Othering and Belonging is the problem of the 21st century. In this talk, the presenter will describe how the changes in the world are creating deep stress and anxiety. This process is likely to increase for the foreseeable future. This stress is both biological and ontological. The way we respond is social. The underlying issue is who are we and what is our relationship to the Other. One response is the Other is a threat to be feared and contained. The other response is the Other is access to a larger we and to a deep aspect of ourselves. This issue defines politics and nations today. At another level, these issues are deeply spiritual and pose questions about the nature of the self and the relationship to others. The anxiety that is built into the claim for a separate and permanent self already has an underlying anxiety that calls for both separation and power over all that is considered separate. But this approach can never satisfy. Always calling for the need for greater and greater domination and empty fulfillment. There is a need for a spiritual ground that is about deep belonging within and between others, animals, and the earth that helps us live with the unknown, diversity, and death. Such a spiritual practice must be reflected in our stories, practices, and structures.
john a. powell, JD
University of California, Berkeley
john a. powell is Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was previously the … MORE