Summarizing The Desire for Mutual Recognition

Chapter 10: Social-Spiritual Activism: Activism that Thaws the False Self and Fosters Mutuality of Presence

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Drawing on the concluding passages from Chapter 9, this final chapter begins by emphasizing that the aim of a new social-spiritual activism must be to link social change with a deepening of mutuality of presence, and that this experience of deepened communion must also come to know itself self-consciously so as to gain a confidence in itself sufficient to resist the legacy of fear of the other, fear of each other, that will tend to undermine it. The chapter then proposes three “circles” of social-spiritual practices extending from the Being of the person outward: an Innermost Circle emphasizing social-spiritual practices like meditation that serve to sustain our connection to the ground of our Being and resist the swings of the false self’s “monkey mind” that is continuously, anxiously preoccupied with reliving past or rehearsing future (imagined) humiliations; a Second Circle outward that seeks to incorporate social-spiritual practices into everyday life that strengthen the internal confidence and moral integrity of the group in the present moment; and a Third Circle characterized by spiritualizing social policy as a way of evoking and articulating our moral direction. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the place of more radical pathways that prefigure the world we seek to bring into being.

Peter Gabel