Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A New World Needs a New Paradigm

I recommend this article by Unitarian Univesralist minister, the Rev. Peggy Clarke, that appeared in the Huffington Post on March 18, 2015.  Those working on any justice issue, as she points out, need not compete with one another about which justice issue merits more attention - "These issues are all the same."  This issue is the paradigm that is killing us, the planet, and the beings that share their biotic communities with one another.  She describes this paradigm of hierarchy as one that tells us "that the dominant class is on top and everything else is in service to it."

She asks us to instill a new paradigm of a Beloved Community "that topples the hierarchy and recognizes our radical interconnectedness, a paradigm that doesn't advantage any one group but life as a whole. In the new paradigm, all life is precious,"  and the needs and bodies of all individuals matter.

This is no easy paradigm to grapple with, for all humans experience both the benefit and harm of dominance.  We don't know how to "give up" all forms of dominance, now, and can't collectively imagine how to structure social institutions that do not enforce power and privilege of some over others.  How do we live, as individuals and as a society, in a way to maximizes benefit and minimizes harm?  

This question and others similar to it are the foundations of the First Principle Project. What would our lives look like if we did not draw a line between those of worth, and those without?  Would we break down rampant dualistic thinking that gives rise to oppression in both insidious and overt forms?  Could we live better, flourishing in beauty and belonging, and so save the earth and the beings that live in our shared biotic community?  

Would we more powerful together knowing, as Rev. Clarke says, that "the fight for justice is the fight for life in every form?"

In the shared quest and questioning,


Rev. LoraKim Joyner, DVM
First Principle Project Facilitator

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