Relationships in a World of Individualism

  • rWorld

    The rWorld is about more than Dale Kuehne's book Sex and the iWorld.
    The rWorld is a New England based, non-profit (in formation), that is composed of a growing number of people and organizations from many faith and ideological backgrounds worldwide. We believe that much of the fulfillment for which women and men are looking can be found by enhancing the quality of our relationships. While the individual freedom we enjoy in the West is a gift, the love and intimacy for which humans yearn will not be found in self-serving materialism or hedonism, but in a variety of healthy relationships.

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  • Dale Kuehne

    Sex & the iWorld

    Professor of Politics and The Richard L. Bready Chair for Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH.

    In this blog I'm highlighting signposts of the world in which we presently reside as a means of helping promote a civil, and meaningful dialogue about what kind of world in which we wish to live. I am particularly interested in exploring how might we reconcile the individual good and the common good, and where reconciliation isn’t possible, which should take precedence and why.

    I also blog at

    [Content Caution]

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rLiving 8: US/UK ‘Special Relationship’ (Continuity/Multiplexity)

Posted by Simon on December 7, 2010

You’d never know it – if you live in the US – but there was a general election in the UK in May that resulted in a hung parliament. The last election was four years ago and the last hung parliament was in 1974. There was very little US media coverage of the election, so most Americans probably have little idea about it.

Image: screenscrape using Jing from

The US election, which seems to go on for four years even though it’s only held every four years, is covered by the British media head to foot.

Relational Proximity Dimension #3 is Multiplexity: a relation between two individuals, groups or countries is better and healthier if they interact in two or three different contexts rather than just one. This is, essentially, about knowledge.

Relational Proximity Dimension #5 is Purpose: our sense of connectedness and relationship is greater to the degree we share a common purpose or identity and.

With respect to ‘knowledge’; the media is one way the US and UK ‘interact’, get to know each other as nations. Election coverage is one example of a huge imbalance, not to mention deficit and distortion, of information and understanding between the two countries. Unless an American and Brit meet, or travel to one another’s country, the media is the only way the countries will build an understanding of each other as a people. The news media is just one ‘context’. We need more quantity, quality and types of interaction if we’re going to have a better relationship.

And without that knowledge that comes from interacting in different contexts, the chances of discovering or holding onto a shared sense of purpose or identity is diminished. The election coverage doesn’t reveal this, but it’s increasingly difficult to discern what it is that binds the US and UK together. It certainly isn’t language!

Little knowledge, and little explicit common purpose. Doesn’t sound very special to me.

[See the introduction for the background to this series and the five dimensions of Relational Proximity.]


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