Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World by Sharon Daloz Parks

By Sharon Daloz Parks

A landmark examine that finds how we turn into devoted to the typical sturdy and maintain such commitments in a altering global. "A perceptive, groundbreaking research of encouraged lives, including to our realizing of expert compassion, dedicated citizenry, and lives lived in alignment with a deeper objective. it is a guidebook for the soul." —Daniel Goleman, writer of Emotional Intelligence "Common hearth is robust and gorgeous and wise." —Jonathan Kozol

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Health, family nurture, community engagement, and true leisure all suffer. 13 It takes clear space, contemplative time, and good conversation to engage and understand complex problems. Busyness, consumerism, and their accompanying anxiety can easily become substitutes for meaning and clarity of purpose, numbing our capacity to act responsively. Allowing us to be selectively attentive and to filter out complexity and ambiguity, they foster superficial thinking, short-term perspectives, and inappropriate humility.

In a world in which cultures are colliding, we see in committed lives the signal importance of constructive engagement with those who are significantly different from oneself. " In a society which too often has reduced education to training or even entertainment and where busyness eclipses time for reflection, these ways of thinking enable committed people to engage the challenges of the new commons. In a society struggling to assess the effect of contemporary media on imagination, faith, and human behavior, such forms of language as images, stories, and symbols are critical to the encouragement and sustenance of the consciousness of committed people.

Television newscasts and other media make her keenly aware of human suffering on a global scale: a drought and famine in Africa complicated by political instability; a terrorist bomb that kills dozens of children; a multinational corporation that abandons Illinois for Malaysia, eliminating thousands of American jobs; a war of "ethnic cleansing" in Europe, echoed the following week in a story about racial cross-fire in Los Angeles. "I feel that somehow I ought to respond," she says. "But I guess all I know how to do is what I was taught in Girl Scouts.

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