Common Fire: Lives of Commitment in a Complex World

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How can all of us encourage commitment to society as a whole, both in the next generation and in ourselves? This landmark book answers these questions by looking at more than one hundred people in many walks of life who live and work on behalf of the common good. The voices of these diverse individuals, and the authors' careful analysis, show that family and community relationships, education, the workplace, the arts, religion, and media all matter; they can all help - or hinder - the formation of a life of ...
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Overview

How can all of us encourage commitment to society as a whole, both in the next generation and in ourselves? This landmark book answers these questions by looking at more than one hundred people in many walks of life who live and work on behalf of the common good. The voices of these diverse individuals, and the authors' careful analysis, show that family and community relationships, education, the workplace, the arts, religion, and media all matter; they can all help - or hinder - the formation of a life of commitment.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
People who commit themselves to working for social betterment, institutional reform, environmental protection or ethical business practices are the focus of this inspirational study. The authors conducted interviews over several years, tracking more than 100 individuals, among them a coordinator of relief efforts in Rwanda, a director of a regional health-planning agency for a low-income community, an educator who runs workshops on the global future, an environmental engineer devoted to cleaning up hazardous dumps using waste-eating microorganisms, and the founder of an independent news agency. Key personality factors in the interviewees, we are told, were empathic bonds with others, critical thinking and awareness of complexity, connectedness and the relativity of cultural norms. In a majority of the respondents, religion played a formative role in the forging of commitment. Regrettably, all individuals' names and many identifying characteristics were changed to preserve anonymity. Though this earnest study founders on fuzzy generalizations, it will serve as a potent antidote to inertia and resignation for those seeking a vocational path or calling. Daloz is associate professor of adult education at Lesley College in Massachusetts; the Keens are academic deans at Antioch; Parks is a senior research fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. All rights: Beacon Press. (June)
Booknews
Examines the lives of some 100 people from all walks of life who work on behalf of the common good, looking at what it takes to form and sustain a commitment to community and how to encourage such a commitment in individuals and in society as a whole. Offers practical recommendations on sustaining a life of meaningful purpose for individuals, families, businesses, educators, and religious leaders. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807020043
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 6/1/1996
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Connection and Complexity: The Challenge of the New Commons 1
2 Community: Becoming at Home in the World 20
3 Compassion: Living Within and Beyond Tribe 55
Interlude: For the Hundreds of Years that Come After 81
4 Conviction: Developing Critical Habits of Mind 102
5 Courage: A Responsible Imagination 125
Interlude: Evansburg 154
6 Confession: The Struggle with Fallibility 170
7 Commitment: The Power of the Double Negative 193
Epilogue: Compass Points: The Power of Location and Direction 213
Appendix 243
Notes 248
Index 264
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