For the Common Good

What is the common good? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy say that the common good “refers to those facilities—whether material, cultural or institutional—that the members of a community provide to all members in order to fulfill a relational obligation they all have to care for certain interests that they have in common.” Put more simply, it is whatever is for the benefit or interests of all.

Why does it matter now? Because it affects our entire society. Examples of common goods include an accessible and affordable public health care system, an effective system of public safety and security, peace among the nations of the world, a just legal and political system, an unpolluted natural environment, and a flourishing economic system. Now, as we struggle to envision a post-lockdown world, is the time to address what is needed for the common good. What do we want this new world to look like?

If the global epidemic has taught us anything it is that we all affect each other, in ways large and small. From the smallest, individual decision whether or not to wear a mask, to the growing referendum for universal healthcare, or marching to end police brutality so that all members of the community feel safe, what we as individuals decide impacts our society. The decisions made by our corporations affect the common good as well. Do they promote a responsible social agenda, or contribute to environmental problems? Do they support their workers with a fair living wage and benefit, or do they favor profit over people? Is there a way to have both?

As we simultaneously re-open society and face the prospect of a second wave of Covid 19, we have a chance to rethink what we want from our society, to identify what was working and is worth keeping, and what was lacking. with massive unemployment does it make sense to have health benefits tied to a job? Do corporations that contribute to global warming bear responsibility to shareholders or to the larger society? Does an individual have the right to skip wearing a mask if it endangers others?

 

Image credit: Wikipedia.org


Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I have been meditating for over twenty years now and find it an essential part of my life. Many have written about the substantial physical and emotional benefits, and while I’ve certainly found that to be the case, too, I’ve also noticed that there is a component of releasing “cellular memories” that is rarely addressed. People shy away from phenomena that are not so easily explained, but whether you call it “cellular memories,” “past lives,” or releasing “old patterns,” I have found that there is something extraordinary happening that also brings welcome relief to the body and the spirit.

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The Booming Market for Meat Alternatives

| by Cheryl Shainmark

White Castle and Fat Burger now feature Impossible Burgers, Del Taco has Beyond Meat on the menu, and Burger King is about to roll out a Beyond Meat Whopper. Hard Rock Cafes in Europe carry a veggie burger now, (though you’d have to skip the cheese to make it a vegan meal), and they expect to offer it in their US locations next year. As Phil Shainmark, our columnist for The Unlikely Vegan noted recently, “It’s quite possibly the best time to be a Vegan. There are so many amazing choices and places to go.” Even if you’re not a vegan or a fast food fan, the variety of meat alternatives is great news as many grocery stores and regular restaurants have also added plant based options to meet growing customer demand. According to Market Insider, the $14 billion dollar meat alternative industry is expected to grow to $140 billion over the next decade.

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A Different Kind of Earth Day by Cheryl Shainmark

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Stay at home, shelter in place, practice social distancing. Earth Day this year is Wednesday, April 22, and for the first time in 50 years, there will be no parades, no gatherings to plant trees, no groups picking up litter on the beach

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Shades of Love in the Time of Cholera

| by Cheryl Shainmark

These are strange times we are living in. In the last few weeks since Covid 19 has escalated from dominating the news cycle to directly impacting our lives, I keep hearing that phrase over and over. And while the news has focused on number of deaths, the lack of a cohesive Federal response, school closings, and potential loss of income, nobody seems to be focusing on the effect the Corona virus has had on love and dating.

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The Seeds of Our Dreams

| by Cheryl Shainmark

For the smallest month on the calendar, February looms large in my mind. It is, on the East Coast anyway, the deepest, darkest, bitterest part of winter. The Scandinavian side of me, wise to seasonal depression long before there was a named disorder for it, wants to stay in and drink glogg and distract myself from putting my head in the oven. I count down the days until pitchers and catchers report, so I can imagine them playing on warm green fields in spring training. I plan trips to deserts or beaches or anyplace more equatorial than New York…

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How to Help Australia Right Now

| by Cheryl Shainmark

If you’re like me, your heart has been breaking over the wave of images coming from fire stricken Australia: the burning homes, the loss of life, the destruction of habitat affecting millions of animals, and finally, the disturbing peril of the animals themselves. While the death toll for humans is 25 at this time,  estimates place the loss of animal life at over half a million victims. As reported on PBS, thousands of Australians are in need of assistance as massive wildfires continue to tear across the continent.

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Visions of the Future

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Several years ago I had a vision of the future that transformed my life and helped me to determine what new career path to pursue. Leading into that moment was the fact that, at the age of 40, after years of working in computers, I was back at school. I was an adult returnee in my “senior” year at college and my three most favorite professors had each approached me about entering into their field of expertise: Asian Studies, the School of Journalism, and Psychology. What a wonderful compliment! — each thought that I would excel in their profession and offered me mentoring, contacts and references for further graduate work. I was both flattered and immobilized with indecision

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If Plants Are Consciousness, What Happens When We Eat Them?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Not too long ago The New York Times ran an article, Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious? The new evidence that plants have a type of “conscious,” joins a host of other research indicating that plants are intelligent, understand where they are in space, respond to threats and obstacles, and communicate with each other. We’ve known for years that plants grow faster and lusher when you play the right music or speak nicely to them, but now there is evidence that plants form memories. Does that mean they remember that you were kind to them? And what does it mean now to eat them? What, if any, are the moral or ethical implications?

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Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I just finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It,” by Kamal Ravikant. I have to say that this slim volume completely jumpstarted a whole new spiritual practice for me. I don’t usually rave (in print, at least)… but this is one of the most accessible, transformative books I have ever read — and at 57 pages, you’d have to be in a coma not to get through it. Actually, if you are in a coma I will come and sit by your side and read it to you, because I want “Love Yourself” to be the earworm that gets stuck in your head. You’ll thank me later.

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