In regard to the first question below by John Reardon, this is an open forum and responses are welcome.
We’re publishing some of the responses we receive.
By John Reardon
Is this an open forum, where points can be sent, and shared? And, is it a place where alternative views can be expressed, and passed on. Gemein expresses the “the many”. The EIN hidden within is an honoring of the “one”. So are we the many comprised of “ones”? We know that gemeinschafts means “the community”. And “gefuhl” means feeling. So, is it the “many ones” creating community based on personal and community feeling? Very different than the American——individual or community.
Today’s demonstration—-masking and inoculations. Personal Freedom colliding with a mysterious disease having an impact on community. A disease only conquered by defying our social and communitarian nature and spirit is upon us. Stay apart and distanced is the way to defeat this foe. Totally alien to our nature. And, each doing one thing—-vaccination—-is the way to conquer the foe.
A Value struggle. Freedom. Life. Life without Freedom. Freedom without Life. Hope we can all see the “common sense” and the “private logic” contained in the two. This is also where we get into Adler’s understanding that “common sense” is tied to “social interest”, and “horizontal striving”, a striving “with” the other. Gemienschaftsgefuhl!
Sue Brokaw talks about Adler’s injunction “to act as if the ideal community has been reached.” In that same article she quotes, Adler talks about our desire “to be perfect”. He knows, that we know, that only God is perfect. Yet we strive. Though we settle for “superiority”, we still strive for perfection. The “being like God” part is expressed in the striving. God is the ultimate striving “with the others” figure. Our striving “against” the other, for superiority, is in defense of ego, and in Thomas Merton’s views that is ano engagement in the ego and thereafter—-“false self”.
The sign of God’s presence——Unity. The sign of Gemeinschaftsgefuhl——Unity of the many. So, striving to “be better than the others” is what Adler calls the ultimate “mistaken conviction” of the “vertical striver”. In its essence—-the flaw is—“In order to belong and be significant, I must be better than the others.” Tragic. Flawed “private logic”. Common sense——“In order to belong and be significant, I must be with the others, and contribute.” Unity.
Another contrast, acting from Unity, and for “common good”—-and—-protecting personal freedom. Protecting personal freedom through denial of existence of threat to and protection of community and communal lives does demonstrate a “self interest” based in an invented “against” belief. Thus, with “self interest” as the norm, we live in an environment of fear, potential threat, and anxiety. Until we treat anxiety as a cultural threat, due to “self interest”, a culture of malaise expressed in anxiety will prevail. And, “the world of therapy” will continue to be “placing bandaids on broken limbs and spirits”.
A final glance at our culture being basically “self interested” and detrimental to the Gemeinschaftsgefuhl is uniquely spiritual. If spirituality is based on the belief that each is created, therefore all have dignity, and inherent worth, than the breaking of and harm of relationship is classically a sin. Sin being the word that captures that human offense of harm to the other and creation. One step beyond sin is destruction of the person through relationship. That is evil. Evil being willful destruction.
Given that sin is not Vogue as a focus or perspective, there is a current expression that would laud and deepen appreciation of Gemeinschaftsgefuhl. It comes from a World spiritual leader—-Pope Francis. He has recently said, “Sin is the rejection of the limits that love requires.” So, is my expression going to be merely “self interested”, and will it be “socially interested”. And will it be, what love requires?