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convivialism

According to the diagnosis posed by Ivan Illich about this crisis, which started in 1970, in order to avoid being crushed by the institutional and economical machinery, in order to save our freedom, our dignity, and finally to save humanity, it is necessary to make a radical change. We must forge convivial tools to set up a totally different kind of society :

a convivial society

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Illich gave only general lines to design these convivial tools; we went further in the Convivialist Manifesto which brings four basic ethical and political principles, on which we must organize our societies in line with Illich’s argument: “the only response to this crisis is a full recognition of its depth and an acceptance of inevitable self-limitations” or, said differently, to accept:

A Universal Interdependency

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These principles are not new, they are drawn from doctrines, religions and philosophies in so far as their recommendations make possible, and help to improve, a sustainable life altogether (convivial stems from Latin : cum-vivere, to live with). It leads to a model of an individual behaviour we could term as that of a homo convivialis. These people of that sort would felt happier if :

They work together, caring for each other, and for Nature.

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Read in an extended page, a short presentation... of these four principles proposed by the Manifesto.

You may prefer read an abridged version of the Manifesto and give your support signing the manifesto on the internet site
Further reading : "Towards a convivial civilization "the English translation of a little book I published in French (Vers une civilisation de convivialité, Ed Goater, Rennes, 2014)

Comments and contributions in English are welcome on the following blog : http://convivialism.org/


References:
Illich, I. (1973). Tools for conviviality, Harper & Row, New York.
Varii Auctores. (2014). Convivialist Manifesto – A declaration of interdependence, with an introduction by Adloff, F. translated from [Varii Auctores. 2013, Manifeste convivialiste – Déclaration d’interdépendance, Editions le Bord de l’eau, Paris], by Clarke, M. Center for Global Cooperation Research, Global Dialogues 3, Duisburg.

I have published elsewhere a commented presentation of the principles
"Convivialism: A Choice of Cibilization"

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1-The principle of common destiny
2-The principle of common sociality
3-The principle of individuation: individuals blossom by interdependence
4-The principle of managed conflict or creative interdependence

1-The principle of common destiny

The principle of common destiny acknowledges the inescapable fact of observation that anyone is a member of a single common humanity which is living within a common universe To us, the universe is the observed totality from which everything is part, as we are, as a species and as an individual as well. We cannot escape that, it is our common destiny, we are an ephemeral part of that.
Whatever the initial differentiations, and whatever subsequent differentiations become, because of their personal life-stories and different living environments, all human beings share the necessary humility to recognise that life has been given to them and that they share the destiny of a universe. Consequently, “beyond differences in skin-colour, nationality, language, culture, religion and wealth, gender and sexual orientation, there is only one humanity, and that humanity must be respected in the person of each of its members” [Varii Auctores, 2014, p. 30].

2-The principle of common sociality

“Human beings are social beings and their greatest wealth lies in their social relationships” [Varii Auctores, 2014, p.31].
Received life cannot flourish in individual solitude. Mankind’s offspring cannot survive from birth. It cannot move or feed itself independently and it takes several years to acquire the aptitudes necessary for survival. Human beings are beings whose lives can only be led together, in interaction between them and with the natural environment. An individual’s construction begins physically and culturally by training, an education received by the human being. Our life together gives us characteristics unique to our species – above and beyond the planet’s vast diversity – and which make our humanity unique. Today, there is only one single human species.

3-The principle of individuation: individuals blossom by interdependence

“Always bearing in mind these two first principles, a legitimate politics is one that allows each of us to assert our distinctive evolving individuality as fully as possible by developing our capabilities, our potential to be and to act without harming others’ potential to do the same, with a view to achieving equal freedom for all.” [Varii Auctores, 2014, p. 31].
Every human being is welcomed into and educated by a group that is part of a concrete natural environment where she/he gradually creates and constructs her/his own unique individuality by developing her/his power to be and to act [Spinoza, 1677]. The ideal of paying attention to others implies to give recognition to everyone [Honneth, 1992] and to give to everyone the autonomy necessary to the affirmation and evolution of her/his own individual life, which responds to everyone’s universal need.
Autonomy and solitude can only be relative, as is their role in the construction of everybody’s individuality. Interactions with the environment and with others are permanent and essential. This outside influence must not lead to dependency, but combined with relative autonomy it enables us to consider that individuality is formed and is living in a state of interdependency. Interdependency between human beings and with an environment constitutes a fundamental reality that a humanity in search of conviviality has to recognise. Recognising this overall interdependency is the corollary of recognising the gift of life.

4-The principle of managed conflict or creative interdependence

“Given that each of us has the power to express our distinctive individuality, it is natural that human beings should sometimes oppose one another. But it is only legitimate for them to do so as long as this does not jeopardize the framework of common sociality that ensures this rivalry is productive and non-destructive. Good politics is therefore politics that allows human beings to be individual by accepting and managing conflict” [Varii Auctores, 2014, p. 31].
The word “collective” could apply to the informal personalisation of the common sociality of individual human beings living in a group, within an environment, a group which is then forming an “us”. It supposes that a general will can form itself to clearly express the framework accepted and respected by all. This is the Common Law, under which all human beings can interact with the feeling of living altogether, a good, worthy, just, life. The harmony between individuals and the natural environment cannot be established spontaneously. Struggle engages the body and makes it stronger. Ideas collide so that minds may expand and so that discussion and negotiation might take place between conflicting positions. Conviviality has to transform enemies into adversaries so that conflict can take place without massacre, and so that collectives may flourish in order for everyone to live to the full. The common social bond must be preserved. Peace must reign. Enemies must disappear, as well as the desire to kill, or at least the enactment of this desire.

References
Honneth, A. (1992). Kampf um Anerkennung. Zur moralischen Grammatik sozialer Konflikte, Frankfurt/M translated as The Struggle for Recognition-The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts, Polity Press, Cambridge (UK) in 1995.
Illich, I. (1973). Tools for conviviality, Harper & Row, New York.
Spinoza, B. (1677). Ethica.
Varii Auctores. (2014). Convivialist Manifesto – A declaration of interdependence, with an introduction by Adloff, F. translated from [Varii Auctores. 2013, Manifeste convivialiste – Déclaration d’interdépendance, Editions le Bord de l’eau, Paris], by Clarke, M. Center for Global Cooperation Research, Global Dialogues 3, Duisburg.


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