At this juncture in history most people, even those caught up into the fervent and oppositional clash of extremist politics, can recognize the global scope of the turbulence of this point in time.
Far beyond any one political perspective or concern, the current dysfunction is evidence of Koyanasqatsi, or life out of balance.
The rise of heels dug in, sword in hand, refusal to treat others with respect, even when it comes to the most intimate knowledge of belief and faith, is one of the defining characteristics of incivility, the antithesis of civilization.
Collective good cannot arise or be maintained until collective legacy is a shared understanding. What we create depends on all of us. “What we sew so shall we reap.” Yes, any individual can have profound impact, most often unplanned, unknown, and uncontrolled impact, but we also renegotiate cultural contracts as a whole as well as within and between each generation.
Trajectories start from a point, an action, and momentum. If you are not applying the brakes or nudging the course of events, you are just along for the ride. Collective good requires constant collective assessment of current needs and resources which can be devoted to creating good.
A major shift is coming, we can all feel it. The outcome is not only not predictable, it is a false concept. There is no point at which things will be done. Life is an ongoing process and it will continue long after we are gone.
Women have to plan for the future, we have children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, future communities for which we have to care. We weave the fabric of culture; nourish it with our very bodies.
We are the inspiration for democracy. We love all our children and nurture them all as best we can. Not all will be leaders and guide us through the novel, unique, and sometimes quite challenging issues that face our communities; some will be successful in life by following only that which has come before. But it is our task to train up all of our charges to be contributing members of our community so that future communities we can not even envision will continue on in the future.
As Julia Ward Howe said in her Mothers Day Proclamation of 1870:
We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
The collective good requires that we “teach them of charity, mercy and patience.” Are we doing all we can to bring about the world of which Howe spoke? She was no pie eyed optimist. She had lived through the carnage of the Civil War and even provided the new lyrics for what is now known as the Battle Hymn of the Repupblic to a popular and scurrilous marching song in that war, “John Brown’s Body,” which borrowed the music from a folk hymn,”Canaan’s Happy Shore.” Women, Mrs. Howe among them, were intent to never let such atrocity as was the war between the Union and the Confederacy happen again.
We women of today, wise women of intellect and compassion, must continue the determined effort to create a world based on collective good.