GRADUALISM, PART III. . .

I concluded my last post with: Spirit.  What are we talking about?  In response, Greenleaf writes:

Spirit.  …dictionaries are not helpful because of the wide variety of meanings that are in common usage.  Therefore it behooves anyone who uses the word ‘spirit’ to say quite clearly what it refers to.  ‘Spirit’ is used here as the drive behind the urge to serve; the force that takes one into the active role as servant. 

 One who has the urge to reform something is more likely to nurture the human spirit in those touched by the reform action if one’s predominant tactic is gradual rather than confrontational…

 The gradualist as reformer seems to manifest more respect for the person than the confrontationalist who is more likely to push some people around.  In voting, a minority may be pushed around whereas in consensus everybody’s position is respected…

 Spirit as the driving force behind the urge to serve, may be a profound manifestation of the deep good – and strength – in a person.  And it may also be a primary ingredient that makes a civilized society possible.  We have as good a society as we have because some chose to serve, enough, at least, to offset the influence of those who use our society for self-aggrandizement…

 At the root of my faith is the quite certain feeling that the potential for a person being guided by the human spirit (as defined here) is quite prevalent at birth, but some persistent virus limits it or kills it off.  In the quiet of my reflective years I have wondered what this destructive virus is and, if we know what it is, can we curb it? 

 And out of my wondering has come the suspicion that this virus is the way the use of power has evolved as we have become as civilized as we are – power being the means in the hands of some to push other people around, maybe in a consciously exploitative way, maybe with a benign intent, but a pushing around just the same.

 I learned very early about power… [To be continued]

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