Chapter 11: Recurrent Domains of Human Concerns

This essay has continued to influence people thinking about moods, coaching, and business. Note that the essay was previously named “Permanent Domains of Human Concerns”.

In this paper, we set out to distinguish the structure of concerns that is constitutive of every human being’s life. By “constitutive” here we mean the structure of concerns that make up the substance of human actions, possibilities, and assessments. We set out on this project to make ourselves observers of these constitutive concerns. Then we are not able to produce for ourselves conversations for design—our actions, possibilities, and assessments—in these domains. We lack the linguistic distinctions necessary for such a conversation. Then our purpose in this paper is to provide those distinctions and enable such conversations for design of ourselves.

“Domains” are the domains of recurrent concerns of human life—concerns that we cannot escape as human beings. All human beings have breakdowns in these domains, act in them, characterize themselves and other people in them, and look ahead to in and invent possibilities for themselves in these domains. These concerns can be organized in terms of three ways in which we are grounded as human beings; human beings as linguistic beings, as historical beings, and as biological beings or as selves. We discuss 13 domains in this paper including: education, career, sociability, work, self-worth, aesthetics, body, family, work, money or prudence, world, dignity, situation, situation, spirituality, and membership.

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