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 :
is both the end and the condition of doing;
and Ethics converge and reinforce each other; and
is the key lever for social action and change.
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.