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The Big Answer


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Changing Maps

a book by Steven A. Roselle

(our site's book review)

Rosell and his co-authors try to answer the question: How can we govern ourselves successfully in a fast-changing world of increasing interconnection? They advocate ideas taken from Amitai Etzioni, whose ideas are virtually the essence of communitarian thought.

He furnishes us a juicy Emile Durkheim (the great sociologist) reference: When you have shared values, the law is not that important, but when you don’t have shared values, the law won’t do you much good. (Prohibition is an example.) Communitarians advocate a shared set of values that will unify and get us working together. Rights are not enough—responsibilities are equally important.

Prohibition: when you don’t have shared values, the law won’t do you much good
Prohibition: when you don’t have shared values, the law won’t do you much good

Daniel P.Keating, a Canadian psychology professor, has authored many books and articles on human development and education. He tells us that the most successful societies in the Information Age are likely to be those who have the greatest capacity to learn from universally available information and adapt quickly and productively to rapidly changing conditions (the Tofflers have said these things earlier than any others). In other words, those who adapt to the Third Wave will flourish. Keating goes on: “If we so damage our social environment that our children do not receive the nurturing they require in their first five years of life, then we will find that some of the goals we desire, as a society, are impossible to attain because we will not have the individuals available who will have the capacity to get us there.” [The MC movement addresses precisely this problem—as well as many others, such as childcare, eldercare, and communication. See Why Register for an MC?.]

Registering for MC search and match
Registering for MC search and match

Rosell adds his own emphasis to this: “At present, we can see that we are not providing the sort of social environment that is conducive to the healthy development and socialization of our children. . . . Diverse life outcomes (positive and negative) are closely associated with identifiable differences in social experiences.” He adds that these facts about the effects of good and bad nurturing are equally true of our primate cousins. He also states that negatively raised people usually repeat the cycles of abuse or neglect when they bring up their own kids.

The facts about the effects of good and bad nurturing are equally true of our primate cousins
The facts about the effects of good and bad nurturing are equally true of our primate cousins

He says “Recall that a key buffering or protective factor for high-risk children, found in many studies, is a supportive relationship with a non-parental adult. In particular, support from extended families, or other social connections, has a beneficial effect on the quality of nurturance . . . To the extent that societal changes have compromised these historic sources of support for families with children, we need to devise new ways to provide these critical supports for healthy human development.” Amen.