Get a Grip

We may not realize it but the world around us may shape the way individuals think and act regardless of values or morals. Lappe mentions Eric Fromm who states, “all human beings carry within us ‘frames of orientation’ through which we make sense of the world.” (6) These frames of orientation is what causes us to act on our thoughts. I believe this is crucial to society because the way we think can contribute ideas or actions that can heavily influence our shared humanity, whether they are good intentions or not. As humans, we like to believe that we are good people who have good intentions, but not everyone has the same interpretation of what their good intention is. Lappe tries to convey the message that in order to strengthen humanity must truly deepen our thoughts and understanding of how and what it means to be part of a coexisting society.

In this era, our society likes to believe that we run off a democracy but Lappe points out that it reflects more of a “thin democracy.” She presents the idea that humans lack the understanding of the concept of democracy. She states, “democracy derives from the Greek: demos (people) and kratos (rule).” (9) This means that democracy depends on the distribution of power but Lappe expresses that the power is concentrated between small percent of the wealthy. This creates problems because it can manipulate politics, centralizes power, takes away society’s ability to think critically and on their own, cause good people to do bad things, and creates a materialistic value.

Sharing the same morals and values may help in strengthening our understanding of an effective democracy because it promotes rationality, embracement, and responsibility. She stresses the importance of responsibility as a “mutual accountability” meaning “all sides shouldering responsibility.” (31) By holding everyone accountable, this can help grow common values within a society. I feel that holding everyone accountable for their actions allows people to coexist without feelings of hierarchy. In a learning environment, I feel this is especially important because it takes away a sense of intimidation between students and teachers. Learning can help me participate in a Living Democracy because it broadens my perspectives of how things can work and that our environment will be consistently dynamic.