Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mysterious Answers

"Mystery is the answer to the unknown. In actualizing its abundance, a community welcomes mystery, for that is a catalyst for creativity. Mystery gives us freedom from the burden of answers. Answers are just a restatement of the past."

Peter Block and John McKnight,The Abundant Community

I know I may be yanking these quotations out of contexts that make them a lot more sensible than they seem. I'm trying not to do that, but...

What do we make of this logic; "Mystery is the answer....; Mystery gives us freedom from...answers; and answers are ...a restatement of the past." As you will remember from past readings, answers are bad. Mystery is both an answer and freedom from answers -- or a bit of a non-answer. And, of course, answers just restate the past, which, I guess is bad.

Yet, a key argument in the book is that the past holds answers -- community competence, etc -- from the present and future. We need to relearn ways of recognizing and building upon our community assets.

So, the authors have got us might confused. For my part, I believe firmly in the mystery of the universe and that we can have some, not all, answers.

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