The term Communitalism is different from communalism or indeed communism. Communitalism affirms that some aspects of capitalism, such is individual inventiveness, are worth pursuing and supporting, but such inventiveness must be put at the service of the community, so that both the individual and the community prosper. The key philosophy of Communitalism is ‘we are either happy together as a prosperous community or unhappy together’ and thereby unprosperous. For Communitalism, the health and prosperity of the individual cannot be separated from the health and prosperity of the local community. Global health must start from local health, not the other way round. In the process the link between individual, community and enterprise health and whole-making, integrally so to speak, will be made.
Is Technology worth its Cost?
Humanity has attained technological height at the cost of the very things on which our future health and prosperity depend: climate stability, a balanced biocosm, a productive natural system, the beauty of nature and biological diversity.
For centuries, human beings lived under the illusion that with enough knowledge and technology, we can manage and control the earth. And for centuries, as new factories and industries produced more computers, electronics and machines, we thought we had succeeded in mastering the earth. We thought that a rapid increase in data, words, paper and technical details is equivalent to increase in knowledge and wisdom.
The knowledge Illusion
We were misled by the myth that knowledge is synonymous with human goodness. We often speak of knowledge as if it is a guarantor of human goodness. Possessing an MA or PHD does not bestow moral uprightness or integrity nor is it a sign of wisdom.
Education is no guarantee of decency, prudence or wisdom. Learning in itself will not make us better people. The worth of education must be measured against the standards of decency and human survival. It is therefore wrong to think that education in itself will save humanity. Our survival in the next century depends on education, but not education as we have conceived it for over 50 years. We need a new kind of education.
Change Required in Our Knowledge Culture
For humanity to survive, we must give up our arrogance and the misleading conception that western culture represents the pinnacle of human achievement. Modern capitalist culture does not nourish that which is best and noblest in the human person. It does not cultivate vision, imagination, sense of wonder and spiritual sensitivity. It encourages pride instead of humility, violence instead of gentleness, greed instead of generosity, selfishness instead of selflessness, monoculture instead of cultural diversity.
We need to learn how to be human. We need to learn to relate to the earth in a positive and productive way. The word humility is derived from the Latin humus, which means earth, ground, earthliness, humanness. To be human is to be humble, and see ourselves as part of, not the centre of, creation. To be human is to be healed by the healing earth. This is our challenge in the 21st century.
Together for Better or or Worse
The air we breathe is the same air inhaled by Jesus Christ, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Mohammed, and by the great scientists, philosophers and saints of the past. Their utterances, thoughts and breath are still present in the air molecules in which we are immersed. So long as we all breathe the same air, we will all remain bonded together, both the living and the dead.
Viewed from this perspective, one can now see how scientific our Africans ancestors were when they asserted that only a thin line separates the spiritual from the physical, spirit from matter, life from death. The wisdom of the ancients is there in the molecules of the air around us, waiting to be tapped when we are open enough to perceive them.
The idea of the stranger, the unknown is an illusion. We are all linked together in a symbiotic cosmos. What affects one affects all. The internet has been a unifying force for different groups all over the world, both for good and for evil. On the positive side, it has given rise to the most powerful movement in the world: a coming together of men and women of goodwill fighting for their rights, fighting for the right to be human, to be free. On the negative side, it has provided a breeding ground for the Al Qaeda and many terrorists groups to unite, source for funds and maintain global linkage.
POVERTY as a Result of HUMAN GREED
Nobody is destined to be poor, or to be sick. We have the right to challenge the status quo. Many people all over the world are challenging capitalism itself, a system that is based on intense greed, selfishness and deceit. A few privileged elite numbering a few thousands possess over 80% of world wealth and leave the remaining 5.5 billion people to scramble for the remaining 20%.
Millions of men and women from all parts of the world are coming together to remind us that it is our human greed and selfishness, rather than nuclear bombs, that constitute the greatest threat to human survival, human health and human peace. Humanity is sick and needs to be administered the medicine of justice, fairness, concern for others and respect for our symbiotic cosmos. This is what communitalism is about.