By John Dewey
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Extra info for A Common Faith
What was true in 1934 is truer today, as multinational corporations protect vast wealth for a few and acquire political inﬂuence by pouring huge sums into elections. Dewey’s point is that this is not the way it has to be— any more than slavery or the subjection of women had to be. When those conditions changed, new possibilities began to open up, albeit slowly and with continued struggle. One way of deﬁning democracy could be that it seeks to provide every person with the most meaningful choices possible, which means imagining what those possibilities might be.
It does not denote anything to which one can specifically point as one can point to this and that historic religion or existing church. For it does not denote anything that can exist by itself or that can be organized into a particular and distinctive form of existence. It denotes attitudes that may be taken toward every object and every proposed end or ideal. Before, however, I develop my suggestion that realization of the distinction just made would operate to emancipate the religious quality from encumbrances that now smother or limit it, I must refer to a position that in some respects is similar in words to the position I have taken, but that in fact is a whole world removed from it.
When those conditions changed, new possibilities began to open up, albeit slowly and with continued struggle. One way of deﬁning democracy could be that it seeks to provide every person with the most meaningful choices possible, which means imagining what those possibilities might be. The most important implication of the idea of the religious in social existence lies in education. Dewey remarks at the beginning of Democracy and Education that everyone dies—but not everyone all at once. Thus, culture can be passed on from generation to generation.