If this philosophy is spread the result will be a more just, prosperous and equitable America Unlike the Government’s role that is clearly stated in the Preamble, the role of a citizen isn’t as clear. Even the bill of rights clearly states the rights of a citizen. It has been amended and made inclusive as to what defines a citizen. Every citizen has an opinion on what the role is exactly, which makes it easy to be interpreted freely. It’s tempting to view the concept of citizenship from a Western perspective.
This would lead naturally to such ideas as obeying laws, voting, defending one’s country, and so on. Implicit in this perspective is the sense of an individual, and of “us” and “them”. For many, these are not satisfactory, and leave a lingering sense of something missing. Perhaps it is the implied “should”, “must” or “have to” that causes a ripple of rebellion in the soul against these ideals. Throughout the years it has become evident that the role of a citizen goes beyond that. Those who are simple minded view their role as such.
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People who are deep thinkers tend to see other perspectives, many of which embrace a far more holistic and positive outlook on what it means to be a part of a community or a wider social group. One of them is the African concept of ubuntu. The word ubuntu comes from the southern African Bantu languages. Roughly translated, it means “I am what I am because of who we all are”. Ubuntu is the essence of being human. At the heart of the ubuntu philosophy is the idea that a person cannot be human in isolation. We are all connected, and a part of a greater whole.
Therefore, we all benefit and grow when one person grows, and we are all diminished when one person is oppressed, humiliated or diminished in any way. Spreading the concept of ubuntu is the plan. This philosophy is an ideal one but it is more than possible. Increasing the knowledge of it will help citizens of the US become more in tune with their neighbors, more involved with society, and conscious of their actions on a daily bases. Citizens won’t be ashamed or embarrassed by what they don’t have or haven’t yet achieved and even if they are their fellow citizens won’t make them feel any worse than they already do.
In fact they would embrace them up and push them to acknowledge the thing that they do have and what they have achieved. So what then are the duties as a citizen within this philosophy? Simply, it is their responsibility to be open, generous of spirit, and affirming. Just as importantly, they never need to feel threatened by someone else’s success or happiness, because they belong to the greater whole, and so they are benefiting from everyone else’s happiness. Following rules or obeying laws is a natural consequence of this belief.
The shift is from a negative to a positive point of view. So while the results may in many cases be the same, the motivation, sense of belonging and level of happiness can be dramatically different. In conclusion it is obvious that American society might not embrace this philosophy with open arms because of how “unusual” it may seem and the fact the society is basically every “man” for his self. The philosophy of ubuntu will make so many people uncomfortable because of how open they will have to be with one another.
Since it is so different from any philosophy that is embraced by American society it may be hard to get someone to listen, accept, and practice it. America can embrace a far more holistic and positive outlook on what it means to be a part of a community or a wider social group. There is hope for this philosophy yet, Americans must learn to love and trust one another. This philosophy is the key to that lost love and trust. Some already practice it without knowledge. They are natural open, generous of spirit, and affirming.
Too bad everyone cannot be like those individuals. Anything is possible and change is the only thing that remains constant, it just takes time. If this philosophy is spread the result will be a more just, prosperous and equitable America.
- Ellis-Christensen, Tricia, and O. Wallace. "What Does It Mean to Be a US Citizen? " WiseGeek. Conjecture, 05 Oct. 2011. Web. 09 Mar. 2013. <http://www. wisegeek. com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-us-citizen. htm>.
- Flippin, Jr. , Reverend William E. Ubuntu: Applying African Philosophy in Building Community. " The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost. com, 05 Feb. 2012. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www. huffingtonpost. com/reverend-william-e-flippin-jr/ubuntu-applying-african-p_b_1243904. html>.
- Kelchner, Jen. "Ubuntu: The Philosophy of Interconnectedness-Change Your Life. Find The True You. " Avid Seed. Avid Seed, 08 Aug. 2012. Web. 01 Mar. 2013. <http://www. avidseed. org/2012/08/ubuntu-the-philosophy-interconnectedness/>.
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