Communities, true communities, are in reality living wholes. As such they work to sustain their integrity by willfully sustaining their connectedness to their essence, their virtue, and their life purpose. Communities, as wholes, are places within which evolution – a process for creating a better world, for advancing humanness, and for enriching life – takes place.
Reflecting further on wholes, we can see that wholeness provides a path for will to enter into our processes such that our doing reflects what we are trying to be and become… will that manifests itself through spirit – through the elevation and evolution of human spirit… will that not only serves to advance our humanness, but also serves to increase our capacity to carry out our intended work… work and spirit deeply connected to virtue, essence and purpose.
Reflecting on our experience when wholeness is dissipating, we notice – we clearly see and feel – the diminishing of spirit, energy and aliveness. When our valuing for virtue and purpose diminishes, willfulness toward virtue and purpose becomes essentially nonexistent and lost, vitality begins to leave, and viability becomes uncertain and questioned… an uncertainty and tenuousness that allows that which is intended to be sourced in virtue (economics, legal-ness and exercising of rights, for example) to begin to operate as if it were the source… all of which tends to produce within, a growing sense of aimlessness – an increasingly real experience of having lost our way, of confusion over who we are and what we are trying to be and become.
It is a characteristic, an essence character, of our country – of America and her people – to be virtuous, to perform good deeds and to take on purposes that serve the larger whole – the whole of our country, the whole of the world. In the absence of this essence character, uncertainty, some confusion, and a real sense of stuckness seem to set in.
It is common for us as human beings to form communities – communities intended to work as wholes – in regards to fulfilling basic human and social needs, managing essential life processes, etc. Critical to the forming and sustaining of these is to have vivid imagery of the essential process of the particular community.
Reflecting on the essential process of the community of automobiling, for example, we can “see” the essence and virtue of freedom… a freedom of access… a freedom to seek out and be at one with others… a freedom to explore, grow and develop through real experiences; to move about, to seek out and develop opportunities, and to pursue one’s potential. As our imagery develops, other wholes and processes begin to emerge: associated processes (such as flying, bicycling and walking) and related systems (living systems, health care systems, fueling systems and road systems, for example) affected by our current approaches and realities in regards to automobiling. We begin to see and experience the potential and power in seeing automobiling as a process versus limiting our scope to the automobile – a singular element within a systemic whole. And too we get a clear sense of what enables wholeness and what is contributing to dissipation of spirit, energy, and aliveness. Further imaging helps build an understanding that these dissipations are not burdensome problems, but rather sources of potential – the means for repotentializing, in an authentic American way, the whole of automobiling.Principles, regardless of the nature of the community – the living whole of which we are members, or the living whole we are trying to create – are very helpful, and in reality essential… essential guidelines to not only keep us on the intended path, but also to keep us from unconsciously going off the path.
Principles are guidelines that describe our way of working – of being and behaving – as we go forward to engage community activity, pursue particular work, or take on particular roles. They work to help us take on the new pattern, the pattern made visible and chosen through reflection and dialogue. As such they serve to keep us on path. Also present in our set of community principles is a principle or two reflecting current experience – an awareness of an ingrained pattern, a pattern often so common in our current way of doing things, so comfortably familiar, so automatic that we may not immediately recognize that it is taking us off our intended path – along a different path… a path that most often reflects where we have been, rather than what we are trying to be and become. As such our principles commonly have a cautionary character such as “Don’t add ____; don’t seek _____; refrain from _____,” etc. They serve to hold us on our intended path – keep us from spinning out, sliding off, or wandering – thereby sustaining our energy and spirit as we work to create a living community whole.