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Reflecting on the recent shootings in New York and Texas, coupled with escalating political hyperpolarization caused by the conflicting ideologies of traditionalists, modernists, and post-modernists; absence of civil discourse; domestic terrorism and targeted violence by extremist groups; doubts about election integrity; widespread proliferation of misinformation; and erosion of the First Amendment have given rise to thoughts about the dire need for leading, evolving, transcending and including, core virtues, values, and worldviews. Today, it feels like a nice place to start is with virtues and values.
Concerning virtues and values, Steve McIntosh offers,
Virtues are traits of moral excellence or strengths of character whose practice can lead to both ethical living and satisfying happiness. Although the concepts of virtues and values are interrelated, there is an important distinction. As we’ve seen, values are magnetic, they provide the aims and goals that attract us toward that which is more perfect, more real, and more right. Values represent the improved future conditions we desire. Virtues, on the other hand, represent the good qualities we presently possess; the acquired attributes of excellence that become engrained into our basic nature through commitment and practice. Values are the best of what we want, but virtues are the best of who we are. Simply put, values are headings and virtues are habits— “habits of the heart,” as they’ve been called. (Steve McIntosh, 2020, Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow into a Better Version of Itself, St. Paul, Minnesota, Paragon House, 130-31)
After contemplating the difference between virtues and values, it was interesting to work through McIntosh’s process (Appendix B: An Exercise for Practicing Virtues: Creating a Personal Portrait of Good, 179-189) and come to grips with a list of virtues associated with perceived obligations to the self, others, and transcendence. With a goal of “peace-of-mind” and purpose and connections created on a foundation of compassion, here is the list of obligations with respective virtues, and am certain it will improve:
Some values that quickly surface are 100% responsibility-life happens because of me, not to me; leadership; model the way; common good; show up as authentic self; mindful and aware; self-restraint; self-discipline; face everything, avoid nothing; process perspective; passionate intent; generosity; patience; skillful means; help others; care about others; quality; true self; practice; transcendental wisdom, et al.
Today, personal virtues that need work are gratitude and courage; and the nice thing about values is that they are life’s work-in-process, simply “aims and goals.”
Folks, we have a great deal to heal and get done in the battle for the roots of the Nation. Our fellow citizens are not our enemies; and we are not “Red States” and “Blue States.” Let us be open to the infinite potential, opportunities, and possibilities for our great country and evolve. We are all Americans, and we each have a daily choice to transcend and include others. Marching forward with core virtues and a desired cultural worldview can create a hope filled picture. A worldview of our “mighty task” might look something like this:
Quality, compassion, common good, and virtue in all we are and all we do.
It is time to evolve from the chaos of hyperpolarization being created by conflicting ideologies of traditionalists, modernists, and post modernists that is being pontificated by politicians and respective tribes. Solid core virtues and a good cultural worldview for America can facilitate transcendence. Your feedback to JohnDeVore@aol.com is invited and encouraged. Let’s compare notes, improve this message, move beyond the hyperpolarization, and evolve for the good of Americans and the world.