Some 250 years ago Benjamin Franklin wrote in his Autobiography, “There seems to me at present to be great occasion for raising a United Party for Virtue, by forming the virtuous and good men of all nations into a regular body.”
Citizenship operates at its very best as a spiral of growth in personal character continuously pulling us through life. If we all captured that gift – and habit -, imagine the collective impact on the country? It’s a wonderful proposition on which to design new excellence in citizenship for America.
The “spiral” of the individual citizen could well yield the “synergy” we want for the nation. Each of us will always own what belongs to our character. It can never be taken from us. And we will always possess it, but nothing more. Synergy, however – or the creation of a sum greater than a total of the parts – could prosper the nation as a whole, at a vastly magnified level.
Just as the spiral of character reaches out, grows from within, taps into tomorrow, and first fans and then disciplines the course of change, synergy is a universal constructive principle. Its nature is always positive, always additive, and always emergent. In fact, the two work in tandem. Like honeybee colonies, though, where the group outperforms even its top individual members, synergy depends on how the members themselves are connected.
To combine the best in citizen character and its resulting synergy for America, The Public Square believes our leaders and citizens must have a common citizen standard – of the kind the United States has envisioned from the start. We think such a synchronous spirit could move citizenship and the larger synergistic state marvelously forward. It’s not unlike the “principle of resonance” showing two tuning forks ascertaining the same pitch when only one is tapped and the other simply “hears” the sound.
Besides, something deeper is involved with synergy. Analysis cannot always discover or produce the secret of the whole, but there is a progressive outcome with synergy. It lives beyond the net of our words and actions and thoughts, because it forges the new in life. Its dynamic and evolving character, where the “whole is in the parts, and the parts are in the whole,” let actions transform themselves. The whole, in other words, integrates into its own sphere of activity.
Because we already know the power of synergy, we can create the America we want for the future. Music, for example, puts parts together to create songs with dramatic effect. Business mergers combine two enterprises into one to find new benefits in cash flow, cost control, debt, and tax structure. Average citizens “kill two birds with one stone” all the time – starting every morning with two rather than one making up a bed.
Out of synergy, comes cohesion. Cohesion creates far more interactions in society, more speed in running with common goals, and greater moral strength in upending internal or outside threats that afflict the spirit of a nation. Unanimity, unlike cohesion, is not a goal for society. Agreement cannot trump a respect for difference in America. But cohesion builds great satisfaction.
Much as a tapestry is always greater than the component threads, many things happen in a country linking spiraling citizen thought to public synergistic action. To start: how much would the improved daily thinking of our citizenry revolutionize the national morale? Or, what if we could absorb immigrants flawlessly because a standard would suddenly assimilate them – making a wall far less necessary? What if schools would teach to issues of the citizen heart once more, in addition to those of the academic storehouse?
What if the trust of the proverbial handshake helped sanction the integrity of the business contract again? With less croweded dockets could our court system, now massively clogged, better sort critical legal distinctions for the good of our democracy? Finally will America, as a nation centered on life more than death, have finally have found the eternal voice to defend itself against any domestic or foreign foe – thus means to feel forever at home with itself?
The spiral of belief and the synergy of hope magically drive straight to the base of our American promise in both governmental genius and citizen greatness. They are a remarkable combination. In common pursuit, they could forever fortify the American Dream. A country’s leadership, guided by virtue as Franklin hoped, and the citizen body, propelled through character progression, can build an enduring civilization. There may be other visions for the future, but The Public Square is hard-pressed to know one destined to do as much good.