A philosophical consideration
There can be no world loyalty without local loyalty. "Creative localization" is where the rubber hits the road for those of us nourished be a process outlook on life. And there can be no local loyalty without local manufacturing, jobs, healthy families, environmental justice, quality education, quality health care, participatory governance, and beauty.
Beauty is not mere prettiness; it is the sensory presence of space, sound, and design that spurs the imagination, brings comfort, facilitates fellow feeling, and facilitates satisfying experience.
But beauty of this kind does something more. It fosters strength of beauty (a process phrase) in the human heart and mind, as a person enjoys and negotiates the vicissitudes of life in community with other people and the natural world. This strength is inherently satisfying. "Its really about wholeness," says solar artist Peter Erskine in the video below.
Truth be told, all living beings seek satisfaction, some kind of wholeness, not humans alone. A subjective aim at satisfaction, moment by moment, is what life is about for all sentient beings.
Satisfaction or wholeness includes the self-enjoyment of being one among many. A satisfying life is not necessarily a selfish life. Love and kindness are forms of satisfaction, as are justice and wisdom, wonder and curiosity.
In his book Process and Reality Satisfaction has two qualities that are at best combined: harmony and intensity. The enjoyment of harmony in felt relations with others, at home and in the workplace, while alone and with others, and intensity amid the harmony. Whitehead proposes that, at every moment of a person's life, a person is seeking harmony and intensity in relationship to other people and the more-than-human world. The ideal is harmonious intensity.
Art has an essential role to play. Back to the beginning. Just as there can be no world loyalty without local loyalty, there can be no local loyalty without art. Art is one way that, in a city such as Pomona, California., people can enjoy life and choose life as a guiding principle. This choice is a city's best hope and the world's best hope.
- Jay McDaniel
And a word of hope
Indeed, if there is any truly holistic example of productive activity in the world, it is the solar panel factory of CHERP in Pomona. It is a nonprofit business reducing the ecological cost of energy as well as its economic cost. It brings well-paying factory jobs into the local community. The economic savings go to economically disadvantaged people who are likely to spend in the local economy. Quite amazing.
But now it turns out that the architect of all this, Devon Hartman, thinks that the aesthetic quality of the interior of the factory is also important. He has consulted excellent artists and is adopting their best ideas. This factory will be a beautiful place to work or just to visit. As we dream of a new civilization based on local self-sufficient communities in which all participants can have joyful and participatory lives, we will soon have a model that shows this is not simply fantasy. We know now that it can happen, because it will soon be operative in Pomona, California.
Modern civilization has served wealth and has vastly increased the goods and services available to people all over the world. It has marginalized art, and it has not valued the possible beauty of human lives. It has now become self-destructive in the most literal sense. We have dreamed of a new civilization that contributes to ecological sustainability, human community, and beautiful lives. Now we know that such an ecological civilization can be built around beautiful and efficient factories that serve their workers and their communities.
- John B. Cobb, Jr.