Featured image of post Thinking Locally

Thinking Locally

'The principle of subsidiarity' must be respected: A community of a higher order should not interfere with the life of a community of a lower order, taking over its functions. In case of need it should, rather, support the smaller community and help to coordinate its activity with activities in the rest of society for the sake of the common good.


Do you feel like sometimes we live in two realities?

There is a reality that we experience at home, in our car or at work. It is the reality where we have conversations, laugh, play sport, go to restaurant or simply stay at home reading a book. And there is another reality that is mostly experienced through a screen or the radio. It’s the reality of big things happening ‘out there’. Stuff happening way beyond our personal sphere of influence.

Sometimes, it seems like the ‘second reality’ takes over our mind and energy to the point where we feel depressed, crippled or hopeless. The worst part about that place is that our power to influence or change it is comparable to the influence that a sport fan has on a game…very little.

On the other hand, in the ‘first reality’ we have incredible power to shape and direct it. Every interaction & every relationships can be transformed by our presence and intentions.

Setting up a hierachy of attention…

Does that mean that we should only stick to our knitting, close all forms of external information and live 100% in the first reality? Maybe, maybe not. But there as to be the right proportion of where we direct our thoughts and energies.

What would happen if 95% of our thoughts and energy were directed on what we can do now…in our homes, with the people living on our streets and in our cities or villages? There is an amazing Christian social teaching called subsidiarity…it is at the foundation of all western government…not applied often enough in my opinion. It goes like this:

“The principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed at a more local level."

The point I am trying to make is that rather than playing sport fan and setting all our attention to what’s going on a planetary scale or national scale…what if we started first with ourselves, then in the first community (our family) and then once we have set our house in order, move outward from there to our community and beyond?

You think politics is important? Reality is that the mayor and the council of your town will have much more impact on you and the community than federal level politicians. They can build parks, they can landlock large areas so that property values and taxes goes up and crowd out young family who want to start on the property ladder from coming in and so on.

There are times where collective action on a larger scale is called for, but this is an exception, not the rule.


I think it is high time for us to consider our diets of media. How much time do we spend thinking way beyond our sphere of influence and how productive is it?

Do you agree or disagree?

Let me know in the comment below…


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

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