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Russell W. Dumke

Transformation and Community

Russell W. Dumke (Ph.D.), Saint Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas

Advisor: Andrew Tallon

Please feel free to forward comments, questions, and insights to Russ Dumke. My e-mail address is: [].


Our society has witnessed a massive breakdown in community. Several remedies for this condition have been proposed, yet few of these are explicitly spiritual. The reason for this presumably is to avoid divisiveness in matters of faith. The problems surrounding community are thus subjected to other forms of analysis (e.g., sociological, economic) that are seen as being neutral, objective, and non-problematic. These approaches, while useful, do not address the heart of the matter, viz., that community is a spiritual phenomenon. This essay rectifies this problem by deliberately taking a spiritual focus. Bernard Lonergan lays the foundation for this enterprise with a philosophically oriented account of the subject-as-consciousness, oriented toward the transcendent. Ken Wilber amplifies this view from the standpoint of transpersonal psychology, showing how human development, diverse modes of knowledge, and differeing spiritual traditions can be accomodated under a single comprehensive model. M. Scott Peck offers his experience of using these new ideas to actually create community. The method employed to adjudicate discussion between these figures is comparative and integrative, and the problem of sectarian religious discord is obviated by appeal to the perennial philosophy as the common inspiration for the participants. A universal roadmap to community that is applicable to any tradition or situation is discussed, and the reader is enjoined to embrace the work of personal growth that is necessary for community.

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