Managing the Spiritual Neighborhood

Appendix A ... Logic Outline

  1. Quality of life core factors.
  2. There are three core factors that determine the quality of life in a community:

    i) Safety

    ii) Quietness

    iii) Courtesy

  3. Quality of life factors: material, intellectual.
  4. Other factors affecting the quality of life can be divided into two categories:

    i) Material essentials: food, water, shelter, etc.

    ii) Intellectual requirements: education, the arts, religion and career opportunity.

  5. Exceeding minimums for material & intellectual factors has no effect.
  6. We claim you can determine a minimum for the material factors such that anyone can live comfortably at that level. The same is argued for the intellectual. We further claim that exceeding the minimums does not significantly alter the quality of life.

  7. Camp Springs far exceeds minimums.
  8. In the locale where the research was conducted (Camp Springs and Westchester Estates), it's reasonable to restrict the quality-of-life discussion to the core factors since the community exceeds any minimums you can imagine for the material and intellectual categories.

  9. Environmental considerations and the quality of life: the garden zone.
  10. We divide the environment into three regions:

    i) The wilderness,

    ii) The garden zone

    iii) The interior of our homes.

    Excluding the wilderness because its impact is uniform, and the interior because its impact is negligible, we conclude that the garden zone is the key environmental component in determining neighborhood quality of life. Moreover, with the garden zone as our platform, we can best handle issues related to the other regions.

  11. Reactive approach gives priority to safety.
  12. Safety is customarily assigned the highest priority among the quality-of-life factors, followed by quietness and then courtesy. This represents the reactive approach in administration.

  13. Preventive approach reverses quality-of-life priorities.
  14. There is a distinctly different way to view social issues—crime in particular. We call it the preventive approach. When you adopt prevention, the quality-of-life priorities are reversed. Safety becomes least important and courtesy most important.

    i) Courtesy

    ii) Respect for the Garden Zone

    iii) Safety

    Here we substitute "Respect for the Garden Zone" for quietness, as noise is but one among a range of elements related to maintaining a healthy environment.

  15. Courtesy takes us outside the moral realm.
  16. A sense of courtesy carries us toward the inward limit of moral considerations—that is, of action—and in the direction of amorality—that is, non-action—where one is fully non-judgmental. When courtesy is established, the other quality-of-life factors follow suit.

  17. Prevention requires a new mind-set.
  18. True prevention is more than a rearrangement of priorities. It requires a new mind-set; a reversal of your ordinary perspective. To gain this mind-set you must experience pure awareness.

  19. Pure awareness versus awareness of something.
  20. The experience of awareness (consciousness) on its own, as distinguished from awareness of something (cancer, the environment, etc.), is an irreducible primitive in our thesis. Experiencing pure awareness provides a better handle on the nature of life—individual and social.

  21. Refined awareness leads to greater responsibility.
  22. We claim the following regarding awareness:

    • ⇒Refining one's awareness leads to clearer thinking.
    • ⇒Clearer thoughts bring about greater courtesy.
    • ⇒Greater courtesy brings about responsible action.

    This allows us to place awareness at the top of our quality-of-life hierarchy:

    i) Awareness

    ii) Courtesy

    iii) Respect for the Garden Zone

    iv) Safety

  23. Communities exhibit collective attention deficit.
  24. Claim: Society is suffering from a collective attention deficit that manifests in poor community coherence. Attention is described as "directed thought."

  25. You are responsible for crimes committed by others.
  26. Claim: We are each personally responsible for the commission of crime by other people. This statement is axiomatic to our thesis. It's impossible to prove because the term "responsible" cannot be strictly defined.

  27. Experience of the inner realm is essential.
  28. Claim: Experiencing the inner realm is central to the understanding of everything else, including law, justice, politics and government. It's a spiritual pursuit, but it doesn't necessarily coincide with religious practice.

  29. Four aspects of spiritual growth.
  30. Spiritual growth encompasses four areas of personal development:

    i) Adopting a preventive mind-set

    ii) Refinement of awareness

    iii) istinguishing the inner realm

    iv) Growth of character

  31. Ten point plan for neighborhood action.
  32. Based on our logical development, we identify ten action steps to improve the quality of life.

    i) Establish an intelligent presence in the garden zone.

    • Use the garden zone as a platform for connecting to the natural world and to the home environment.
    • Gardeners assume an educational role.

    ii) Fill the leadership gap between government and neighborhood.

    • Identify garden zone managers.
    • Open up channels of communication.
    • Apply bottom-up pressure on the bureaucracy.

    iii) Promote willing cooperation and voluntary contribution.

    • Offer an alternative to forced compliance.
    • Develop self-sufficiency.

    iv) Develop a truly preventive approach to crime.

    • Practice subjectivity.
    • Focus on solutions.
    • Grow the good.
    • Commit to the community.

    v) Point to refinement of awareness as the key to improving the quality of life.

    • Enliven the timelessness of culture.
    • Experience the infinite through the subjective approach.
    • Understand that human life and all matter arise from thought—a point of singularity.
    • Non-action underlies action; awareness underlies responsibility.

    vi) Develop the Natural Community in the place where people live.

    Three basic community types:

      1. Geographic ... our physical connection to the planet


      1. Distance between households
      2. Closeness to the earth
      3. Permanence

      2. Shared Interest ... participation in shared interest activities


      1. Degree of involvement
      2. Number of people involved
      3. Types of activity

      o Positive, life supporting

      o Neutral

      o Negative, life damaging

      ⇒The effect of an activity differs among individuals and among cultural groups.

      ⇒Certain activities are universally life supporting.

      ⇒How natural is the activity

      ⇒How enduring is the activity

      3. Shared Spirit ... collective consciousness

      Not measurable

      1. The place where interest originates
      2. Key missing element in society
      3. Manifested in planetary responsibility
      4. Strength of shared spirit corresponds to the degree of refinement in individual awareness among community members

      4. Natural Community, a fourth type, arises from:

    (a) Strong geography   -plus-

    (b) Strong shared interest   -plus-

    (c) Strong shared spirit

    vii) Establish simple trust among neighbors. Eliminate anonymity.

    • Courtesy Reduction—every issue becomes a question of courtesy.
    • Trust is the best security.
    • Trust grows when individuals grow in enlightenment.

    viii) Provide a structure through which people can demonstrate grass-roots responsibility.

    • Neighborhood watch.
    • Point to long-term solutions.

    ix) Use courtesy as an on-ramp to the path of spiritual growth.

    • Employ positive reinforcement.
    • Expand the definition of courtesy—refinement of action.
    • Spin (i.e., intention) gives power to action in an inverse relation; less spin produces greater effect.
    • Gimmicks take advantage of subtler levels of spin.

    x) Elevate the status of community service. Create a new profession.

    • Select and install garden zone managers.
    • Appeal to clergy, community leaders, spiritual leaders.
    • Create a farm system to develop youngsters.

    © 2015 Alexander Gabis