From the “C” of Compassion to the “C” of Community

In asking the question, “What does it mean to be human?” we have been unpacking the wisdom of the “10 C’s” of Creation Spirituality.  Each “C” calls forth our deep humanity.  The most recent “C” being Compassion.  All 10 C’s are interrelated of course, and our recent lengthy meditation on Compassion naturally leads to another “C”: Community.

Even in pandemic we can share life as a community. Image by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash.

All compassion is based on a community awareness—that we do not exist alone or isolated or cut off from one another.  “No man is an island.”  No species is an island.  No tribe dwells alone. 

Consider the climate change emergency that we are all undergoing.  The smoke from the wildfires here in the West is now stretching all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.  All are experiencing its fall-out.  Eco-destruction is teaching us that the modern notion of isolation and individualism is a falsehood.  Interdependence is what reality is all about. 

“Stop the spread. Wear a mask.” Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York message campaign. Image on Flickr.

Coronavirus teaches the same lesson.  This appalling “debate” whether to wear masks or not wear masks and shouts of “you are taking my liberty away” (and crazy stuff comparing mask-wearing to slavery coming from the foul mouth of a rabid attorney general) is an ugly left-over from a modern ideology of individualism carried to an extreme.  Is stopping for a red light also taking one’s liberty away?  That is exactly how we should see a requirement to wear masks—to prevent harm to one another; and thereby to renew our community health—including its economic health.

NASA satellite photo captured the U.S. on Sep. 15, 2020, showing the fires in the West and their smoke drifting over the country; several hurricanes converging from different angles; and Hurricane Sally making landfall. NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System

Nor are wildfires only a climate change and political issue in the United States.  Consider this letter I recently received from Sara Thomas of the World Wildlife Fund.

From California to the Amazon, we are yet again witnessing a series of historic and destructive wildfires around the world. These fires harm the health of people, wildlife, and habitats; contribute to climate change; and cause billions of dollars in damage each year.

In tropical areas, wildfires not only threaten to destroy some of the richest biodiversity hot spots on the planet, they also erase local livelihoods, erode forest and freshwater resources, and harm the health of forest-dependent communities. Through August of this year, the number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon rain forest surged 99% over 2018 levels while the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland area, experienced an astonishing 1,584% increase in wildfires compared to 2018.

Fires next to a deforested area registered by Prodes (Brazilian Amazon Satellite Monitoring Project), in Nova Maringá, Mato Grosso state. 2020. Photo © Christian Braga / Greenpeace. Posted to Flickr by Tropical Forest Fires Watch

There are solutions.

The challenge is daunting, but the solutions are also clear. Most global deforestation is driven by the expanded production of just four agricultural commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and timber. The United States can and should work with countries to prevent illegal deforestation and to protect biodiversity hot spots like the Amazon and Pantanal from land conversion and wildfires—and ensure that products that drive forest loss have no place in American markets.

We can demand of our politicians and political parties to combat climate change.  This is community in action saving the community.

See Matthew Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human, pp. 130-136.

Banner image: Amish barn-raising. Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Are you standing up to those who believe wearing masks is infringing on their liberties?  Do you encounter people who believe red lights infringe on their liberties also?  Do you see a silver lining in the current global emergencies due to climate change and its offspring, coronavirus, that we may be waking up to a more real sense of community?  What follows from that?

The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human

The A.W.E. Project reminds us that awe is the appropriate response to the unfathomable wonder that is creation… A.W.E. is also the acronym for Fox’s proposed style of learning – an approach to balance the three R’s. This approach to learning, eldering, and mentoring is intelligent enough to honor the teachings of the Ancestors, to nurture Wisdom in addition to imparting knowledge, and to Educate through Fox’s 10 C’s. The 10 C’s are the core of the A.W.E. philosophy and process of education, and include: compassion, contemplation, and creativity. The A.W.E. Project does for the vast subject of “learning” what Fox’s Reinvention of Work did for vocation and Original Blessing did for theology. Included in the book is a dvd of the 10 C’s put to 10 video raps created and performed by Professor Pitt.
An awe-based vision of educational renewal.Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

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5 thoughts on “From the “C” of Compassion to the “C” of Community”

  1. Avatar

    I personally do not like wearing a mask, yet realize it is necessary to stop the virus spread. There are many things in life that we do not like, but they are the right thing to do.
    Yes, we are all interrelated. The sense of community it essential to live in harmony. We should concentrate on what we have in common rather than to stress our differences.

    1. Richard E Reich

      Ron, my wife always says “it’s the right thing to do” meaning we need to do what is right for all in the situation. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Avatar

    The individualism in the U.S. especially has led to rampant greed and selfishness with the insanity of actually burning masks as a “protest” in the capital of Florida, led by another anti-science, anti-community, “leader”. The community for these people is restricted to their own “tribes”, without concern for any others at all.

    1. Richard E Reich

      Sue, you point to the “rampant greed and selfishness” in our country. You also site the act of burning masks in protest in Florida, led by an anti-science “leader.” Finally, you refer to the fact that “community for these people is restricted to their own “tribes”, without concern for any others at all.” This last phrase is the bottom line to all you have said before: “without concern for any others at all.” In order for our world to work we need to be concerned about others and work for the welfare of all. Thank you for your comment Sue…

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