Coming Home: Community, Creativity and Consciousness
a book by Cheryl Charles and Bob Samples
(our site's book review)
According to Amazon.com, this book focuses on “how to create environments where more individuals can feel cherished, productive, and fulfilled.” Strategies are suggested for tapping into one's creative potential and putting that talent to work, resulting in greater health and balance in family, business, school, social, and civic settings.
“We believe that a healthy society begins with self-governing individuals who take responsibility for their actions,” is a profoundly important statement found near the beginning of Coming Home. A truly self-governed person is an autonomous person, which are few and far between, and nowhere on the planet are such people multiplying like rabbits, soon to ride in on white horses to save the day. So we will continue to get mostly needy people that are easy prey to political lies, advertising hype, and con artists of all flavors. How then, do the authors plan to remedy any of this?
Autonomous people won't ride in on horses to save the day
In the authors’ words, “rather than anthropomorphizing—in which the characteristics of humans are brought to the nonhuman world—we naturomorphize, and draw insights from living systems to apply to human ecologies.” Very nicely put. The goal is healthy community building. Look at nature. See how she pulls off her miracles in living systems. Copy these in people systems, where the units are not cells and the systems are not organisms and ecosystems but people as cells, families as organs, communities as micro-systems, and nations as macro-systems. Is this workable or is their naturomorphization a bit of a stretch?
Civic renewal, of course, entails more than reforming elections and campaign finance, increasing voter turnout, and making our system more inclusive of the great diversity of Americans. The authors concede this in their impressive systems perspective.
Fritjof Capra, author of the brilliant books The Tao of Physics, The Web of Life, and The Hidden Connections, has said on www.ecoliteracy.org that “In the coming decades, the survival of humanity will depend on our ecological literacy—our ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and to live accordingly. This means that ecoliteracy must become a critical skill for politicians, business leaders, and professionals in all spheres, and should be the most important part of education at all levels—from primary and secondary schools to colleges, universities, and the continuing education and training of professionals.” So the naturomorphization concept from the authors of Coming Home is ecoliteracy at its best.
The authors’ “The patterns will connect in a form of consciousness that transforms the world” is in full and complete harmony with Capra’s thoughts and writings, especially his ecological-holistic paradigm, which he's trying to get people to use in place of the old mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm, and this, also, is for the purpose of transforming the world.
If physics is right about there being no real boundary between entities on Earth, as Capra asserts, and each one is part of a system that partially defines it and is in relationship with it via patterns which connect, then shouldn’t one attempt to have nearby related entities harmonious with one’s own entity in an effort to promote balance and functionality rather than chaos? In other words, if one can choose to have neighbors and networks be synonymous, thereby having one’s cake and eating it too, and if one can choose to have a wonderful subcommunity of friends and neighbors for oneself and one’s family as opposed to the weak connections, the pseudoconnections and the disconnections one now tolerates, why in the world would one NOT do so? It’s the true core of effective community building!
Having one’s cake and eating it too
The authors’ Coming Home book focuses on how to create environments where more individuals can feel cherished, productive, and fulfilled. Since their naturomorphization and ecoliteracy and “The patterns will connect in a form of consciousness that transforms the world” are all expressions of the ecological-holistic paradigm, wouldn’t it make sense to do the community building and civic revamping via the microcommunity (MC) movement, which will create precisely the “environments where more individuals can feel cherished, productive, and fulfilled” these authors are striving for? Does not the last paragraph (above) show how the microcommunity (MC) movement does what the authors are wanting: greater health and balance in family, business, school, social, and civic settings—starting with family and social and working up to schools, businesses and the overall civic environment later.
Autonomous beings will not spring up from the ground like new flowers in springtime
The authors want “a healthy society [that] begins with self-governing individuals who take responsibility for their actions”, but these autonomous beings will not spring up from the ground like new flowers in springtime. It takes a very wise parenting strategy (authoritative) as well as an MC to empower the parents to have the needed time and opportunity to generate such self-governing, autonomous individuals. No amount of civic restructuring will suffice. No amount of leadership will suffice. No amount of big picture thinking will suffice until the little picture elements are the ones with the ability to actually empower the societal transformation goals in the big picture. Leaders, civic restructuring, big picture thinking are all essential down the road, but trying to get the needed societal transformation happening while families, relationships, and parenting stay stuck in the current totally inadequate state they are now in will be mainly fruitless. It will be a classic case of the cart before the horse.
A classic case of the cart before the horse
The authors see individuals finding within the necessary leadership and creativity gifts to get the transformation going. They see the need for “great ideas” coming from all these creative leaders. The major great idea, the one that empowers the rest, the core from which the transformation and consciousness and civic enlightenment and community-building springs, is the MC movement (it was NOT thought up by any of these “creative leaders”). This creates the vital autonomous beings needed for the sought-after responsibility, creativity, and leadership to emerge. To try to somehow wring it out of people from dysfunctional lifestyles would be an exercise in frustration—a banging of the head against the wall. Mostly our families are producing self-centered neurotics. These will be leaders like our current politicians and corporate heads: run by greed with no sense of community responsibility, civic duty, transformative spirit, the big picture, or social evolution. Trying to transform society staffed with this type of individual has already happened, which is why nearly everything that CAN be wrong with our nation and our world IS wrong. The leaders needed for positive world transformation will come from the MC movement, not people from normal, neurosis and self-centeredness producing lifestyles.
Could there be exceptions? Could anyone have gotten their act together to such a degree that they are the right type of creative leader needed? Perhaps. There may be a couple of the right type of leaders buried amongst the other politicians in Congress. There may also be some community builders and civic revampers as well that happen to be the right type of people. But an honest look at what we see around us in the political and civic scene is not encouraging, which explains why less than 10% of citizens think that Congress is doing okay. The evidence we see all around us is that corporate and political and civic leaders are mostly greedy con artists with no sense of community responsibility, civic duty, transformative spirit, the big picture, or social evolution. They're in it for money and power.
Corporate and political and civic leaders are in it for money and power
Sure—they know how to talk the talk and play the game and craft a sound bite to lie to the media with. They know how to tell us what we want to hear, to tell us they will support tax breaks for the middle class and then find great and glorious excuses for why they actually do just the opposite: support tax breaks for the rich. The corporations are so rich the banks can barely hold all their money, and yet the powers-that-be knew how to get away with brazenly robbing the public of a huge fortune in order to give these corporations even MORE of our money. And without even asking! Is this your idea of how decent, true statesmen act? If there were autonomous, civic-minded people full of community spirit who really have the public’s true interests in their hearts, this shameful state of affairs would not exist. The huge bonuses that were paid out to many of the very same ass clowns that screwed up the economy so badly back around 2007-2008 or thereabouts.
As mentioned, there may even be a couple of decent, true statesmen out there trying to make headway in spite of the overwhelming number of con artists they are stuck with attempting to work with. But what good are they doing? If the public is made to drink a brew that is mostly toxic, will including a few drops of cod liver oil in the mix stop the public from getting sick?
If the public drinks a toxic brew, will adding cod liver oil in the mix stop the public from getting sick?
We need to face facts—however unpalatable they may be. We are mostly producing, in our lifestyles, corporate and political and civic leaders that are greedy con artists with no sense of community responsibility, civic duty, transformative spirit, the big picture, or social evolution. That said, it will do little good to find a few creative leaders who will be cod liver oil droplets in the poisonous brew.
Since the vast majority of people that get into positions of power are there for the money and power, regardless of the pretty speeches they make which are psychologically calculated to pacify the constituents (whom they consider sheep too dumb to see the con being played on them), it is utterly predictable that things will not get better—the dysfunctional lifestyles at the core of all this will guarantee that any quest for transformation via community building will be a failure. The middle class’s wealth will continue to be taken from them by a multiplicity of devious means in order to further stuff the bulging wallets of the rich leaders and rich corporations—the corporatocracy and the oligarchy. You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, no matter if there are a few silk strands stuck to that ear by luck. (See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes.)
Those in power (e.g., Bush or Obama—both con artists) think of us as stupid sheep too dumb to see the con being played on them
The authors are precisely correct when they say that a healthy society begins with self-governing individuals who take responsibility for their actions. But now look at their idea that “as more and more parts of any society incorporate and practice the arts of community building, communities of communities will combine to help create a peaceful and healthy whole. The patterns will connect in a form of consciousness that transforms the world.”
The patterns will connect in a form of consciousness that transforms the world
The tragic part of this idea isn’t that it’s false. It is true AND false. It’s false if we continue to create communities peopled by normal, self-centered, needy, greedy neurotics which is mostly what our normal dysfunctional lifestyles are producing. It’s true if the communities are composed of MCs. Check out Why Register for an MC? and see if you start to realize just exactly how accurate the authors are with their prediction that the right type of community building can lead to the miracle where “patterns will connect in a form of consciousness that transforms the world.” This statement of the authors is insightful, prescient, and brilliant. But only IF the community building centers on MCs at its core.
Registering for MC search and match
The authors say that healthy communities are composed of healthy individuals. They say that people without the strength of healthy autonomy affiliate out of guilt, neediness and dependence. They realize that such people rarely serve their community—but mostly just themselves. The authors know we need to enhance our inner moral strengths before we can create good communities. This book is full of pretty phrases and general wisdom that is hard to fault. However, if their prescription for world fixing was followed to the letter for a century, the world would improve slightly—maybe. They left out a critical ingredient in their prescription—the method for producing people with the strength of healthy autonomy who will be compassionate rather than self-centered and self-serving (like our political leaders), and who will be wise, conscious, enlightened, happy, and full of a true community spirit rather than the pretense of it used in the service of greed. In actual fact, communities using normal U.S. parenting practices that create dysfunctional lifestyles and needful, insecure, empty people have no chance whatsoever of fulfilling the pretty dreams of these authors. Which is a damn shame—the dreams are wonderful.
Normal people have no chance whatsoever of fulfilling the pretty dreams of these authors