From the General to the Particular Part 1

We live in a world where many of our traditional leaders believe the direction of growth and development is from the particular to the general: from small to big, from local to global. It’s all about scale, and the cult of bigness.

Ordinary folk often say of organisations of all kinds including Non-Profit, and Public Sector:

“They know everything in general, and nothing in particular.”

While, many folks working for organisations say of the people and communities they serve:

“They know everything in particular, and nothing in general.”

November16 blog_02

This illustration was part of Graham Ogilvie’s artwork created during Cormac’s session in Aberdeen in October 2014. Our thanks to him and Aberdeen Council for sharing them with us. Read more about this session by clicking on the image or going here:

Some of our objectives in life are generalizable, but not all. Generalities are attractive, since they seem to offer predictability, simplicity, manageability, and scalability.

But here’s the rub, most of our human and ecological challenges are very particular, and local. Hence the need for a U-turn: instead of moving from the particular to the general, we need to move from the general to the particular.

When all of this is applied at macro level, the following rule of thumb becomes self evident: No larger unit (whether social, economic, or political) should perform a function which can be performed by a smaller unit. All that said, subsidiarity must sit alongside solidarity; when they become decoupled, individuals break from communities or inversely the many exclude the few.

Cormac Russell

Back to BlogBack to Latest News
No Comments

Post a Comment