Within each of us is the potential to become more of what we potentially are and to realize the greatness of being human. But as Joseph Campbell said so succinctly, we must first Be in order for us to Become. We are each human beings who must strive to develop our humanity. In this sense we each are a work of art in the making; and it is we who are the artist of our making.
The society with which we live plays a very important role in our development, for it either enables or encumbers. That is to say, society’s values-in-practice guide us in determining what being a productive person means.
Our industrialized society places tremendous importance and value on the material aspects of life. So much so that the non-material spiritual essence of life is glossed over and ignored. It is more important to contribute to economic growth than to contribute to human development. Effectually we’ve created a society wherein meaning has been supplanted by material ends. Material results are the thing!
Consequently because we order life by the things we value, the process of living has become a competition for material acquisitions. Moreover, given that winning in a competitive market society is auto-correlated—winners tend to continue being winners or as it is said it takes money to make money—it is not surprising to see there are few truly swimming in wealth and far too many struggling to stay afloat.
We are ordering life in ways that impinges on us Being and Becoming, ways that keeps us from becoming humanly productive. To put it in terms of results, we are missing the mark because we’re aiming at the wrong thing—looking for love in all the wrong places!
To reform our societal systems (e.g. economic, educational, governmental, etc.) we must critically think about the aim of each, questioning whether it is congruent with our I-We nature. We must ensure that that which we are aiming for—our organizing vision—is congruent with the essence of life and not the converse, as we have been doing. The tail should no longer wag the dog if we truly want to realize human progress, if we each want to be humanly productive.