Today's guest author is Donna Mills, she co-coordinates, together with Sara Jamil, the Gender Partnerships sector of the Charter for Compassion. Donna has taken on a topic that is central to the wellbeing of each of us--personal safety, and security. I remember a study done decades ago asking individuals who were displaced by war what they wished for most frequently. Several answers consistently rose to the top: feeling secure, having the entire family together, and waking up in the same place each day. Donna reminds us of Plato and his association with wonder and how his thought resembles living in safety. In fact, Goal 11 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals has us considering how to make our communities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Embedded in Goal 11, and Plato's state of wonder, is another principle that comes from his thinking and that is the path to happiness. Our goal is to claim being happy as we delve into our right to being safe and secure.

In a world of uncertainty, what is the difference between safety and security? And do we have either? For that matter, are we even guaranteed certainty?

This past week, I viewed a short video of Barry Michels, co-author of The Tools and Coming Alive, where he spoke about certainty and wonder. Michels shared two perspectives on wonder from Plato and Aristotle.

Plato began every inquiry with wonder, as did Aristotle. The difference for them was how they ended their inquiry. For Plato, wonder was that with which you began and ended each inquiry. For Aristotle, wonder was employed to begin an inquiry, but it was certainty that was at the end of his inquiry

And for the last 2,500 years, so it has gone. It was Aristotle's search for certainty that brought us the scientific model. A useful tool, to be sure. However, one must admit that Aristotle's need for certainty has diminished the value of wonder to a childhood asset of sentimentality. What if more adults wondered, and wondered, and wondered even more? What if we employed wonder and the scientific model as a balanced yin/yang concept?

The Charter for Compassion Women and Girls Sector is exploring the common language of violence and peace through a Partnership for a Safe and Sacred NOW, (PSSN) and wondering what we might discover if we included Plato's philosophy of the "wonder" bookends to our inquiry into safety and security. As we can see from the definitions below, safety: denoting something designed to prevent injury or damage, has intent written into it. Security, on the other hand, a bit like certainty, is the state of being free from danger or threat. And that is just an impossibility.

You might ask, "Well, how can we be safe, but not secure?" Fair question! When we design something, say society, to be a safe place to exist, we are building a collective and collaborative narrative of how we wish to be in a human relationship with each other. We are choosing new narratives. And this is the time in human history to do it. In the end, both wonder and safety require thoughtfulness, responsibility, and participation. Certainty and security are both an assumed state of being, but this is no longer a passive world, and they will no longer do.

The Partnership for a Safe and Sacred NOW gathers September 22, 2021 at 9 am Pacific time to explore new narratives of Safety and Security. Please join us, as we discuss how committing to safety - how designing ourselves and our communities with the intent to prevent injury and damage - offers us more than a sense of false security.

What is the difference between Safety and Security? Why does it matter? How does language and intent create new narratives? Do we work to end violence? Or create safety? Let us utilize our innate knowing and body-sense to define what safety means to us individually and collectively.

noun: safety
1. the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.
2. denoting something designed to prevent injury or damage.

noun: security
1. the state of being free from danger or threat.
2. from securus 'free from care' Latin

Donna Mills
-Lead of Women & Girls Sector for the Charter for Compassion

This message from Donna. Mills, Co-Lead of Women & Girls Sector for the Charter for Compassion, appears in our 08/08/2021 weekly newsletter. To sign up for our newsletter, scroll all the way down to the end of this page to get to the bottom menu, in the newsletter section enter your email address and click on subscribe.