“What we assume in other people is what we get out of them. Our view of human nature tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we assume that people are fundamentally selfish, then that’s how they will behave. If we assume that people are fundamentally decent, then maybe we can create a very different kind of society.”
“The most important job of the brain is to ensure our survival, even under the most miserable conditions. Everything else is secondary. In order to do that, brains need to: (1) generate internal signals that register what our bodies need, such as food, rest, protection, sex, and shelter; (2) create a map of the world to point us where to go to satisfy those needs; (3) generate the necessary energy and actions to get us there; (4) warn us of dangers and opportunities along the way; and (5) adjust our actions based on the requirements of the moment. And since we human beings are mammals, creatures that can only survive and thrive in groups, all of these imperatives require coordination and collaboration.”
— Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
What We Owe
Feel Them in Yourself
You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself. ”
— John Steinbeck, East of Eden
A person is a person through other people strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. It is a demand for a creative intersubjective formation in which the ‘other’ becomes a mirror (but only a mirror) for my subjectivity. This idealism suggests to us that humanity is not embedded in my person solely as an individual; my humanity is co-substantively bestowed upon the other and me. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am. The ‘I am’ is not a rigid subject, but a dynamic self-constitution dependent on this otherness creation of relation and distance.”
— Michael Onyebuchi Eze (via Dense Discovery)
Who has ever been taught how to be kind? Who taught you what kindness looks like? Who taught you what it feels like? Who have we been taught to be kind to? How have we been taught to be kind—by explanation or by example? What were you taught about why we should be kind? Were you taught anything about kindness at all, or were you simply told to be kind without knowing what it meant? How do you teach kindness now?
The proposal introduces some specific use of language:
Microsolidarity is a set of practices for mutual support between peers. These methods bring us out of individualism and into a more relational way of being.
Most of this support happens in a Crew: a small group up to about 8 people growing trust in each other through emotional & economic reciprocity. Crews are always designed for intimacy, and may also produce an output (e.g. a software product or an activist campaign).
The Congregation is a space for Crews to co-develop in the company of other Crews. Congregations have less than a few hundred people, so they can be primarily governed through trust and dialogue.
Many Congregations could form an Assembly.
— Richard D. Bartlett, “Microsolidarity” (via bailey e. richardson)
Still, it rarely happens that men live according to the guidance of reason. Instead, their lives are so constituted that they are usually envious and burdensome to one another. They can hardly, however, live a solitary life; hence, that definition which makes man a social animal has been quite pleasing to most. And surely we do derive, from society of our fellow men, many more advantages than disadvantages.”
— Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics
What is Transformative Justice?
“How do we prevent and stop violence and harm without creating more violence and harm? How do we transform a society in which harm is endemic to build a culture where violence becomes unthinkable? How can small everyday acts of accountability and relationship building lead to a broad cultural shift away from harm?”