Saturday, December 7, 2013

Social Construction: Orienting Principles

We live in worlds of meaning. We understand and value the world and ourselves in ways that emerge from our personal history and shared culture.

Worlds of meaning are intimately related to action. We act largely in terms of what we interpret to be real, rational, satisfying, and good. Without meaning there would be little worth doing.

Worlds of meaning are constructed within relationships. What we take to be real and rational is given birth in relationships. Without relationship there would be little of meaning.

New worlds of meaning are possible. We are not possessed or determined by the past. We may abandon or dissolve dysfunctional ways of life, and together create alternatives.

To sustain what is valuable, or to create new futures, requires participation in relationships. If we damage or destroy relations, we lose the capacity to sustain a way of life, and to create new futures.

When worlds of meaning intersect, creative outcomes may occur. New forms of relating, new realities, and new possibilities may all emerge.

When worlds of meaning conflict, they may lead to alienation and aggression, thus undermining relations and their creative potential.

Through creative care for relationships, the destructive potentials of conflict may be reduced, or transformed.

The preceding understandings do not constitute beliefs. They are neither true nor false. They are ways of approaching life that, for many, hold great promise.

Thoughts from Kenneth J. Gergen