Most Americans would like to be less judgmental and more compassionate. They’d like to love their “enemies.” They want to engage with others as equals. They know that trying to relieve suffering can be rewarding. When they think deeply about it, Americans realize:
The individual and the community are interwoven. What affects one individual affects every individual.
What serves the individual serves the community, and what serves the community serves the individual.
The Earth is a spaceship and yes, all humanity is in this together.
There’s no irreconcilable conflict between self-interest and community-interest, though there’s often a tension.
Building an effective compassionate, transformative movement will require activists to liberate those innate instincts. As James Baldwin said, “The things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
For various reasons, however, most people are not committed to ongoing self-improvement. Instead, they reflect one or more of the following characteristics…..