The Big Bang of Collective Action: The Civic Body

Apr 20, 2017 · 3 min read

This is part of “The Big Bang of Collective Action”, a nonlinear list essay by me, Jason Wyman, Impact Producer for The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. It captures in its simple complexity the breadth of The Alliance’s Youth Media Collective Action Initiative.

Each “bullet” in the list contains both a visual code and a story. Some stories are metaphor. Some are poetry. Others are summaries. And even one is a worksheet. It is my humble attempt to synthesize the collective and manifest its wisdom in the form that works best for that collective wisdom.

“The Big Bang of Collective Action” is meant to be read in whatever manner moves you. At the end of this post is a CODE, click it and you will be taken back to the Visual Table of Contents.

And please know, “ The Big Bang of Collective Action” is also a tool. It is meant to be used. So please interact with it by clicking links, leaving a comment, sharing it with a friend, sketching an idea, recording a video response, and/ or writing your own post.

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It feels as if the civic body caught the flu, and each organ, muscle, and nerve aches. What’s needed is a bit of rest, a moment of stillness, anything other the constant assault. It is beyond fatigued making all wonder:

Will it just give out?

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But it doesn’t give out. The fatigue is just a symptom. It’s letting us know that underneath the skin, every synapse is firing and every white blood cell fights. The body is on overdrive. And it is the perfect moment to consider:

How do we address this disease? How do we cure our civic ill?

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We begin by deeply acknowledging that the whole body is under assault. It is more than just the symptoms of fever, fatigue, unrest, poverty. It is each of those things, yes. It is also what is unseen and unknown. It is both the antibodies fighting and the disease itself. And both the body and disease must be properly diagnosed.

To diagnose a civic body, we have to listen to its organs, dialogue, muscles, structures, synapses, and tissue. We need to also look at its environment and notice what around it makes it healthy, what causes harm. And we must do this while the disease is flaring for it’s the best time to discover possible remedies and treatment plans.

Each of us is part of that civic body, and each of us has capacity to harm / heal it. To understand our relationship between our singular physical body and the collective civic body we must look both inward and outward simultaneously and recognize how each is a reflection of the other. They are not in contradiction or opposition to the other. They are not even (solely) relationally dynamic.

Rather, they are the one and the all, together.

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Click HERE for “The Big Bang of Collective Action” Table of Contents.

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