SEVEN: FRATERNITY, COMMUNITY, AND COMMUNICATION
Gordon L. Ziniewicz
1. The two sides of human existence, inner
unique angle of vision and outer continuity with other existences,
grow or diminish reciprocally. The development of distinct individuality
and the securing of harmony with the human and natural environment
are interdependent. Consequently, the achievement of liberty and
equality is inseparable from the attainment of the relational
ideal of fraternity. That liberty and equality have traditionally
been emphasized almost to the exclusion of fraternity shows that
even the staunchest advocates of democracy have misunderstood
the meaning of those terms, largely because they have misunderstood
the meaning of human individuality. They have viewed it as something
isolated, apart from association, even compromised insofar as
it is associated. Though it is granted that there are modes of
associating that diminish rather than further distinct individuality,
genuinely democratic ways of associating are the precondition
for the emergence of unique and distinct individuality.
2. Fraternity refers to the quality of relation among human
beings, rather than to the quality of their unique center (standpoint)
and angle (as it touches a common world). Certainly, there are
many possible ways of relating for human individuals. What is
clearly impossible is existence without relation; even "isolation"
(psychological or social) derives from and is a type of association
or relation. The hermit carries his world into the desert, and
his existence in the desert constitutes a way of relating to a
human and non-human environment. Every existing thing is an outcome,
a result, of numerous associations of energies. These associations
do not stop at the "skin" of the organism, but continue outward
in continuity with an environment whose energies are modified
by the activity of the organism, even as they modify the organism
itself. Association or transaction of energies is a fact of nature.
Hydrogen combines with oxygen in the molecule of water, is modified
by this union, yet holds back and remains different from both
oxygen and water.(1) It acts differently
in this combination than it does in others, while displaying a
singular "angle" of response (behavior). This "angle" varies with
the mode of the "along with" of its specific interactions and
combinations. What is true of even the most simple physical transaction,
that association or combination is a condition (sine qua non)
of existence, is especially true of human existences whose growth
involves an increasingly complex set of transactions with things
and energies. Human beings, like other natural existences, are
modified in subtle ways yet continue to display singularity (as
angle of vision) amidst changing combinations or associations.(2)
The development and freeing of individual capacities (freedom)
for human beings, which means the growth of unified and distinctive
quality, depends upon contact with a wide variety (plurality)
of people, ideas, and conditions. Qualities are outcomes of relations.
Powers are released (or come to be) in contact with appropriate
conditions and energies. Variety in association guarantees that
the right "keys" are found to "unlock" or release the unique powers
of individuals. Thus, both the "manner" (mode or quality) and
the "range" (expanse and variety) of association is important.
Liberty is impossible without human relations which are wide-ranging
and, as we shall see, fraternal.
3. It is important to have a feel for the dynamic quality
of the vital interplay among existing things, as well as to appreciate
the many types of relation that can exist and how they affect
the individuals involved. In Art as Experience, Dewey gives
us a sense of the Heraclitean pulsating quality of all interactions.
There "are pushes and pulls," forces and attractions, action and
passion, doing and undergoing.(3)
There is the dance of leading and following in continual alternation.
There is the wrestling match of forces competing, taking turns
in a tug-of-war. There is the rhythm of contraction and expansion,
compressing to a center and spreading out to a horizon, gathering
into unified form and scattering into diverse energies. Relations
of individuals and energies lead to "harmony and discord." Some
associations "work out well" and some do not. The complicated
"ebb and flow," expanding and contracting, push and pull, of natural
interaction pertains as well to the dynamics of human relationships,
including those among family members and between friends.(4)
The human tendency "to join," to belong to associations and organizations,
is nothing other than a desire for unity within oneself and with
others. That is, it is a desire to "link up with" and make contact
with energies that call forth one's own best powers. Unfortunately,
most associations have mixed value; they tend to release some
human capacities and frustrate others. Undemocratic associations
are so imbalanced, so tilted for some individuals and against
others, that their overall effect is a loss rather than a gain
in individuality. Such is the case in many authoritarian and "impersonal"
organizations, where the advantage of being part of something
big and powerful is offset by the price paid in conformity and
passivity. To the extent that some lead while others follow --
without effective balance, without "give and take" of participation
-- distinctive individuality fades. Conformity amounts to one-sided
initiative, where those conforming do not have the opportunity
to develop unique approaches and those imposing conformity do
not have the advantage of undergoing the unique responses of others
-- an undergoing which is the basis of learning and improving
methods of action.(5) All one-sided
use of force denies others freedom of action and denies itself
the advantage of self-correcting experience. On the part of those
who freely submit or are forced to submit to the authority of
others, there is contraction of interests and powers, due to limits
placed upon their freedom to think and act; at the same time,
those in authority accumulate means and powers, but without the
check and challenge that makes growth in intelligence possible;
thus, some are burdened with many obstacles with few resources,
while others are favored with many resources, but too few obstacles.
This means that those with very problematic situations might stop
and think; but, finding no way out (resources), their thought
soon turns to idle fantasy. And those who experience "smooth sailing"
(because it all "goes their way") have little reason to reflect
or reevaluate their present courses of action. Undemocratic associations
are to no one's advantage, in terms of growth in qualitative individuality,
although they do seem to give some individuals "quantitative"
advantages and opportunities -- opportunities that are largely
wasted because of the failure to take advantage of interhuman
encounter with a wide range of uniquely important individuals
and viewpoints. Without a democratically open and inclusive standpoint,
wealth and learning and the like are of no advantage to the "advantaged."
Accumulation of externals does not guarantee enlargement of spirit.
At the same time, the enlargement of spirit (freedom and equality)
depends upon appropriate quantitative opportunities. The tragedy
of an oligarchy of wealth (and learning) is that opportunities
are concentrated in the hands of those who waste them and out
of reach of those who could well use them to elicit and fulfill
4. Fraternity means cooperation. Association is a fact;
individuals are already "along with," together with one another.
"Getting along" is a mutually reinforcing mode of being together.
It is as of yet a "possibility," not an actuality. It is an ideal,
something to be worked for, the solution to a uniquely problematic
situation. There are obstacles to working together; attitudes
are exclusive rather than inclusive; and opportunities are unfairly
distributed. People must work together in solving the problem
of obstacles in the way of working together; in this process,
means and end become one. Trying to work out differences that
block cooperation is itself a cooperative act, an instance of
working together that suggests to the imagination the possibility
or the ideal of working together -- fraternity. It is itself a
part of a process of combining yet fulfilling distinct interests.
Finally, working things out implies that the situation does not
call for merely a reiteration of moral positions and preconceived
norms and values. The situation calls for flexible and adaptive
intelligence and action. It is a pragmatic situation, where local
conditions must be examined anew, as if for the first time, so
as to determine where these conditions are headed and where they
ought to head. What is called for is a projection of fresh aims
and strategies based upon the facts. What is best for individuals
taken together must be determined in the light of possibilities
projected and evaluated on the basis of existing actualities,
open-minded and imaginative viewing of the possible redirection
of energies and conditions, whose present movements seem to be
at odds with one another. In addition, this effort must be a combined
effort; it must come from the people involved. Finally, it must
be undertaken with democratic respect for individuals and faith
in their distinctive possibilities.
5. Just as equality means individuality, the development of
unique and distinctive quality, so it may be said that fraternity
means relation in its fullest sense, relation that leads to more
relation, relation that expands and grows (opens possibilities
for more extensive and sympathetic contacts). Fraternity means
continuity or connectedness "without limit." It is extending one's
reach to include people and ideas. The exclusive is the limited,
the bounded; excluding means establishing (or maintaining) classes
and setting up barriers. Crossing and overcoming barriers(6)
means working together; it means enlisting energies which are
not confined or at cross-purposes, but which are allowed to link
with or work alongside other energies. The ideal of fraternity
is the possibility of working together to achieve distinctive
individuality. It is the possibility of maximizing the power of
association to enhance the quality of individual existence.
6. The point is to develop that kind of association which
promotes individuality and that kind of individuality which promotes
cooperation or willingness to work with others. In that way, both
sides of human nature can be developed so as to be mutually reinforcing.
This task of developing human nature belongs to education. On
the one hand, it is the task of education to provide the conditions
for creating cooperative individuals. On the other hand, education
must also attend to the development of distinctive individuals
who think for themselves. One must learn to think for oneself,
but include in one's thoughts and imaginative projections the
needs and the interests of others. In that way, continuity between
internal free deliberation and external cooperative action is
7. The problem of democracy is the problem of developing quality
of individuality and quality of cooperative association so as
to be mutually complementary. Only democratic -- that is, fraternal
-- modes of association -- allow for maximum release of individual
potential. Other ways of being together tend toward regimentation
or to power plays of competing forces attempting to dominate one
another.(7) In the latter case,
the apparent "equality" and "freedom" of a few is bought at the
expense of the genuine equality and freedom of all. Decline in
fraternity necessarily leads to decline in equality and freedom
(liberty). As fraternity, the ideal of democracy is opposed to
the use of force to ensure compliance. Force refers to one-sided
action, rather than "inter-action." Once again, we see that democratic
cooperation is consistent with a view of nature wherein new individuals
arise from mutually interacting and mutually modifying energies
or forces. Unified and distinctive natural forms evolve from interaction
of energies; they are not stamped from above or forced upon inert
material, as blocks of wood are passively shaped in accordance
with pre-existing diagrams.(8)
Force applied vertically from superior to inferior does not elicit
one's best development. Unity forced upon individuals from above
is "artificial"; it deadens the lively stirring of energies of
thought and desire which alone makes possible the emergence of
distinctive individuality. Thus, one could almost say that authoritarian
methods go against nature; democracy, like fruitful scientific
inquiry, sees things in terms of transactions or interactions.
In other words, the unity of social harmony must be approached
from a democratic and horizontal, rather than an autocratic and
vertical, point of view. The ideal of democracy is the idea of
social harmony based upon freely initiated and voluntary cooperation.
8. The ideal of democracy is the ideal of the cooperation
(fraternity and fellowship) of distinctive individuals. But democracy
(or community, which Dewey identifies with democracy) implies
more than merely acting together or working together. People working
together have something in common; their lines of conduct
are laced together, their energies are linked and coordinated.
They work alongside one another. That means that their efforts
point in the same direction, to the same end, a common end.
Their operations ("co-operations") head along the same path toward
the same possible outcome. But working side by side for a common
end or result, typical of many forms of "autocratic" association
or organization,(9) does not, by
itself, constitute a community. Individuals may contribute to
the same end, without awareness (consciousness) of this end or
the place (within an imaginative whole) of their contribution.
Many human relations follow the model of the machine. Assembly
line workers may not know the whole make-up or use of the final
product, may not even care, but together may constitute a relatively
well synchronized (physical) whole or "mechanical unity."(10)
Their own end-in-view -- perhaps "getting pay" -- is disconnected
from the process and the means with which they are only externally
engaged. Their "heads and hearts" are not in it.(11)
While no personal imaginative vision of the whole gives continuity
to their physical acts, their labor nevertheless fits into an
imaginative whole projected by someone else.(12)
What distinguishes mere mechanical association from community
is not only "having" an end in common, but perceiving and
communicating that common end, as well as participating
in the framing and realizing of that common end. Democratic
association requires participation in both planning and taking
action. Just as the genuine and intelligent working together (personal
unity or integrity) of desires, habits, and thoughts within an
individual requires attention to a purpose (desirable outcome),
so the genuine working together of distinctive individuals (social
harmony) requires "shared" projection and enactment of common
purposes (desirable consequences of interest to everyone). Community
requires awareness or consciousness of common ends and common
interests (personal stakes) in those ends. Just as the consequences
of one's own actions come home to him (their effects are undergone)
and are kept in mind as things to strive for or to avoid, so the
consequences of individuals acting together are perceived by those
affected and are regarded as things to promote or shun. Consequences
are seen to be connected to a number of persons together; in other
words, these consequences have numerous points of contact with
individuals. "Common goods" are desirable consequences or fulfillments,
shared and esteemed and participated in by a number of individuals
together. They touch upon many individual "worlds," affecting
them in numerous different ways. Not only may they be viewed as
the result of a joint effort; they may also be seen as having
a joint effect.(13) But even more
is involved. One's own actions and purposes, as well as the conditions
one finds oneself in, are seen as connected to those of others.
Projecting or initiating or undergoing the same consequences brings
people together; what touches them brings them "in touch." Perceiving
that they are related to the same (common) conditions, they perceive
that they are related to one another. For example, people "stuck
together," in the "same boat together," perceive that they share
(have in common) the same problematic situation, which by virtue
of this perception becomes a "social situation." Possible outcomes
for others are projected as vitally connected to possible outcomes
for themselves. Conditions and consequences are perceived to be
of concern to everyone involved. The range of this concern and
the extent of the common situation(14)
are enlarged with the expanding of sympathetic imagination. As
was pointed out in Chapter Three, dramatic rehearsal of possible
courses of action in the imagination requires the appreciation
and inclusion of the standpoints of others, with the impartiality
of the social standpoint of the "objective observer," which judges
on the basis of the common (inclusive) rather than the private
9. In trying to figure a way out of the common social problematic
situation, individuals include others, both imaginatively (appreciating
their standpoint) and overtly (consulting them), in the process
of deliberation.(15) They do this
with the common intent of changing the conditions they are faced
with so as to resolve their common situation. Awareness
that their end is the same, that each is focused upon the same
overall favorable outcome or inclusive end (though touching upon
different people differently), brings together or unifies individuals
just as an inclusive end or ideal unifies interests and desires
within a person.(16) The most
inclusive ideals unify not only individuals taken individually,
but also individuals taken together. Since they all have a stake
in the outcome, they have a common or shared interest. This means
that, in a community, individuals adjust their purposes and actions
in the light of ideals held in common. Cooperation rather than
conflict of distinctive ends within the imaginative framework
of an inclusive social end or ideal (wrought and shared by socially
conscious individuals)(17) maximizes
the empowerment (freedom) of individuals, their ability to fulfill
their distinct capacities. We are all in this together. It makes
sense for individuals to think in terms of their connections with
others, and the way conditions affect others as well as themselves.
Practical wisdom or "sense of direction" includes sense of social
direction. Consciousness means social consciousness. Flexibility
in planning and adaptability in overt action (to a common good)
is realistic and wise, because improvement of individuals is inextricably
bound up with the conditions and quality of their associations.
Improving conditions for others leads to improved opportunities
10. Democracy or community requires shared values. Values
(valued objects or goods) become "prized in common" by means of
communication. In this sense, communication is the basis
of community. Through communication, people find things in common.
They discover what they already have in common. Communication
requires the pre-existence of some common ground in shared experience
and shared language; this common ground is revealed in the act
of communication. Potentially, people have much in common: they
share the same natural resources; they inhabit the earth together.
They are faced with many of the same social problems. They love
and revere many of the same things. What is potentially (implicitly)
common becomes actually (explicitly) common in communication.
Communication reveals the common.(19)
People reach an appreciation of one another's standpoints, as
well as points of contact (common ground) between these standpoints.
Moreover, by communicating, people create a new common: They establish
new common ground, achieve a common understanding, come
to an agreement, if only the agreement that they disagree. They
adjust their attitudes so as to create new points of contact.
This establishment of new agreement takes place in discussion
and debate, which is the public and social equivalent or counterpart
of "private" deliberation. As desires and habits are given free
play in imagination and are finally resolved in the "consensus"
of choice, so the attitudes and ideas of diverse individuals are
publicly debated and adjusted to one another so as to arrive at
a consensus of social aims and ideals. Essential to this cooperative
search is sympathy, imagination of the standpoint of the
other, based upon facts observed and revealed in the words and
deeds of that other. Knowing what the other means is the underlying
condition of effective communication. Arriving at a common understanding
requires establishing an appreciation of at least two centers
of understanding. This is an ongoing process. Sympathy is both
presupposed and improved in the give and take of conversation.
Both hearer and speaker are compelled to reach over barriers and
to expand the range of their imaginative thought. The meaning-horizon
of the hearer is enlarged and transformed by new possibilities
revealed in the words of the other; the meaning-horizon of the
speaker is enlarged and transformed in the attempt to speak in
ways that the other will understand. Thus, the horizons of both
speaker and hearer are extended so as to include their mutual
standpoints and unique approaches. This inclusion changes each
perspective or angle of vision. Friendship is but a deepening
of the condition of sympathy which is essential for every fruitful
communication. An attitude of friendliness or sympathy (knowing
where the other is coming from) underlines every instance of genuine
democratic discussion and debate.
11. According to Dewey, thought or "inner debate," which trades
heavily in communicated meanings or words, is derived from amicable
public discussion, the give and take of sympathetic communication.
Dialectic (open-minded thought) is rooted in dialogue
Democracy implies faith in persuasion and discussion, rather than
force and intimidation, to resolve differences. It maintains that
common understanding or agreement as to aims and ideals
can and ought to arise from the give and take of individuals freely
communicating with one another. As it places responsibility for
intelligent choice upon freely deliberating individuals, so it
places responsibility for social planning upon individuals working
together, rather than upon an external authority.
12. Reaching common understanding is as important to human
existence as is the achievement of distinctive individuality.
The search for the common(21)
is a search for continuity in experience. It is a search for what
binds together rather than separates individuals and their interests.
Individuality makes no sense apart from this continuity, a sense
of connection within the whole, a sense of one's standing with
others. Fraternity, the willingness to cooperate, is the search
for unity in social interests and ideals; it is the willingness
to adjust one's own aims and interests so as to stand with others
on common ground rather than to stand against others in self-defeating
isolation. This "like-mindedness" of common understanding makes
social harmony (community) possible. Reaching agreement in social
deliberation of social ends and means brings individuals together;
their efforts are lined up in parallel; they face the same possible
future. They face the same things together, look to the same ideal
together, though from distinct yet connected centers. To the extent
that they achieve an impartial and inclusive social standpoint
(sympathetic imagination), a socially-minded individual angle
of vision, they have a common (shared) outlook. They are focused
on the same things, and they look forward to the same possibilities.
This common understanding (shared understanding or understanding
together) or "common mind" should not be confused with uniformity
or conformity. These terms point to an abdication of distinctive
individuality, rather than the voluntary adjustment and refinement
of distinctive individuality in the light of an imaginative social
whole or ideal. Working together in conversation establishes common
ground at the same time as it clarifies the irreplaceable and
unique standing of individuals on that common ground. The personal
and the shared represent two inseparable aspects of every experience.
The common does not supplant or submerge, but complements and
interacts with the individuality of individuals. On the other
hand, only distinctive individuals can truly be said to have anything
in common. It is the tension between the tendency to differentiation
and the tendency to reach common ground that constitutes the nagging
problem as well as the incomparable fulfillment of interhuman
communication. Communication indicates a victory of open and inclusive
individuality over closed and isolated "individuality." This amounts
to the achievement of an enlarged and inclusive (social) angle
13. Communication both draws from and extends a common meaning-horizon
(culture). Aims and ideals, like other possibilities, are worked
out of lived experience. Common aims and ideals, worked out in
action and speech together (shared experience and dialogue), add
to the fund of meanings and possibilities that form the context
or the background of all consciousness and imagination. Related
to a common meaning-horizon (including but not restricted to language),
individuals are able to use this common fund or "mind" to light
up or suggest even more possibilities or "ideas." These ideas
in turn expand and modify the meaning-horizon which made them
possible. The modification of the subject-matter of collective
meanings or culture is continually altered by new transformations
of meanings and facts in imaginative insight. This in turn calls
for new mediation or adjustment in communication, new attempts
to find new common ground. In fact, the transforming sparks of
individual insights occur openly in the give and take of conversation.
As novelty and fresh angles of vision challenge old habits of
believing and acting, so the unexpected in conversation calls
for continual adjustment of the overall meaning-horizon heretofore
taken for granted and held in common.
14. With communication, previously unshared experience becomes
available to others; they can participate in it, at least as a
possibility, by virtue of this communication. Their imaginative
projection of possibilities then draws not only from their own
personal experience, but also from the experience of others. The
experience of friendship or of partial democracy can be lifted
from its immediate context and shared with others not participating
in the original experience.(22)
Things achieved by some can become things (possibilities) worth
striving for by others.(23) Communication
means participation or increased share in a common context of
possibilities (culture or meaning-horizon). This participation
in an ever-widening context of possibilities (meaning-horizon)
afforded by communication empowers individual minds to think even
more soundly and creatively; it makes available more and more
common content and material to reflect upon, more "grist for the
mill." Thus, communication enlarges an overall fund of possible
experience, an "account" of meanings that everyone communicating
can use as background for new insights and imaginative conceptions.
Meanings derived from the experience of some add to the common
fund of meaning (possibilities) available (common) to all. In
this way, communication multiplies indefinitely the horizon of
thought possibilities. While individual thought strives to include
relations and connections in an ever-expanding range, "public
thought" or communication, drawing from diverse standpoints and
experiences, expands possibilities even more rapidly, deeply,
15. Human beings are interdependent. Community or democratic
association means working together in the light of shared meanings.
The transition from mere association to community requires the
transformation of physical energies (brute facts) into shared
meanings (possibilities). Moral interdependence requires sympathetic
grasp (thinking) of numerous connections (relations and meanings).(24)
Conversion of bare events to meanings means transformation of
the particular or parochial into the general (generous) and the
universal (inclusive). Insofar as they are converted into meanings,
events or histories become transportable and transferable methods
for interpreting or manipulating existing facts and energies.
Meanings are descriptions of the ways energies can be used, how
they can be redirected. Meanings do this by virtue of their "generality."
The generality of meanings (detachment from particular experiences)
allows them to be inclusive and generous, at the same time as
they are abstract and "indefinite." Meanings bind together individuals
and the objects of their experience. They indicate a relation
between individuals and what they experience, and they establish
relation between or among individuals. Their very "generality"
is an advantage, because it allows for inclusion of a wide range
of experiences which, appreciated for what they are, are existentially
singular and unrepeatable. Because they are a medium of possible
experience, of possibilities, they "overcome"(25)
differences in actual experience, differences that tend to separate
and differentiate, rather than unite individuals. Meanings allow
for the bypassing of the unique and idiosyncratic without ruling
it out. They represent compromise, reconciliation, and consolidation
of otherwise opaque (unique) experiences. Possible experience
(culture) provides a potential common ground for individuals factually
unique and distinct.
16. Basic to communication is a "common understanding" or
"likemindedness," a common way of interpreting the world. What
binds a society or community together is its culture, its meaning-horizon;
its fund of accumulated possibilities. Another word for this meaning-horizon
or culture is "tradition" (which includes language). It is important
for education to transmit this tradition; for without it, the
interpretation of present facts is impossible. The meanings that
enter into experience of new events and which undergo transformation
in imaginative thought are, for the most part, culturally funded
and shared meanings.
17. The locus of shared meaning is primarily works of art
and the spoken word (language). Symbols are existences that can
be shared and which make possible the sharing of meanings. Ideas
(possibilities) become common (shared) when they are put into
words and works of art. Like images, words (and works of art)
have factual and individual existence even as they intimate possible
and absent existence. Actual and possible existence, fact and
ideal, come together in words (and other symbols). Just as an
image can make the absent present to an individual mind, so words
can make what is absent present to individuals participating in
the give and take of free communication of ideas. That is why
freedom of speech is essential for democracy; the establishment
of common ideals, particularly the ideal of democracy (as liberty,
equality, and fraternity), cannot occur without free transactions
in ideas or possibilities made possible by the "coins and currency"
of spoken words (and artistic symbols). What is "not yet" or absent
(possibility or ideal) for many together is made "present" or
suggested in communication. Thus, human culture -- the matrix
of socially shared experience and funded meanings -- is the precondition
for working together to frame the idea or the ideal of democracy.
Against this meaning horizon, new experiences and conditions can
strike like flint to produce new imaginative conceptions of democracy.
In fact, the ideal of democracy is inseparable from the idea of
free communication, the very idea of expanding in infinite variety
and cooperative unity distinctions and connections within a common
meaning-horizon. Democracy in communication means search for unity
(consensus or common ground) with respect for diversity. In democratic
communication, both individuality and community are enhanced.
Democracy means expanding and multiplying possibilities, thereby
"stretching" the meaning-horizon -- in a democratically cooperative
and sympathetic atmosphere where clash and encounter of facts
with ideas and ideas with one another (the give and take of conversation)
are both encouraged and provided for.(26)
1. Those who believe that association
necessarily means loss of individuality might be asked whether,
in combining to make water, hydrogen and oxygen become the same.
Unity is not homogeneity.
2. Actually, there can be conflict among
different angles of vision within a person. Unity is something
achieved, not given in advance.
3. What is essential in democratic life
is that each person's doing and undergoing, contributing and receiving,
acting and being acted upon, should be roughly equivalent. In
other words, a citizen's unique contribution should balance his
4. Dewey's listing of basic human relationships
is strikingly similar to that of Confucianism.
5. We learn by undergoing the consequences
of our actions and adjusting our aims and conduct in terms of
6. Both free speech and free movement
(mobility) are required in a democracy.
7. Competition is a good thing, only to
the extent that it takes place in a context which is overall fraternal
or cooperative -- i.e., friendly competition. An atmosphere of
ruthless competition (such as in capitalism at its worst), where
some are winners and others are losers, is not an appropriate
setting for the development of democratic individuals -- individuals
sympathetic to one another's interests, who are concerned to develop
their own capacities in ways that release and do not inhibit the
capacities of others.
8. The true craftsman knows that his
work requires cooperation with the unique potential of the block
of wood or marble that is given. He cannot cut without respect
for its unique characteristics (grain, etc.). The situation is
even more complicated with human existences, who have even more
unique capacities and do not do well when forced into preconceived
molds. That forcing things is self-defeating is emphasized throughout
Chinese philosophy (both Confucianism and Taoism). It recurs again
and again in Dewey's thought in his call for persuasion rather
than coercion in human relations.
9. Many of the problems of modern life
come down to working collectively in impersonal organizations,
which tend to increase isolation, detachment, and dislocation,
while preserving the illusion of "working together."
10. See Chapter Five.
11. See Chapter Six.
12. Perhaps this is the "imaginative
whole" of their employer. One thinks of Hegel's "cunning of reason,"
whereby the seeking of private gain unwittingly contributes to
the social whole. One could also point to certain capitalistic
theories, which trust that laissez-faire self-interest will lead
to common weal.
13. Individuals or groups initiating
these consequences may be different from individuals or groups
affected by them.
14. Recall the Stoics, who believed
that fellowship crosses city and national borders.
15. Consultation, conference, and discussion
are but the social counterpart of personal deliberation.
16. The common end of defeating an enemy
brings people together, but in external and not in deep-seated
ways. Defeating the sharks will not keep the boat from sinking.
17. Working at "cross-purposes" doesn't
work, just as contrary physical forces tend to cancel each other
18. Sometimes the improvement may come
in a form that looks like its opposite, the encountering of new
obstacles and suffering, both of which are essential for growth.
For Dewey, growth in intelligence through experience always takes
precedence over possessing or accumulating external or "quantitative"
19. People find out that the same things
matter to them through the give and take of conversation.
20. Democratic discussion with oneself
(dialectic or deliberation) and democratic discussion with others
(dialogue) are mutually reinforcing activities.
21. For Dewey, the "common" means the
22. Thus, poetry, art, and other forms
of communication make individual experience universal (common).
23. A father speaks with his son. The
words they share are deeds (facts) translated into dreams (possibilities).
Communication means sharing in the same meaning-horizon or breadth
24. To a great extent, the enlightenment
of individuals to discover and reconstruct meanings is the task
of communication or education.
25. The common is not superior to the
distinctively individual, anymore than relations are superior
to qualities. The common is the mutually transforming link between
26. It is not enough to remove obstacles
to communication; the conditions that empower it, primarily those
afforded in education, must be supplied. "Freedom of speech" is
an empty phrase, unless the power to think and speak intelligently
has been cultivated.
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Copyright © 1992
-1999 Gordon L. Ziniewicz
This page last updated 10/14/12
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