To our good friends–

Dissatisfactions are both good and bad, I am beginning to think. They are bad when they become to a culture, as they have in ours, the drivers of who we think we are. We define ourselves more by what we don’t have than by what we have, and certainly more than by who we are. Someone else has a BMW while we have a Mercury: we decide someday that is what we want to have. We live in a 3 bedroom house and we see a huge house at the end of a long driveway and define our selves by that “someday.” We see an ad on TV and say “I have to have that (to be whole).” We define our businesses by their goals, which is a not too subtle way of saying “we are not where—nor who—we want to be.” This is illness.

But health is in dissatisfactions, too: we see a need in our society—poverty, injustice, peace—and we set out on a mission. We see a way we can come together and we look for openings.

Is it possible that the difference is in what the dissatisfactions are based upon: one person, me-centered as compared to other and outward centered?

Are goals and dissatisfactions related? What are our goals about—us or the larger world?

In Buber’s terms: if our goals and dissatisfactions have to do with Its, then we are not (usually) healthy, but if about Thous, then we are healthy. More precisely, Its to the exclusion of Thous are not healthy. Or perhaps turned-in, gathering and getting, rather than outward facing, what good can we do?

This gives us a stronger base in our group work: “What good can we do?” is more life-giving than “How can we get more members, dues, money?”

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on March 5th, 2007 | No Comments »

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