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gary e. davis
August 29, 2020
Hope for more goodness springs from love in resilience for the sake of who we want to be relative to high ideals.

    extraordinary possibilities
Biden refers to “extraordinary possibilities,” which is, I think, a call to conceivability (though I assume he’s not intending a specific sense, let alone abstract musing).

We commonly call for imagination (or better: imaginability), but all of one’s sensibility is relevant to appreciating how extraordinariness can inspire. Parents and teachers bring that to children as theirs to idealize. Nothing inspires a life better than feeling that a horizon belongs to one’s own future.

That may seem sentimentalist, but it’s not so for children and teaching, aspiration and creativity, cultural flourishing, social innovation, or leadership.

So, the abstraction is important as horizonal orientation, pertaining to cultural, social, and political possibility as much as it pertains to a life as such, regarding the potential of dwelling with possibility, even insisting on the credibility of extraordinary conceptions— like belonging together of political, social, and cultural importance as cohering integrity of one’s life (selfidentical worldliness?).

    who we want to be
Biden avows that, “most importantly, who we want to be…is on the ballot.” That starkly implies the ambiguity of identity—personal/political—as being of one’s idealizing life and of “us”—an ambiguity that’s integral to the notion of e pluribus unum, yet born and grown through family, neighborhood, and community.

Throughout the DNC4 presentations, there’s that generative ambiguity of being one among and being of a people.

But I would venture—more than that: argue—that idealization doesn’t originate from
The Political. Rather, The Political serves the origination of ideals through cultural flourishing.

Likewise for being social: That’s derivative of meaningful life among meaningful lives, which evinces from personal/cultural engagement (interfaces of living identity and cultural Meaning).

Sociality is an objectivation of cultural life, which is systemically articulable and advanced by political institutions. (Talk of cultural “systems” is a sociologization of cultural life.)

Being belongs to the living, which generates cultural life and keeps culturality alive.
The sociality of that is derivative (and systemizable). The politics of that serves living importances, which can be modeled as living systems.

Who we want to be articulates the selfness—the selfidentity—of actualizing “our” poten-
tial for being: One’s self-actualization instances their potential, and potentiates an en-
abling of others’ through engaging interpersonal relations.

That’s a keynote of all educational theorists, policymakers, and teachers: to evince
and support actualization of one’s, of our, potential.

Thus, leadership for “who we want to be” is, at heart (to my mind), enablative.

Michelle Obama appeals to our capacity for resilience in the face of challenges.

To me, that’s about preserving and advancing our—one’s and our—potential for being (“who we want to be”)

Resilience only makes sense relative to the sense of life that stands up to challenges. That’s a hallmark of excellence in sports, a hallmark in counseling professions, and
a hallmark of healthy societies.

In fact, my own fondness for the notion of proteany derives from Robert Jay Lifton’s study of Holocaust survivors, who were hallmarked by remarkable resilience. Beyond that, though, resilience thrives best in capability for flexible engagement.

One might guess that Michelle Obama was the one to highlight the importance of love. Indeed, her presentation showed immense love.

But it was Biden who explicitly appealed for this: The times are “a moment that calls
for love for one another.”

To the cynical sensibility, that’s just so precious. But in fact, it’s just so difficult to sustain along the continuum of our relational lives.

So, it certainly pertains to interpersonal life. But it lives only by one’s embodiment of love and loving action, which is a matter of one’s own life, before others can be genuinely loved.

Only inasmuch as one is able to love, can one love anyone, especially oneself. Loving oneself authentically (not egoistically) flows into one’s relations. (Think of the youthful experience of being “In Love” which feels like radiance toward all the world.)

Suicidalness may be the extreme result of lost capability for self love that begins in depression.

Love yourself as others would best love you.

That’s not narcissistic, because others won’t best love you as egoistic and exclusive;
nor as self-destructive and pathologically hopeless.

We truly love each other as unique lives belonging together in the same world of shared importances.

Michelle asserts, “I know the goodness and the grace that is out there in households
and neighborhoods all across this nation.”

So, where?

It’s where it’s “here.”

What’s the horizon of “here”?

In ethics-of-care theory, the horizon is we who are “near and dear.”

What can be the horizon of near-and-dear? How do we—parents, teachers, media
leaders, etc.—expand the horizon durably?

It’s a cultural matter, thus a matter of social systems, thus a matter of political institutions.

Also, of course, the notion of goodness (nebulous as it is) merges into notions of
the Good: culturally, socially, and politically.

“grace”: Secularly, it’s about causing others to receive kindness or compassion. That’s not dependent on the religious implicature of Christian heritage. Rather, the humanism of grace informed the religious sense, I venture. (Hellenistic humanism preceded Christi-anity in the east Mediterranean.) Sharing kindness, granting compassion, is obviously vital to belonging together in the same world; and vital for better being (<—classically: the “better angels of our nature,” a quaint sense of superior humanity).

So, too, is graciousness obviously important.

Now, this season is “a moment that calls for hope for our futures,” declares Biden.
The “our” of the times is generatively one in all and exemplified by each life that owns
its potential for aspiration, resilience, love, and goodness. Trust in that sustains and advances hope.

True indeed that, “if we live in hope,” Jon Meacham avows, “we open our souls to
the power of love”—and more, all of which is the basis of genuinely being with others.

(Soul is a fascinating notion I’ll return to later.)

next—> genuine interpersonal life



  Be fair. © 2020, g. e. davis