Integrate Magazine

Raise your perspective. Wake up your ideals.

The Common Good #12 – Persona

Persona is derived from Latin meaning a theatrical mask portraying the character in a play. A news story this morning, exposed my myopic view of a group’s persona. It made me aware that we judge others by what we want them to be, not who they are. We all present our persona during communications.

Take the opportunity to avoid judgment, by suspending your filters. When you do this, you find that each persona is a multi-faceted prism. These prisms are a mixture of differences and agreements. Diversity is how you see the other persona – individual or group. Rather than good or evil, you see a horizon. These horizons create new relationships, which strengthen the common good.

The Common Good #10 – Global Citizens

Today we live in a 24/7 global environment. Space exploration will extend this reality to galaxy citizenship. This is the momentum of history. It is impossible to put the genie back into the bottle. Isolation and nationalism will not alter the course of human history. The international space programs have shattered the flat earth theory. This is an epochal moment in human history, and we need to prepare for this eventuality. Change is frightening, if you avoid understanding this reality. You prepare for the future by reimagining the present.

Commerce is the common denominator for socio-economic progress. The ancient navigators, sea explorers, and colonization – commerce was the purpose resulting in the interconnectivity of the globe. However, in this era, we need new rules of engagement. We are far away from a global government. To avoid chaos and colonization aberrations, we need effective and fair trade agreements. The practical approach is Free Trade Agreements. The reality is that change is a constant, and Free Trade Agreements need to be monitored and adjusted to fit the circumstances of change.

Retreating from the world, is allowing other to dictate the terms. The common good is served by implementing sustainable commercial agreements. Each agreement must have a built-in change component. In a global environment, the world is not going to stop and wait – someone always fills a vacuum.

The Common Good #09 – Community

The common good exists within a community environment. Responsibility for your community is of the upmost importance. The welfare, security, and progress depends on each members’ contribution to the community. Ultimately, this symbiotic relationship impacts you. Thus, your actions will benefit you. The health of the community is essentially your personal health.  When you build up the community you reap the benefits.

This is not rocket science – mutual respect, trust, and interest is the common good. In a 24/7 global environment, you become a member of a larger community. No longer do you have the luxury of isolation. The butterfly effect is not an imaginary thing. You begin with your local community, but you must begin to think in terms of the global community. The is the reality of the 21st century – ignoring this reality, has severe consequences.

The Common Good #08 – Trust

The integrity of the common good is built on the foundation of trust. Trusting each other and trusting leaders, companies, institutions, and governments. The common good does not mean equivalence, an impossible condition in a diverse human family. The common good means security, freedom, and empowerment. With these virtues come obligations, and obligations are not a one-way street. Freedom does not condone propaganda or yelling fire in a crowded theater. Security means the rule of law applies to everyone. Security also means that when one member of the community suffers a malady, there is a safety net. Empowerment is an atmosphere that allows you to push the envelope without recrimination. The US Declaration of Independence sets the stage. “that all … are created equal…endowed … with unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

  • Life means security – a safe environment that promotes viability.
  • Liberty means freedom – from oppression, servitude, arbitrary political decisions.
  • Pursuit of Happiness – empowering you to develop self-worth.

The common good establishes a framework that extends these qualities to the entire community. Institutions, companies, and government via their leadership are the means for creating and maintaining this structure. The integrity of the framework depends on the members’ trust. When leaders betray this trust – institutions, companies, and government fail! The blatant example is the deterioration of the US leadership in global and local politics.

Leadership positions given must be earned! Just because you are the head of an enterprise, does not guarantee success. Behavior not words define your true character. Trust is the essential factor that defines your nature. Lies unmask your persona.

The Common Good #07 – Propaganda

The integrity of the common good relies on accurate and fair information. This idea of fake news is preposterous it is Propaganda! A basic element of awareness and understanding depends on the right word to describe a situation. It is why we have dictionaries – it means that there is a standard definition and understanding of words. This avoids confusion! The definition of news is information regardless of the media or the timing of the event. Propaganda is information that is spread to promote some cause. Present-day propaganda is brainwashing! Thus, information is either to provide you with knowledge about an event or subject. Propaganda is to lure you to false interpretations of reality.

It is difficult to discern the information as reality or propaganda. All fake news is propaganda. We associate propaganda with Totalitarianism. Caution is the word of the day. Totalitarianism comes from many sources – mostly to promote an agenda. Thus, misrepresentation of reality and facts to trigger an emotional response, creating demons to destabilize you via fear. Family, friends, and governments are trusted sources, but they may be trying to distract you from the common good. Be careful of wolves in sheep clothing. We criticize other governments of propaganda and our own government has become equally responsible for creating these demons.

The Common Good #06 – Awareness

The purpose of the free press is to support your ability to be aware of circumstances. Daily life is a continual decision process. Discernments have consequences. Thus, it is imperative that you receive the insights necessary to make informed decisions. Free press means objectivity, or a list of pros and cons, giving you a perspective and understanding on a subject or issue.

Being aware does not necessarily make you infallible. The best you can do is to consider the information, understand the consequences to optimize your decision. Anything that constraints or distorts a subject view, works against a free press. The following is an example of influences that either inform or confuse a topic. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a quagmire of conflicting stories. [Disclaimer I believe that universal health care is a right and not a privilege.]

The current administration and congressional leadership is against it. It is difficult to understand why? All I get is that it is not working. All progress, especially something as complex as health care needs improvement. An idea or law starts out as a complex set of rules. Implementation and development requires tuning and fixing. As ideas met reality, changes are necessary. It is difficult to gain an insight as to the real reason for the opposition. One argument is that it is mandatory. So, are drivers’ licenses, auto insurance, etc. – so how is this any different? Most of the opposition is Christian – Scripture Matthew 25:35-36, is a principle that seems to be lost in this rhetoric. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights besides the freedom of the press protects the freedom of religion. This does not suggest that moral values cannot be used to guide our laws. I still do not understand the opposition, especially when you see the peaceful petitions and protests repealing the ACA. An overwhelming majority support health care protection. Thanks to a free press – we are aware of most citizens want affordable health care.

ACA needs fixing – so fix it! I suggest the administration and congressional leadership listen to its citizenry! Otherwise, who are you listening to?

The Common Good #05 – Media

A democratic society depends on awareness. In a 24/7 news cycle, where information comes from many sources, understanding is fragile. Competitive pressures often cause imprudent news and parochial points of view compromise reality. News is defined as information, which is a message without qualification as to its veracity. The constant bombardment for your attention, creates credibility gaps that interfere with your ability to understand. It is necessary that your sources of information have credibility. News integrity depends on trust, courtesy, and facts. This integrity is jeopardized by little things.  Here are some things to consider to safeguard honesty.

Everything is not breaking news! The best way to lose my attention is to keep telling me you have breaking news, when it is old news. Attempts at giving a balanced view include discussion panels for different points of view. When these individuals begin to argue – I’m gone! Fear does not get my attention. The sound bite mentality is not productive! If I want entertainment, I will seek out the appropriate media. When I want news, especially for complicated subjects such as health care. I need information, that is not possible in a sound bite or panel arguments.

If you want credibility, then act in a way that you gain my respect. Organizational revenue requirements must separate the news from income requirements. This is the challenge for the media in this 24/7 environment. It is an essential requirement for the common good.

The Common Good #04 – Free Press

The first amendment to the Constitution written by James Madison as the Bill of Rights lists specific prohibitions on governmental government to protect individual liberties. It is referred to as the “Fourth Estate” as a power to curb governmental mischief. There is now a “Fifth Estate” consisting of citizen journalists and bloggers using social media to express add to this freedom of the press guarantee of the Bill of Rights. “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” [Thomas Jefferson to John Jay]

Free press has its own set of dangers. It is essential that a free press report the facts. not opinions or special agendas. The current wave of fake news (which is not news, but propaganda) illustrates the need for curating information. “Journalism can be distinguished from other activities and products by certain identifiable characteristics and practices. These elements not only separate journalism from other forms of communication, they are what make it indispensable to democratic societies. History reveals that the more democratic a society, the more news and information it tends to have.” []

It is difficult to be completely objective. We all have paradigms that differ in a diverse community. A well-balanced news will give you the pros and cons to a subject. When reporting news, it should be balanced. When giving an opinion or personal insights it should be marked as an editorial. In a climate, fraught with fake news and bias opinions you have the responsibility to use multiple sources to get a fair and objective understanding. This is possible today because of the accessibility to a wide range of reporting. You should use the following means for ensuring the reason for a free press.

  • Investigate multiple sources of information – look to other countries like the BBC, and Economist to give their insights. Rely on your local news, and most of all find sources of trust where their body of work supports an honest and fair reporting.
  • Read the opposition, if you have liberal leanings, get the rational from the right. You need to see both sides of the coin. Does the reporting make sense? May not fit your paradigm, but you should look at the other point of view.
  • Listen to the consistency of their ideas. Is the story the same or does it change with the situation?  Be especially careful when the the rhetoric pushing an agenda?
  • If the news feeds the demons of fear and anger – run away, this is not news it is control.
  • Finally, use common sense – does it make sense – it is credible!

The Common Good # 03 – Covenant

The objective of the common good is the benefit or interest of all and the inclusion of individual diversity. You overcome the possibility of conflict through operational parameters. The framework for harmonizing the interest of individuals and groups with the interest of the larger communities. The Constitution guides establishing norms, traditions, and laws. The genius of the US Constitution is the separation of power within three branches of government and an independent judiciary

Ultimately the common good of any society depends on the individuals or group of individuals who administer the norms, traditions, and laws. The more complex the society, the greater the distance from the common good. This distance creates factions that reinterpret the common good as their prerogative. This always leads to a conflict of interest. When the common good is subordinate to an individual or faction, it is no longer the common good. George Washington in his farewell address cautioned us to the danger.

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

We find ourselves at this moment. When party and ideology and personal interest are devastating the common good. we look back at the framework where the first amendment to the US Constitution give you protection via “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

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