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Clemens Sedmak

Published On


Page Range

pp. 179-200

Print Length

21 pages

5. The Systemic Outcome of Common Good Dynamics


  • Clemens Sedmak (author)
In this chapter Clemens Sedmak addresses the difficult task of appraising the quality of our shared humanity. He first reminds us that the concept of humanity is at the same time evasive and pervasive in development literature. What does it mean to be human? Evident as it may be, the concept is nonetheless difficult to define positively. He therefore assumes a negative approach, through a consideration of what is definitively not human or infra-human. Four points then may circumscribe our humanity: (i) uniqueness and complexity; (ii) vulnerability and socialness; (iii) agency and the power to transform; (iv) equality and existential closeness. He then translates these four points into the idea that living a life according to one’s human dignity means: living a life that allows for the expression of uniqueness, the pursuit of complexity, the protection and cultivation of proper vulnerability, entry into relationships, the experience of agency, the cultivation of the potential to transform the world into a better place, the experience of equality. He closes by proposing four practices as possible indicators for the ‘humanity’ dimension: (a) practices of reconciled pluralism; (b) practices of deep inclusion; (c) habits of integral ecology; (d) patterns of permeability.


Clemens Sedmak