This is Peter Block's response to What are you skating towards in 2012?

Unoccupied Space

I am always attracted to unoccupied space. Realms where the dominant culture has not advanced its patriarchal or empire narrative.

The fresher areas that have drawn me over the last few years are Journalism, Economics and now Religion. The journalism focus is to advance an alternative story to the scarcity, crime, fear, 'there is something wrong with us', political divisive conversation that has dominated journalism from its inception. The new journalism covers stories of what works, abundance, the aliveness, possibility and integrity of urban centers. It will consider these news instead of human interest. Put investigative reporting in the middle section of the paper beneath the fold, and mention for two minutes in the twenty first minute of the evening news.

The economics focus has a similar theme. We are out of relationship with money. Consumerism has hit the wall. Our measures of well being are too small and commercial. There is a new economics emerging about General Well Being, Happiness. We can no longer be measured by GDP and also must end the dominance of the money supply by the private sector. We are moving towards an economics of generosity (Edgar Cahn). The idea that the sole and primary purpose of a private company is to make money is exhausted and simple minded. Handmade, walking distance, local everything, neighbour economy and exchange are all on their way. College education might soon be an anachronism for the wealthy and the scholarshiped poor. We may all have to learn to make something and fix something.

The religion focus is to reclaim religion and all its qualities from the fundamentalists and those promising certainty. Religion is the rightful space where mystery reigns. Religion honors fallibility and does not consider it as a developmental opportunity. Religion values silence, which is what brings us together. Religion saw from the beginning the power of art, song, image, metaphor and voice. Religion also allows for time which is symbolized by the Sabbath. Time is the essential ingredient for community, relatedness, and the relief from curable loneliness. Nature does not value speed for its own sake. Overall, let us legitimize speaking of God when we gather in secular spaces.

It does not matter whether you think there is one or not. God is the placeholder for mystery, fallibility, silence and time. If we can not speak of God and each culture’s earliest narratives, then we surrender to the tyranny of certainty and its false promise of a safe future.

Peter Block is a citizen of Cincinnati. Author of Abundant Community and numerous other books.  Friend of and admirer of Al.

Links: www.abundantcommunity.com   www.peterblock.com

Note: I am releasing individual essays from the collection, What are you skating towards in 2012?  on a regular basis. Upcoming contributions are by Mark Anielski, Kathy Bromley, Maggie Vilvang, Richard Faucher and Allyson Hewitt. You can access the accumulated essays here.

Related Posts:

The Economics of Neighbourliness

Abundant Community

Peter Block – Becoming Visible 2011 – A Shift in Economic Thinking

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