On Citizenship

We face many daunting dilemmas in the world today, such as poverty, war, climate change, hyper-polarization, and more.  One can easily lose faith in humanity’s ability and determination to make progress toward addressing them.

Unitarian Jon Alexander asks us not to despair, but to examine, and perhaps change, the “deep story” we tell ourselves about who we are.  He distinguishes between two unconsciously-adopted narratives that drive how we live: the Consumer Story and the Citizen Story.

Those who buy the Consumer Story see themselves primarily as independent, self-contained individuals, whose role in life is earning what it costs to buy whatever products and services promise to make them happy.  And they seek improve the world through their individual choices, e.g. to recycle packaging, take shorter showers, or cast a vote for a preferred candidate.

Those who embrace the Citizen Story, in contrast, see people primarily as inter-dependent social beings, who flourish when they collaborate with each other to improve everyone’s life.  They see positive changes coming when people from diverse backgrounds pitch in to work together, contributing their unique skills, passions, empathy, ideas, and resources where they’re most needed.

Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship members tend to prioritize the Citizen Story. They welcome working with other people who care about the same things they do to get stuff done.

[published May 12, 2023]