Founded in December, 2019, the staff and board of Heartland Community Reconciliation Center (HCRC) have been working behind the scenes with community leaders, activists, and stakeholders in the midwest to:
- identify core, rational areas of disparity that are root causes of social conflict;
- recommend small, measurable changes that can benefit all parties, and can,
over time, lead to reconciliation and social healing.
Our current projects focus on:
- communities experiencing social conflicts over issues of economic, educational, and racial disparity;
- research and education on the connections between environmental degradation, climate change, and social conflict, that can lead to “compassionate reasoning”.
The Role of the Arts in Compassionate Reasoning
Great art invites the whole of the mind to see the world in a new way. ‘Whole of Mind’ refers to the way in which the mind changes based on a profound engagement with all of its components. This is referred to as neuroplasticity in neuroscience approaches to social change and peacebuilding. The different components of the mind include perception, of course, but also imagination, empathy, compassion, and reasoning. When we want people as individuals and as societies to go from inaction to action, from paralysis to responsibility, from cynicism to positive engagement, we want that which moves the whole being in a new direction. To understand truly the interactions of human climate destruction, conflict, social justice and peacebuilding, it takes a great deal of information and abstract reasoning. But it also takes the entire mind to see the world in a new way, particularly the world in all of its bright beauty and its dark beauty, its negative and positive imagination. A human being in community with others must be able to face with her mind the dark dangers that may lurk ahead, along the bright beauty of possibility. This aligns with what we commonly refer to as the heart and the mind, or the body and the soul.
Art becomes the ally of social change when the whole of mind is engaged in the will to build a better reality, to fashion the world we live in with humility and love, not arrogance and hate. The beautiful becomes the ally of the truthful and the just inside transformative art. That is precisely why art has a unique place from which to build a different world. It has the capacity to build a whole of mind experience of understanding, compassion, reasoning, and hope. Art gives birth to peacebuilding in the form of what is being called now Compassionate Reasoning.
David’s work is designed in the deepest way to bring the subconscious and the beautiful together in intoxicating ways that give rise to the vision of a beautiful world that needs to change fundamentally in order for that beauty to continue. It does so not with academic journal articles, not with slogans, and not with policy planning sessions. It does so rather with the entire mind, body and soul, affect and cognition, intellect, emotion and imagination, all marshaled toward an embrace of Creation and the awesome role that humans play in her fate.
 Marc Gopin, Compassionate Reasoning: Changing the Mind to Change the World (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming)