Where was your first glimpse of Heaven? In your mind, of course! Were there other people there? Most probably there were. The Park Ecovillage, Findhorn(FEC), as one of many “cities of light,” was conceived as a place where Heaven would come to Earth — another garden of Eden materialised on our planet’s crust. What’s your feeling about the ideal & the reality? And your hope going forward for Findhorn and for your own life? Room for development? The Grateful Dead were surely right on their 1989 album Built To Last: “we can run but we can’t hide,” either from the future or from our own results in the present.[mfn]eg. https://corporate-rebels.com/basecamp-brewdog-drama/[/mfn]
May the following challenging but very hopeful article on faith-full people/ community in action help energise our own constant rebirth and the FEC’s phoenix-like renaissance. Below you’ll first find some pertinent quotes, with my own italics and footnotes, then the whole article itself.
“In large part being human is a matter of figuring out what goods to pursue. Because we are social, we only achieve our humanity through shared conversations about what goods are worthy of pursuit, and how best we should pursue them.
We have a host of political challenges that cannot be resolved by technical expertise, the administrative state or the judiciary. Since they are political issues they need to be resolved politically. These political challenges—race, criminal justice, war and peace, citizenship, equality, historical memory and the education of our children—require us to wrestle with fundamental questions about the human good politically.
Political questions are everywhere. Genuine politics is nowhere to resolve them. Political correctness (of both the left and the right variety) rushes into the vacuum, promising that it will be able to master the questions—it knows just what justice requires, and just how to punish those who disagree.
What is at stake in all this is a rightly ordered love of political life. Truth is at stake too. Loving always involves us in truth—we cannot love anything well unless we are struggling to understand what it is. For “believers,” the goal is to understand what we love by the light of faith.[mfn]ie. what we truly believe: that which colours the stories we tell ourselves and, through example others.[/mfn] …. So we need to situate our search for the truth about politics within the widest horizon: the horizon of faith. When Dante lost his way, he reoriented himself to his life by reorienting himself to everything else—his God, his creation and destiny; sin and redemption; heaven and hell, and Florentine politics.
…. Our politics is everywhere and nowhere—that neoliberalism acts as if politics could be eliminated. Yet, politics is reasserting itself. Chantal Delsol likens us to a modern Icarus who tried to fly above the human condition, but survived his fall back to earth. Now he has to pick up the broken pieces of his life and learn how to be human again. Politics is a constituent feature of our needy, interdependent, rational condition. Trying to fly above these features of human life means we are trying to transcend our created nature rather than engage it humanly.
Such attempts always fail because the human condition always reasserts itself. And when it does we find that our failed flight has robbed us of the habits, trust, and meaning-creating symbolic structures that give form and life to the way a healthy people enacts its interdependence. As Alasdair MacIntyre has pointed out, in such circumstances we will have to reimagine and re-enact what we tried to transcend; we must find a way to rebuild families, work and economic life without the traditions, resources, and habits that previously carried us through.
The reassertion of the human condition is happening all over the west in almost every important area of human life: families, the economy, religion, culture, and politics. We tried to master or deny our need for these things and now we are realising that we have to take up them again in new ways. Our twin fantasies of escape and mastery are actually flights from the features of human life that constitute the goods of politics. On the one hand, neoliberalism is fueled by refusal: the temptation to escape from the burdens of public life into an individualism and technocratic managerialism that push away our needs and dependencies. On the other hand, it is fueled by clinging possessiveness: the desire to master our vulnerabilities through technology, wealth, or the acquisition of economic and cultural power.
It has become common in conservative circles to argue that politicking is hopeless and that we must work at the level of culture. The problem is that family, religion, civic society all live in a dependent relation to political life. So we need to revitalise the culture of politics as well. We have to reorient ourselves to political life, and that means reimagining and re-engaging the hopeful features of the human condition—reason, common speech, neediness, mutuality, interdependence, finitude, vulnerability—that modernity has been so desperate to evade and control. It means seeing them as opportunities for mutuality and conviviality—for genuine politics. Imagining prelapsarian politics[mfn]politics of Eden before the Fall (don’t think that means Eden in spring… )[/mfn] is one way of initiating that reorientation.
The most pathological aspects of our lives right now are our “dependence areas”: our erotic lives, our families, our work, our economy, and our politics. In different ways, these have been commodified and instrumentalised. They are no longer the ways through which we transcend our narrow, self-enclosed desires—the ways we learn to love our beloveds, our earth, our countries, our families, and our fellow citizens. Instead, they have become the loci for individual satisfaction and choices. We have rendered them mute and inert; desiccated and sterile. The result is a fissiparous anomie[mfn]lack of ethical standards that separates further[/mfn] that is increasingly spilling over into violence. This is our strange, intolerable addiction. We are tempted to think that all that is left to us is a series of bad choices. We might withdraw from politics in a fit of disgust. Or, we might acquiesce to the Machiavellianism of forcing our “values” onto the public through a radically defective strongman.” — Thomas Smith©, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at The Catholic University of America.