A model of logic in the realm of wonder…Can it be done?

In many regards, I was raised in and engaged in a communal culture and experienced first-hand the abundance created through the sharing of resources, ideas, sufferings, and joys of those around me. Diversity, inclusion, mutual care are all values that from a very early age were instilled in both my understanding of and engagement in the world around me. A Sicilian mother, a father from England, raised in Queens, NY and educated in an international school that celebrated the strength of differences, I often find it difficult to identify or situate myself in the context of clearly defined and delineated social, political, and economic systems. If I had to describe my experience or my perspective of how the world works, a kaleidoscope would paint the perfect picture – a model of logic in the realm of wonder.

In the context of economic life, of how we as individuals become actors/actresses in a market of encounters, I find it even more so important to embrace this logical wonder. Can we as a society use the strength of our diversity to properly distribute resources? Can we move beyond the idea that to give means a subtraction of resources from one to another rather than a multiplication of goods? How do our systems (social, political, economic, and cultural) interact to support or maybe even actively fight against a large-scale re envisioning? What policy, legal structures, funding models, or cultural norms are needed for not only the acceptance of but participation in a new ecology?

These are often questions I reflect upon in working to build a sustainable and equitable model of economic inclusion for women returning from incarceration and reimagining how we as a society define wrong-doing, pursue justice, and reconcile pain. Project Lia is an attempt to shift the narrative that criminal justice institutions use to criminalize women and perpetuate the stigmas of incarceration but also consciously create a business that promotes environmental sustainability and community engagement. Much of this narrative frames itself within shared ownership and cooperative economic models and provides an alternative for individuals to explore and engage in an economy rooted in abundance, dialogue, civic engagement, and innovation. However, how do we use the intersection of community, policy, and resources to not only sustain but scale a triple bottom line effect – a kaleidoscope of social impact, environmental impact, and financial sustainability?

5 thoughts on “A model of logic in the realm of wonder…Can it be done?

  1. Hi Elizabeth, great response! Below is some feedback from my reading:
    I really like the visual of a kaleidoscope, of vibrant intersectionality. There’s this feeling that you don’t fit neatly into social categories, which enables you to see how those artificial categories totally fall apart.. I’d love to explore more examples of this kaleidoscopic vision; what do you see? Even if it’s not fleshed out, how do you envision diversity empowering better distribution? Where else do you see Elizabeth’s of the world, who are positioned to best help us re-envision, locked out by our social structures?
    I am very intrigued by this triangle of returning female citizens, environmental justice, and community engagement. In what ways are these connected, how are you re-envisioning the logic structure? You conjure an image of reconciling the pain done to these women, to our planet, to our community who is hurting and longing for the return of these women, and the return to a relationship with our earth..
    Lastly, you challenge us to think in terms of abundance instead of scarcity. This is a really new idea to me that I want to learn more about. I only really became aware of this concept of abundance after the gov’t suddenly dropped a $2 trillion stimulus package and we were all like, “oh so you DO have money for social programs..” That and apparently every city has plenty of money to spend on police, despite their annual insistence on cutting social programs.. I’d love to hear how you are thinking about abundance in your work; what assets do returning women hold in abundance? What resources does our damaged earth hold in abundance? What does our distrustful society have to offer these constituents? I’m eager to see you turn these on their head.

    Like

  2. Thanks for the contribution! I loved the metaphor of a Kaleidoscope; such a great representation of your perspective.

    I appreciate your point about leaning into diversity. What do you think has prevented principles of diversity and inclusion from taking root in some of the spaces you’ve experienced? Is there an anecdote?

    I applaud your work at Project Lia. What motivates you personally to take on the Project Lia mission?

    You mention “reimagining how we as a society define wrong-doing, pursue justice, and reconcile pain”. What does that look like to you?

    You pose the question: “What policy, legal structures, funding models, or cultural norms are needed for not only the acceptance of but participation in a new ecology?” If you could only pick one, what would it be?

    Like

  3. I too love your image of a kaleidoscope. it is very dynamic, continually shifting. How can we create systems that are as fluid as a kaleidoscope? Maybe a deeper issue is, how might we become comfortable with constant change? That challenges many assumptions of our society like control, efficiency, success, “look good, feel good, be good”, What about the chaos as you turn the kaleidoscope?

    What can nature teach us about systems that create abundance rather than rely on extraction and depletion?

    You made me wonder about examples from indigenous communities, what do they have to teach us about sustainability, power, connection?

    Your post offers much to ponder.

    Like

  4. First, “a model of logic in the realm of wonder” is a beautiful image that captures exciting tensions and possibilities. Thank you for that. Is there a particular “model” or of “logic” that you are picturing?

    re: “Can we move beyond the idea that to give means a subtraction of resources from one to another rather than a multiplication of goods?” I am excited by this as well. I hear some of your questions here (perhaps influenced by the questions you posed last night in our Willows call) asking “why aren’t we there yet when it feels so clear?” Can you think of any areas in which you personally see yourself as a participant and even perpetuator of that culture or structures of “subtraction”? Also, can you try to parse out who you are picturing here when you say “we”?

    re: “How do our systems (social, political, economic, and cultural) interact to support or maybe even actively fight against a large-scale re envisioning? What policy, legal structures, funding models, or cultural norms are needed for not only the acceptance of but participation in a new ecology?” Oooh, these questions are my jam. Again, can you identify your part in those systems? I ask not as an accusation of responsibility, or to name any categorical privileges you may have, but rather to find out if you have particular experiences that can unlock for yourself and others some little secret passages in these systems that may be concrete paths of transformation, rather than the general hope (or despair?) that they would just become different? And also help concretize what are these “systems”? Where do they live and breathe in our daily movements?

    Looking forward to more!

    Like

  5. Congratulations on your journey thus far with Project Lia! It’s urgent and inspiring work!

    Please forgive my brevity. I’m running on fumes (moved into my new home on Tuesday).

    Your post reads poetic to me and your lived experience sounds equally rich in depth, pace, and color.

    The questions you raised are urgent as well. Based on my research over the past five years, the change we seek – an equitable, sustainable world – requires many FDRs who are “traitors to their class” (see Anand Giridharadas’ “Winners Take All”). I remain optimistic that many are emerging. With this cohort’s commitment to creating a vibrant shared economy and smart goals associated with our collective vision, our future is bright.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: