One of the strengths of the Eden Alternative is that it is value-based. There are ten solid principles that form its foundation. Each organization follows its own transformational path; their actual process may vary, depending on individual style and culture, but the Eden principles assure that their foundation remains solid.
Many of us on these pages have bemoaned the path we have taken with the medicalization of aging, even the direction our society as a whole has been headed. As Bill Thomas said in his 2007 Pioneer Network address, “Our world is hungry for a spiritual renewal”. At times it may seem that we are overly nostalgic, looking for the “good old days”, or perhaps distrustful of medical and technological advances.
But Eden is not a Luddite movement. It is a value-based movement that places the elder at the center, bound by meaningful relationships.
So what is the Eden lesson for our advancements in technology and medicine? Not that we shouldn’t advance. The problem is that we have become so enamored of our innovations that we have pursued them without holding to the basic values that bind us as human beings. That is why elder care has become soulless. That is why our society so often seems to quicken its pace, yet become increasingly cold and cruel.
The key is to progress and innovate, but not in a vacuum. Each new medical and technological advance needs to remain tied to our basic ethos and forward the cause of all humanity. If it fails that “Eden test”, then perhaps it is not progress after all.