Recently my focus has been spent thinking about how St. Martin’s Cloak Foundation for Peace through Love can help improve the human condition in the world; especially when there is no official organization behind it – only me – and only through using the “spiritual currency” of love to find a path into the future for peace. The answer is through the power of ideas. Ideas are free and I offer mine to the world as a way to promote a new approach that will bring us all into a better future together.
I came across a new idea today – well new for me at least – and created a word to describe it. When I Googled my new word, I learned out that it already exists: Extrospective. I searched the internet for definitions and the proper usage of extrospective, and the very best combined definition and usage of extrospective that I was able to find was in the title of a blog called, “extrospective” by Todd Bratulich (links below):
“Extrospective? the observation of things external, the expression of things internal, the intersection of ideas and action, of faith and reason, of the public and the private, the integration of self, spirituality, humanity…”
As I pondered the meaning of this new word in my vocabulary, I realized that it describes how I imagine we should approach society, as a way to promote the well-being of individuals while at the same time creating a more just and equal community that focuses more on “you” and “us together” – and less on “me” and “I” – but how?
First of all, why the need for changing the models of society that are in use today? Democracy in its various forms of representation is the only form of government that has proven to be successful throughout history, in both promoting the needs of the individual as well as the needs of society as a whole. Capitalism though creates imbalances between the rich and poor, and has only worked the best when a strong middle class is allowed to flourish – but the poor still suffer over the long run from the lack of equity that exists within society. Socialism works well to solve many of the inequalities within society, but penalizes those who would work hard and rewards those who may choose not to – which creates a dilemma in that the high achievers are penalized because of the very success they have achieved. Humanism attempts to promote the welfare of the individual while denying the reality of a Creator. Communism has never worked because it denies God, disrespects human rights and the dignity of the individual, and it can’t establish a system of “equality” without the emergence of a social ruling elite who seek power at the very expense of the equality that the system purports to espouse – but never achieves – unless it lowers the living standards of everyone to the lowest common denominator.
So when we look at society today from any viewpoint, it never seems to be able to strike an equitable balance for all the people within the society – between the rich, middle class and the poor. So how can we imagine or create a society where everyone is supported from falling while at the same time offered the chance and opportunity as individuals to soar and reach their full potential? The modern university system perhaps will show us the way ahead as a model to put things into perspective for us.
University life provides a unique model and design (not taking into consideration the various funding sources it relies on for existence) as a way for society to move in the direction of creating an extrospective approach and perspective for democracy – to build an equitable society to meet the needs of all its people. First of all, why use the university system as a model? Today’s universities make up a complex, “system” of individual communities – built around either a physical campus system and/or through an internet based presence – that promotes cooperation and competition, both within a single community and between other like communities, in a university system of like-minded communities world-wide. Universities also promote individual achievement while fostering teamwork and loyalty to the alma mater long after an individual graduates from the university.
Without examining their various means and sources of financial support; full-time freshman and sophomore students are allowed to pursue knowledge and education without the requirements of having to first meet their physical needs for food, shelter and transportation – which are provided to them while living in the university’s on-campus dormitory system. So how can we adapt the university system to promote social change within society today? Because society’s goal should be to lift all people above the subsistence level of struggling just to meet their food, clothing, housing, healthcare and transportation requirements – and instead should be allowed to engage their energy and talents in pursuing the opportunities and the dreams they desire to achieve. While the families of the upper middle class and rich are able to free themselves and their children from struggling just to meet their basic needs for survival – the poor and the lower middle class often struggle just to provide food, clothing, housing, healthcare and transportation for themselves and their family – which limits their individual productivity – and also limits society as a whole from progressing to higher levels of achievement for everyone.
The definition of extrospective (courtesy of Dictionary.com) as a noun is, “the consideration and observation of things external to the self; examination and study of externals;” and as an adjective is, “not introspective; examining what is outside yourself (antonym: introspective).” The primary focus in either case as a noun or adjective is to place the primary focus away from yourself and onto your surroundings and others. By doing this we look to meet everyone’s needs within a society as opposed to looking out only for our needs alone. The reason this is important is that the only way to provide for everyone’s requirements as individuals and as a society is to find a way to transfer the primary focus and energy away from “me” and more to “you” – while respecting and promoting both the needs of the individual along with the needs of the greater community. But how do we change peoples’ focus away from themselves and towards the “extended family of society” as a whole? That’s the difficult part that I’ll address in Part Two.