by Gordon L. Ziniewicz

1. The two sides of human existence, inner unique angle of vision and outer continuity with other existences, grow or diminish reciprocally. The development of distinct individuality and the securing of harmony with the human and natural environment are interdependent. Consequently, the achievement of liberty and equality is inseparable from the attainment of the relational ideal of fraternity. That liberty and equality have traditionally been emphasized almost to the exclusion of fraternity shows that even the staunchest advocates of democracy have misunderstood the meaning of those terms, largely because they have misunderstood the meaning of human individuality. They have viewed it as something isolated, apart from association, even compromised insofar as it is associated. Though it is granted that there are modes of associating that diminish rather than further distinct individuality, genuinely democratic ways of associating are the precondition for the emergence of unique and distinct individuality.

2. Fraternity refers to the quality of relation among human beings, rather than to the quality of their unique center (standpoint) and angle (as it touches a common world). Certainly, there are many possible ways of relating for human individuals. What is clearly impossible is existence without relation; even "isolation" (psychological or social) derives from and is a type of association or relation. The hermit carries his world into the desert, and his existence in the desert constitutes a way of relating to a human and non-human environment. Every existing thing is an outcome, a result, of numerous associations of energies. These associations do not stop at the "skin" of the organism, but continue outward in continuity with an environment whose energies are modified by the activity of the organism, even as they modify the organism itself. Association or transaction of energies is a fact of nature. Hydrogen combines with oxygen in the molecule of water, is modified by this union, yet holds back and remains different from both oxygen and water.(1) It acts differently in this combination than it does in others, while displaying a singular "angle" of response (behavior). This "angle" varies with the mode of the "along with" of its specific interactions and combinations. What is true of even the most simple physical transaction, that association or combination is a condition (sine qua non) of existence, is especially true of human existences whose growth involves an increasingly complex set of transactions with things and energies. Human beings, like other natural existences, are modified in subtle ways yet continue to display singularity (as angle of vision) amidst changing combinations or associations.(2) The development and freeing of individual capacities (freedom) for human beings, which means the growth of unified and distinctive quality, depends upon contact with a wide variety (plurality) of people, ideas, and conditions. Qualities are outcomes of relations. Powers are released (or come to be) in contact with appropriate conditions and energies. Variety in association guarantees that the right "keys" are found to "unlock" or release the unique powers of individuals. Thus, both the "manner" (mode or quality) and the "range" (expanse and variety) of association is important. Liberty is impossible without human relations which are wide-ranging and, as we shall see, fraternal.

3. It is important to have a feel for the dynamic quality of the vital interplay among existing things, as well as to appreciate the many types of relation that can exist and how they affect the individuals involved. In Art as Experience, Dewey gives us a sense of the Heraclitean pulsating quality of all interactions. There "are pushes and pulls," forces and attractions, action and passion, doing and undergoing.(3) There is the dance of leading and following in continual alternation. There is the wrestling match of forces competing, taking turns in a tug-of-war. There is the rhythm of contraction and expansion, compressing to a center and spreading out to a horizon, gathering into unified form and scattering into diverse energies. Relations of individuals and energies lead to "harmony and discord." Some associations "work out well" and some do not. The complicated "ebb and flow," expanding and contracting, push and pull, of natural interaction pertains as well to the dynamics of human relationships, including those among family members and between friends.(4) The human tendency "to join," to belong to associations and organizations, is nothing other than a desire for unity within oneself and with others. That is, it is a desire to "link up with" and make contact with energies that call forth one's own best powers. Unfortunately, most associations have mixed value; they tend to release some human capacities and frustrate others. Undemocratic associations are so imbalanced, so tilted for some individuals and against others, that their overall effect is a loss rather than a gain in individuality. Such is the case in many authoritarian and "impersonal" organizations, where the advantage of being part of something big and powerful is offset by the price paid in conformity and passivity. To the extent that some lead while others follow -- without effective balance, without "give and take" of participation -- distinctive individuality fades. Conformity amounts to one-sided initiative, where those conforming do not have the opportunity to develop unique approaches and those imposing conformity do not have the advantage of undergoing the unique responses of others -- an undergoing which is the basis of learning and improving methods of action.(5) All one-sided use of force denies others freedom of action and denies itself the advantage of self-correcting experience. On the part of those who freely submit or are forced to submit to the authority of others, there is contraction of interests and powers, due to limits placed upon their freedom to think and act; at the same time, those in authority accumulate means and powers, but without the check and challenge that makes growth in intelligence possible; thus, some are burdened with many obstacles with few resources, while others are favored with many resources, but too few obstacles. This means that those with very problematic situations might stop and think; but, finding no way out (resources), their thought soon turns to idle fantasy. And those who experience "smooth sailing" (because it all "goes their way") have little reason to reflect or reevaluate their present courses of action. Undemocratic associations are to no one's advantage, in terms of growth in qualitative individuality, although they do seem to give some individuals "quantitative" advantages and opportunities -- opportunities that are largely wasted because of the failure to take advantage of interhuman encounter with a wide range of uniquely important individuals and viewpoints. Without a democratically open and inclusive standpoint, wealth and learning and the like are of no advantage to the "advantaged." Accumulation of externals does not guarantee enlargement of spirit. At the same time, the enlargement of spirit (freedom and equality) depends upon appropriate quantitative opportunities. The tragedy of an oligarchy of wealth (and learning) is that opportunities are concentrated in the hands of those who waste them and out of reach of those who could well use them to elicit and fulfill their capacities.

4. Fraternity means cooperation. Association is a fact; individuals are already "along with," together with one another. "Getting along" is a mutually reinforcing mode of being together. It is as of yet a "possibility," not an actuality. It is an ideal, something to be worked for, the solution to a uniquely problematic situation. There are obstacles to working together; attitudes are exclusive rather than inclusive; and opportunities are unfairly distributed. People must work together in solving the problem of obstacles in the way of working together; in this process, means and end become one. Trying to work out differences that block cooperation is itself a cooperative act, an instance of working together that suggests to the imagination the possibility or the ideal of working together -- fraternity. It is itself a part of a process of combining yet fulfilling distinct interests. Finally, working things out implies that the situation does not call for merely a reiteration of moral positions and preconceived norms and values. The situation calls for flexible and adaptive intelligence and action. It is a pragmatic situation, where local conditions must be examined anew, as if for the first time, so as to determine where these conditions are headed and where they ought to head. What is called for is a projection of fresh aims and strategies based upon the facts. What is best for individuals taken together must be determined in the light of possibilities projected and evaluated on the basis of existing actualities, open-minded and imaginative viewing of the possible redirection of energies and conditions, whose present movements seem to be at odds with one another. In addition, this effort must be a combined effort; it must come from the people involved. Finally, it must be undertaken with democratic respect for individuals and faith in their distinctive possibilities.

5. Just as equality means individuality, the development of unique and distinctive quality, so it may be said that fraternity means relation in its fullest sense, relation that leads to more relation, relation that expands and grows (opens possibilities for more extensive and sympathetic contacts). Fraternity means continuity or connectedness "without limit." It is extending one's reach to include people and ideas. The exclusive is the limited, the bounded; excluding means establishing (or maintaining) classes and setting up barriers. Crossing and overcoming barriers(6) means working together; it means enlisting energies which are not confined or at cross-purposes, but which are allowed to link with or work alongside other energies. The ideal of fraternity is the possibility of working together to achieve distinctive individuality. It is the possibility of maximizing the power of association to enhance the quality of individual existence.

6. The point is to develop that kind of association which promotes individuality and that kind of individuality which promotes cooperation or willingness to work with others. In that way, both sides of human nature can be developed so as to be mutually reinforcing. This task of developing human nature belongs to education. On the one hand, it is the task of education to provide the conditions for creating cooperative individuals. On the other hand, education must also attend to the development of distinctive individuals who think for themselves. One must learn to think for oneself, but include in one's thoughts and imaginative projections the needs and the interests of others. In that way, continuity between internal free deliberation and external cooperative action is assured.

7. The problem of democracy is the problem of developing quality of individuality and quality of cooperative association so as to be mutually complementary. Only democratic -- that is, fraternal -- modes of association -- allow for maximum release of individual potential. Other ways of being together tend toward regimentation or to power plays of competing forces attempting to dominate one another.(7) In the latter case, the apparent "equality" and "freedom" of a few is bought at the expense of the genuine equality and freedom of all. Decline in fraternity necessarily leads to decline in equality and freedom (liberty). As fraternity, the ideal of democracy is opposed to the use of force to ensure compliance. Force refers to one-sided action, rather than "inter-action." Once again, we see that democratic cooperation is consistent with a view of nature wherein new individuals arise from mutually interacting and mutually modifying energies or forces. Unified and distinctive natural forms evolve from interaction of energies; they are not stamped from above or forced upon inert material, as blocks of wood are passively shaped in accordance with pre-existing diagrams.(8) Force applied vertically from superior to inferior does not elicit one's best development. Unity forced upon individuals from above is "artificial"; it deadens the lively stirring of energies of thought and desire which alone makes possible the emergence of distinctive individuality. Thus, one could almost say that authoritarian methods go against nature; democracy, like fruitful scientific inquiry, sees things in terms of transactions or interactions. In other words, the unity of social harmony must be approached from a democratic and horizontal, rather than an autocratic and vertical, point of view. The ideal of democracy is the idea of social harmony based upon freely initiated and voluntary cooperation.

8. The ideal of democracy is the ideal of the cooperation (fraternity and fellowship) of distinctive individuals. But democracy (or community, which Dewey identifies with democracy) implies more than merely acting together or working together. People working together have something in common; their lines of conduct are laced together, their energies are linked and coordinated. They work alongside one another. That means that their efforts point in the same direction, to the same end, a common end. Their operations ("co-operations") head along the same path toward the same possible outcome. But working side by side for a common end or result, typical of many forms of "autocratic" association or organization,(9) does not, by itself, constitute a community. Individuals may contribute to the same end, without awareness (consciousness) of this end or the place (within an imaginative whole) of their contribution. Many human relations follow the model of the machine. Assembly line workers may not know the whole make-up or use of the final product, may not even care, but together may constitute a relatively well synchronized (physical) whole or "mechanical unity."(10) Their own end-in-view -- perhaps "getting pay" -- is disconnected from the process and the means with which they are only externally engaged. Their "heads and hearts" are not in it.(11) While no personal imaginative vision of the whole gives continuity to their physical acts, their labor nevertheless fits into an imaginative whole projected by someone else.(12) What distinguishes mere mechanical association from community is not only "having" an end in common, but perceiving and communicating that common end, as well as participating in the framing and realizing of that common end. Democratic association requires participation in both planning and taking action. Just as the genuine and intelligent working together (personal unity or integrity) of desires, habits, and thoughts within an individual requires attention to a purpose (desirable outcome), so the genuine working together of distinctive individuals (social harmony) requires "shared" projection and enactment of common purposes (desirable consequences of interest to everyone). Community requires awareness or consciousness of common ends and common interests (personal stakes) in those ends. Just as the consequences of one's own actions come home to him (their effects are undergone) and are kept in mind as things to strive for or to avoid, so the consequences of individuals acting together are perceived by those affected and are regarded as things to promote or shun. Consequences are seen to be connected to a number of persons together; in other words, these consequences have numerous points of contact with individuals. "Common goods" are desirable consequences or fulfillments, shared and esteemed and participated in by a number of individuals together. They touch upon many individual "worlds," affecting them in numerous different ways. Not only may they be viewed as the result of a joint effort; they may also be seen as having a joint effect.(13) But even more is involved. One's own actions and purposes, as well as the conditions one finds oneself in, are seen as connected to those of others. Projecting or initiating or undergoing the same consequences brings people together; what touches them brings them "in touch." Perceiving that they are related to the same (common) conditions, they perceive that they are related to one another. For example, people "stuck together," in the "same boat together," perceive that they share (have in common) the same problematic situation, which by virtue of this perception becomes a "social situation." Possible outcomes for others are projected as vitally connected to possible outcomes for themselves. Conditions and consequences are perceived to be of concern to everyone involved. The range of this concern and the extent of the common situation(14) are enlarged with the expanding of sympathetic imagination. As was pointed out in Chapter Three, dramatic rehearsal of possible courses of action in the imagination requires the appreciation and inclusion of the standpoints of others, with the impartiality of the social standpoint of the "objective observer," which judges on the basis of the common (inclusive) rather than the private (isolated) good.

9. In trying to figure a way out of the common social problematic situation, individuals include others, both imaginatively (appreciating their standpoint) and overtly (consulting them), in the process of deliberation.(15) They do this with the common intent of changing the conditions they are faced with so as to resolve their common situation. Awareness that their end is the same, that each is focused upon the same overall favorable outcome or inclusive end (though touching upon different people differently), brings together or unifies individuals just as an inclusive end or ideal unifies interests and desires within a person.(16) The most inclusive ideals unify not only individuals taken individually, but also individuals taken together. Since they all have a stake in the outcome, they have a common or shared interest. This means that, in a community, individuals adjust their purposes and actions in the light of ideals held in common. Cooperation rather than conflict of distinctive ends within the imaginative framework of an inclusive social end or ideal (wrought and shared by socially conscious individuals)(17) maximizes the empowerment (freedom) of individuals, their ability to fulfill their distinct capacities. We are all in this together. It makes sense for individuals to think in terms of their connections with others, and the way conditions affect others as well as themselves. Practical wisdom or "sense of direction" includes sense of social direction. Consciousness means social consciousness. Flexibility in planning and adaptability in overt action (to a common good) is realistic and wise, because improvement of individuals is inextricably bound up with the conditions and quality of their associations. Improving conditions for others leads to improved opportunities overall.(18)

10. Democracy or community requires shared values. Values (valued objects or goods) become "prized in common" by means of communication. In this sense, communication is the basis of community. Through communication, people find things in common. They discover what they already have in common. Communication requires the pre-existence of some common ground in shared experience and shared language; this common ground is revealed in the act of communication. Potentially, people have much in common: they share the same natural resources; they inhabit the earth together. They are faced with many of the same social problems. They love and revere many of the same things. What is potentially (implicitly) common becomes actually (explicitly) common in communication. Communication reveals the common.(19) People reach an appreciation of one another's standpoints, as well as points of contact (common ground) between these standpoints. Moreover, by communicating, people create a new common: They establish new common ground, achieve a common understanding, come to an agreement, if only the agreement that they disagree. They adjust their attitudes so as to create new points of contact. This establishment of new agreement takes place in discussion and debate, which is the public and social equivalent or counterpart of "private" deliberation. As desires and habits are given free play in imagination and are finally resolved in the "consensus" of choice, so the attitudes and ideas of diverse individuals are publicly debated and adjusted to one another so as to arrive at a consensus of social aims and ideals. Essential to this cooperative search is sympathy, imagination of the standpoint of the other, based upon facts observed and revealed in the words and deeds of that other. Knowing what the other means is the underlying condition of effective communication. Arriving at a common understanding requires establishing an appreciation of at least two centers of understanding. This is an ongoing process. Sympathy is both presupposed and improved in the give and take of conversation. Both hearer and speaker are compelled to reach over barriers and to expand the range of their imaginative thought. The meaning-horizon of the hearer is enlarged and transformed by new possibilities revealed in the words of the other; the meaning-horizon of the speaker is enlarged and transformed in the attempt to speak in ways that the other will understand. Thus, the horizons of both speaker and hearer are extended so as to include their mutual standpoints and unique approaches. This inclusion changes each perspective or angle of vision. Friendship is but a deepening of the condition of sympathy which is essential for every fruitful communication. An attitude of friendliness or sympathy (knowing where the other is coming from) underlines every instance of genuine democratic discussion and debate.

11. According to Dewey, thought or "inner debate," which trades heavily in communicated meanings or words, is derived from amicable public discussion, the give and take of sympathetic communication. Dialectic (open-minded thought) is rooted in dialogue (open-minded discussion).(20) Democracy implies faith in persuasion and discussion, rather than force and intimidation, to resolve differences. It maintains that common understanding or agreement as to aims and ideals can and ought to arise from the give and take of individuals freely communicating with one another. As it places responsibility for intelligent choice upon freely deliberating individuals, so it places responsibility for social planning upon individuals working together, rather than upon an external authority.

12. Reaching common understanding is as important to human existence as is the achievement of distinctive individuality. The search for the common(21) is a search for continuity in experience. It is a search for what binds together rather than separates individuals and their interests. Individuality makes no sense apart from this continuity, a sense of connection within the whole, a sense of one's standing with others. Fraternity, the willingness to cooperate, is the search for unity in social interests and ideals; it is the willingness to adjust one's own aims and interests so as to stand with others on common ground rather than to stand against others in self-defeating isolation. This "like-mindedness" of common understanding makes social harmony (community) possible. Reaching agreement in social deliberation of social ends and means brings individuals together; their efforts are lined up in parallel; they face the same possible future. They face the same things together, look to the same ideal together, though from distinct yet connected centers. To the extent that they achieve an impartial and inclusive social standpoint (sympathetic imagination), a socially-minded individual angle of vision, they have a common (shared) outlook. They are focused on the same things, and they look forward to the same possibilities. This common understanding (shared understanding or understanding together) or "common mind" should not be confused with uniformity or conformity. These terms point to an abdication of distinctive individuality, rather than the voluntary adjustment and refinement of distinctive individuality in the light of an imaginative social whole or ideal. Working together in conversation establishes common ground at the same time as it clarifies the irreplaceable and unique standing of individuals on that common ground. The personal and the shared represent two inseparable aspects of every experience. The common does not supplant or submerge, but complements and interacts with the individuality of individuals. On the other hand, only distinctive individuals can truly be said to have anything in common. It is the tension between the tendency to differentiation and the tendency to reach common ground that constitutes the nagging problem as well as the incomparable fulfillment of interhuman communication. Communication indicates a victory of open and inclusive individuality over closed and isolated "individuality." This amounts to the achievement of an enlarged and inclusive (social) angle of vision.

13. Communication both draws from and extends a common meaning-horizon (culture). Aims and ideals, like other possibilities, are worked out of lived experience. Common aims and ideals, worked out in action and speech together (shared experience and dialogue), add to the fund of meanings and possibilities that form the context or the background of all consciousness and imagination. Related to a common meaning-horizon (including but not restricted to language), individuals are able to use this common fund or "mind" to light up or suggest even more possibilities or "ideas." These ideas in turn expand and modify the meaning-horizon which made them possible. The modification of the subject-matter of collective meanings or culture is continually altered by new transformations of meanings and facts in imaginative insight. This in turn calls for new mediation or adjustment in communication, new attempts to find new common ground. In fact, the transforming sparks of individual insights occur openly in the give and take of conversation. As novelty and fresh angles of vision challenge old habits of believing and acting, so the unexpected in conversation calls for continual adjustment of the overall meaning-horizon heretofore taken for granted and held in common.

14. With communication, previously unshared experience becomes available to others; they can participate in it, at least as a possibility, by virtue of this communication. Their imaginative projection of possibilities then draws not only from their own personal experience, but also from the experience of others. The experience of friendship or of partial democracy can be lifted from its immediate context and shared with others not participating in the original experience.(22) Things achieved by some can become things (possibilities) worth striving for by others.(23) Communication means participation or increased share in a common context of possibilities (culture or meaning-horizon). This participation in an ever-widening context of possibilities (meaning-horizon) afforded by communication empowers individual minds to think even more soundly and creatively; it makes available more and more common content and material to reflect upon, more "grist for the mill." Thus, communication enlarges an overall fund of possible experience, an "account" of meanings that everyone communicating can use as background for new insights and imaginative conceptions. Meanings derived from the experience of some add to the common fund of meaning (possibilities) available (common) to all. In this way, communication multiplies indefinitely the horizon of thought possibilities. While individual thought strives to include relations and connections in an ever-expanding range, "public thought" or communication, drawing from diverse standpoints and experiences, expands possibilities even more rapidly, deeply, and widely.

15. Human beings are interdependent. Community or democratic association means working together in the light of shared meanings. The transition from mere association to community requires the transformation of physical energies (brute facts) into shared meanings (possibilities). Moral interdependence requires sympathetic grasp (thinking) of numerous connections (relations and meanings).(24) Conversion of bare events to meanings means transformation of the particular or parochial into the general (generous) and the universal (inclusive). Insofar as they are converted into meanings, events or histories become transportable and transferable methods for interpreting or manipulating existing facts and energies. Meanings are descriptions of the ways energies can be used, how they can be redirected. Meanings do this by virtue of their "generality." The generality of meanings (detachment from particular experiences) allows them to be inclusive and generous, at the same time as they are abstract and "indefinite." Meanings bind together individuals and the objects of their experience. They indicate a relation between individuals and what they experience, and they establish relation between or among individuals. Their very "generality" is an advantage, because it allows for inclusion of a wide range of experiences which, appreciated for what they are, are existentially singular and unrepeatable. Because they are a medium of possible experience, of possibilities, they "overcome"(25) differences in actual experience, differences that tend to separate and differentiate, rather than unite individuals. Meanings allow for the bypassing of the unique and idiosyncratic without ruling it out. They represent compromise, reconciliation, and consolidation of otherwise opaque (unique) experiences. Possible experience (culture) provides a potential common ground for individuals factually unique and distinct.

16. Basic to communication is a "common understanding" or "likemindedness," a common way of interpreting the world. What binds a society or community together is its culture, its meaning-horizon; its fund of accumulated possibilities. Another word for this meaning-horizon or culture is "tradition" (which includes language). It is important for education to transmit this tradition; for without it, the interpretation of present facts is impossible. The meanings that enter into experience of new events and which undergo transformation in imaginative thought are, for the most part, culturally funded and shared meanings.

17. The locus of shared meaning is primarily works of art and the spoken word (language). Symbols are existences that can be shared and which make possible the sharing of meanings. Ideas (possibilities) become common (shared) when they are put into words and works of art. Like images, words (and works of art) have factual and individual existence even as they intimate possible and absent existence. Actual and possible existence, fact and ideal, come together in words (and other symbols). Just as an image can make the absent present to an individual mind, so words can make what is absent present to individuals participating in the give and take of free communication of ideas. That is why freedom of speech is essential for democracy; the establishment of common ideals, particularly the ideal of democracy (as liberty, equality, and fraternity), cannot occur without free transactions in ideas or possibilities made possible by the "coins and currency" of spoken words (and artistic symbols). What is "not yet" or absent (possibility or ideal) for many together is made "present" or suggested in communication. Thus, human culture -- the matrix of socially shared experience and funded meanings -- is the precondition for working together to frame the idea or the ideal of democracy. Against this meaning horizon, new experiences and conditions can strike like flint to produce new imaginative conceptions of democracy. In fact, the ideal of democracy is inseparable from the idea of free communication, the very idea of expanding in infinite variety and cooperative unity distinctions and connections within a common meaning-horizon. Democracy in communication means search for unity (consensus or common ground) with respect for diversity. In democratic communication, both individuality and community are enhanced. Democracy means expanding and multiplying possibilities, thereby "stretching" the meaning-horizon -- in a democratically cooperative and sympathetic atmosphere where clash and encounter of facts with ideas and ideas with one another (the give and take of conversation) are both encouraged and provided for.(26)


1. Those who believe that association necessarily means loss of individuality might be asked whether, in combining to make water, hydrogen and oxygen become the same. Unity is not homogeneity.

2. Actually, there can be conflict among different angles of vision within a person. Unity is something achieved, not given in advance.

3. What is essential in democratic life is that each person's doing and undergoing, contributing and receiving, acting and being acted upon, should be roughly equivalent. In other words, a citizen's unique contribution should balance his unique benefit.

4. Dewey's listing of basic human relationships is strikingly similar to that of Confucianism.

5. We learn by undergoing the consequences of our actions and adjusting our aims and conduct in terms of this experience.

6. Both free speech and free movement (mobility) are required in a democracy.

7. Competition is a good thing, only to the extent that it takes place in a context which is overall fraternal or cooperative -- i.e., friendly competition. An atmosphere of ruthless competition (such as in capitalism at its worst), where some are winners and others are losers, is not an appropriate setting for the development of democratic individuals -- individuals sympathetic to one another's interests, who are concerned to develop their own capacities in ways that release and do not inhibit the capacities of others.

8. The true craftsman knows that his work requires cooperation with the unique potential of the block of wood or marble that is given. He cannot cut without respect for its unique characteristics (grain, etc.). The situation is even more complicated with human existences, who have even more unique capacities and do not do well when forced into preconceived molds. That forcing things is self-defeating is emphasized throughout Chinese philosophy (both Confucianism and Taoism). It recurs again and again in Dewey's thought in his call for persuasion rather than coercion in human relations.

9. Many of the problems of modern life come down to working collectively in impersonal organizations, which tend to increase isolation, detachment, and dislocation, while preserving the illusion of "working together."

10. See Chapter Five.

11. See Chapter Six.

12. Perhaps this is the "imaginative whole" of their employer. One thinks of Hegel's "cunning of reason," whereby the seeking of private gain unwittingly contributes to the social whole. One could also point to certain capitalistic theories, which trust that laissez-faire self-interest will lead to common weal.

13. Individuals or groups initiating these consequences may be different from individuals or groups affected by them.

14. Recall the Stoics, who believed that fellowship crosses city and national borders.

15. Consultation, conference, and discussion are but the social counterpart of personal deliberation.

16. The common end of defeating an enemy brings people together, but in external and not in deep-seated ways. Defeating the sharks will not keep the boat from sinking.

17. Working at "cross-purposes" doesn't work, just as contrary physical forces tend to cancel each other out.

18. Sometimes the improvement may come in a form that looks like its opposite, the encountering of new obstacles and suffering, both of which are essential for growth. For Dewey, growth in intelligence through experience always takes precedence over possessing or accumulating external or "quantitative" resources.

19. People find out that the same things matter to them through the give and take of conversation.

20. Democratic discussion with oneself (dialectic or deliberation) and democratic discussion with others (dialogue) are mutually reinforcing activities.

21. For Dewey, the "common" means the shared.

22. Thus, poetry, art, and other forms of communication make individual experience universal (common).

23. A father speaks with his son. The words they share are deeds (facts) translated into dreams (possibilities). Communication means sharing in the same meaning-horizon or breadth of possibilities.

24. To a great extent, the enlightenment of individuals to discover and reconstruct meanings is the task of communication or education.

25. The common is not superior to the distinctively individual, anymore than relations are superior to qualities. The common is the mutually transforming link between distinctive individuals.

26. It is not enough to remove obstacles to communication; the conditions that empower it, primarily those afforded in education, must be supplied. "Freedom of speech" is an empty phrase, unless the power to think and speak intelligently has been cultivated.

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Copyright © 1992 -1999 Gordon L. Ziniewicz
This page last updated 10/14/12

Please note: These philosophical commentaries, though still in process, are the intellectual property of Gordon L. Ziniewicz. They may be downloaded and freely distributed in electronic form only, provided no alterations are made to the original text. One print copy may be made for personal use, but further reproduction and distribution of printed copies are prohibited without the permission of the author.