evolving humanity to which each of us contributes.

Reverence of being intimates some inspiring, enspiriting scale of belonging together
in sacredness: being in fidelity to ultimate importances.

Appealing singularity of sacred fidelity includes shareable and shared planetary goodness of one’s humanity through our continuum of being with.

Conscience might well be a calling of selfidentically being one’s point in Our pointillism
of instilling and cohering greater good.


next—> communitarian ethos



  Be fair. © 2020, g. e. davis