Still, with this writing project, I find myself wondering what it is. At times, like now, I step back and see it as this strangely self-assured questioning of the things that make up our lives, and wonder “who I am” to be writing it all. But then, who’s to say I’m “not” to ask such questions? Is it not the human place to question, review, integrate, evaluate, and attempt to synthesise the meaning of their choices into a reasonably coherent whole?
There may not be an answer to that. Who’s to say what our role is in life? We’re thinking beings, self-aware and able to see meaning behind what surrounds us, but the right use of that intelligence isn’t entirely clear. Are we better off deferring the thinking to those “in charge” – specialists in their fields – or might we expect their guidance be presented in ways we can decide upon as mere citizens, consumers, members of humanity?
So then, I suppose this project is simply me asking about things and seeking to consolidate my own thoughts on life. It’s really a personal journey of attempting to find my own bearings in relation to all I’ve been told, experienced, and see happening around me. It’s trying to pull those threads together, dig at the roots of our thinking, and understand what modern life might mean.
But that’s not to say it’s intended to be cold, distant, aloof in its deconstruction of life; hopefully it comes across that I care deeply for individuals, their experiences, and how society and human relationships impact us all. My concern, beneath the at times philosophical or simplistic pondering, is perhaps about what life makes of us and we, in turn, make of it. We might look at trends, at the forces playing out within our lives, but nestled within it all are people and that fact surely matters.
Of course, it’s hard to look at systemic realities or challenges while bearing in mind it’s all made up of and for the sake of humanity. The “bigger picture” of society’s statistics and projections can sometimes drown out the everyday reality of our existence. We can plan on that level, proposing solutions or passing judgements, but all those things “pass through” human lives and convey messages as to the perceived worth of those lives.
Modern life is seeming this strange test of all it means to be human. The accumulated insight, understanding and ingenuity of past generations having been placed in our hands, we can now rework “life on earth” to this unprecedented degree. We can remove many age-old limitations of time, space, capacity, and develop these global, automated solutions that rapidly impact their human, natural and social surroundings. It’s quite amazing, but surely can’t – or maybe, shouldn’t – be undertaken without a high sense of ethics and responsibility.
Human existence is this incredible opportunity, but what we make of it and the attitude with which we approach life and one another seem, now, perhaps more important than ever.