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Interdependent Actualisation – An Idea for Our World

I was talking with my brother-in-law recently, who is a psychologist, and he was sharing his perception that in our world we have taken the idea of individual independence to its furthest extreme. He said that it seems that people are focusing so hard on themselves and what they need individually that there is no concern for what other people need.

Looking at the news, I would have to agree with him. There are so many stories of people becoming upset over spilled drinks, mask mandates, the colour of skin someone else has, and the litany goes on and on. As a society, at least in the US, we no longer see ourselves as responsible for the welfare of others - it is only our own welfare we care about.

I became a naturalised citizen in the US when I was 11 years old and had to study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I read these words:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

When I pay attention to the words the authors of the Constitution capitalized, I am struck by several things. First, the only word not capitalized was defence. Whether or not this was purposeful I do not know, but it seems to me that the emphasis of this document is on providing for our common defence by focusing on Justice, Tranquillity, Welfare, and Liberty, not for ourselves (that word is not capitalized) but for our posterity, for those who will inherit the legacy of our work.

The idea of interdependence being actualized, made real and visible, is central to the work I do and the life I lead. I cannot imagine living in a way that puts my needs above yours, or yours above mine. We are, all of us, living on the same planet, breathing the same air, and hoping, I believe, for the same future in which justice rolls down like water, tranquillity is experienced by everyone, welfare is a lived reality and liberty is so common we no longer need to strive for it, because it is ours, all of us, together.

Bob Bowen


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