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Freedom, Democracy, Justice: Isolated Nouns or Interwoven Verbs?

Explores the implications of engaging with values as verbs.

Freedom, Democracy, Justice: Isolated Nouns or Interwoven Verbs?
Conventional indicators
Measuring the readily measurable
Values as nouns -- challenged by polarization?
Values as verbs -- but of a higher order?
Value chains, networks and cycles -- from a business perspective
Essential dynamics of intangible values -- from a psychosocial perspective
Values as systems -- each a nexus of verbs?
Values as emergent dynamics of complex systems
Value dynamics implied by "patterns that connect"
Musical clues to values fundamental to psychosocial system sustainability
Expression of values through aesthetic style of governance
Liberation of integration in governance
Fundamental values and individual cyclic implication
Embodiment of values in interweaving cycles

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There is a key interpretation of the initial process described in the Book of Genesis, honoured by the three Abrahamic religions  -- together so significant, through their pathetic interaction, in exacerbating the crises of the world. For the Christian religion, so influential in defining the "values" of the international community, that interpretation is:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

As what is assumed to be the originating value for human civilization, as currently framed, it might be asked to what extent that "Word" was an extremely subtle conflation of what are now distinguished as the eight parts of speech including noun and verb. Does this constitute an eightfold "syntactical speciation" with cognitive and epistemological implications?

The argument in what follows is that it has been too readily assumed that the higher values of global civilization are "nouns" when there is every possibility that they are primarily -- if not very significantly -- better characterized and comprehended by their dynamic nature as "verbs".

At a time when the Arab world is characterized by uprisings in the name of freedom, democracy and justice, the question is whether achieving them is possible through their conventional framing as nouns. The terms, much promoted in Christendom, may be tokens for a dynamic that is not readily acquired and possessed like any other tangible product. If the values are essentially dynamic rather than static, how are such elusive qualities to be embodied -- if they cannot be effectively "grasped" and "possessed"? Will failure to "grasp" them -- to "get" democracy, freedom and justice -- result in the kinds of frustration so evident in countries which are claimed to have "got" them already?

This concern follows from earlier work within the framework of the Human Values Project and with subsequent exploration of Human Values as Strange Attractors: Coevolution of classes of governance principles (1993). Emphasis was later placed on the psychology of engagement with values (In Quest of Engaging Values: context of the Human Values and Wisdom Project, 2008).

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