Destination alive or adrift


When we lose our sense of purpose in our work, we drift.  This is no different for our cities; when we have no idea what our city’s purpose is it can drift too. This post is the first in a series to explore the role of purpose, or ‘destination’, as we organize ourselves in cities.  Does knowing our purpose have an impact on our ability to be fully alive?

As I get into this exploration, here is an excerpt from John O’Donohue’s blessing that serves as a supportive thread for Nest City, “For the Time of Necessary Decision”:

Perhaps the work we do has lost its soul
Or the love where we once belonged
Calls nothing alive in us anymore
We drift through this gray, increasing nowhere

The work we do creates our cities, and if we lose our sense of purpose in our work, so do our cities. If we lose track of where we are going, so do our cities, the very habitat we build to help us get there.

Here is the terrain I expect to cover over the next few weeks:

  • What is the role of ‘purpose’ in a city?
  • What makes a city alive?
  • How can we tell when we are adrift?
  • How does the purpose of our individual work connect to the purpose of the city?
  • How exactly, does our work matter?
Do you have any responses to these questions before I get started?  
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This post forms part of Chapter 5 – Destination Alive or Adrift, of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities. Click here for an overview of Chapters 4-7 (Part 2 – Organizing for Emergence). Click here for an overview of the three parts of Nest City.


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