Common Good?

by Terry Sterrenberg

So we have bought a co-op apartment in Brooklyn. What does this mean in regard to the Dream We Choose? Without going into all the personal reasons we did this suffice it to say that we have not abandoned the search for a new economic model. The two basic principles that drive this search are 1. An economy that everyone contributes to and that everyone benefits from. And 2. An economy that is driven by abundance and multiplies abundance for everyone. All grounded in the concept of “The Common Good”. The present economy is driven by scarcity, competition and self-interest.

I keep wondering how an economy such as this is possible in a world where so many individuals are not willing (let alone able) to take care of each other. Belief in the common good is very limited when there is such division and hostility among different groups of people. I now question whether there is much consideration or even belief in the Common Good. When I was a child I went to church and the minister would talk about everyone as being “God’s Children”. As a child it helped me be considerate and empathetic to other children. As an adult I’m not particularly fond of the description, but at the very least it is a metaphor for the “Common Good”.

So here we are in a very nice Brooklyn apartment with a great view of the city, not feeling too common and at the same time feeling very common, trying to align ourselves with “The Common Good”. Perhaps the problem I’m having is that “The Good” is not as common or evident as I thought.

In the past I have played those BS psychological games with the term “good”. Stepping in to the notion that good is relative and good is situational and good is somewhat unknowable. Today I want to take the other side. Some would call it taking a position or a stand. Acknowledging the self righteousness in taking a stand (feels more like self discovery) gives me a handle to hold onto when I ask “Are there not some values and thus actions that are good and others that are clearly not good? ‘Well sure, but it’s all relative.’ Even the most base actions such as hurting or killing someone, lying, or being disrespectful are all relative.

Until someone says… “It is not……relative.”

Such BS is so destructive it is literally killing our planet. Corporate power, hurricanes, climate change, political parties that literally think the other party is always lying, being deceitful, and out to take advantage of people. A large part of the population lives with a big US and THEM mentality and believes that the THEM are out to get US, and believe that those in power have no sense of compassion or will to help US. They find lots of evidence for this perception . The BS rules.

Until someone says…. “No! it doesn’t.”

All this drama (victims and persecutors) destroys connection to the Common Good. The BS eats up hope for the future.

Until someone says… “Stop!…..Live!…..Be!…..Hope.”

And someone asks… “Where (What ) is the Common Good?”