The Philia Proposal continued

Philia is the Greek for “friendship”. Aristotle calls Philia the force of caring that binds citizens together in a city: the reserve of human warmth, affect, enthusiasm and generosity that nurtures and stimulates the fellowship that is the heart of civic life. Nurture is the operative word here. Philia is to the community what topsoil is to farmland. It nurtures the soul and enables the citizens to fulfill their obligations with joy. Paideia educates us as citizens, gives us a sense of the common good, helps us set moral goals, and provides us with the means and the information to achieve them. Philia provides the inspiration, the moral oxygen needed to carry out our moral obligations as citizens.

The Philia proposal is grounded in the three following principles :

  • Being is both the end and the condition of doing;

  • Aesthetics and Ethics converge and reinforce each other; and

  • Resilience is the key lever for social action and change.

Being and Doing
Communities are to being what associations are to doing. Associations are created for specific purposes or activities, and, usually, for a limited period of time. Communities are rarely “created”, though this may happen; rather, they tend to develop and grow, sometimes in unpredictable ways, as people are born into them or choose to move into them and, as a result, come to share a common space, common resources and, eventually, a common sense of history and identity. A community is a place to be and, also, the place from which associations form for the purpose of doing. This is why there is more room for the “soul” in a community than in an association, and why associations tend to be less inclusive than communities. There is a risk that modernization, with its emphasis on doing as opposed to being, may be transforming our communities into mere associations as the sense of shared space and the idea of common good are eroded to provide more freedom to a privileged few. Ensuring that our communities remain inclusive is a survival strategy for communities that need a balance between the values of being and of doing.

Next Page

Previous Page

How Our Site Works | About Us | Caring Citizen | Universal Values
Themes | Actions  | Get Involved | Home | What's New | Book Reviews