Tall Gum tree against cloudy pastel sky

Can “how we relate” really change?

In life, can “how we relate” really change? Can the idea of human communication, relationship, and all the various ties between us actually be altered by new ways of being? Drawing us, through how we’re living, into new ideas of what human life’s worth and the potential value of getting to know one another and experiencing all the different ways to be human.

Relationship “must” be this fundamental human concept? This notion of how we stand next to one another, all the ways we’re alike or different, and how each person’s existence arguably serves to enrich our own. Isn’t it the foundation of community? All these ideas of mutual respect, awareness, interest, recognition, acceptance. All these points where our lives touch and meaning is established between us. (Notes One)

The ties between people – economically, socially, culturally, personally – seem so essential to understanding what life “is” and why it should matter: all the human faces, lives and stories that go into making the world what it is. While it might be quite a difficult aspect of life, it also seems quite a beautiful one in the sense that we “could” all be woven together into a picture of harmonious, appreciative coexistence (Notes Two).

Of course, that’s not actually what’s happening. More often than not, we now seem increasingly disinterested in and disconnected from the lives of others, living within these bubbles of our own ideas, experiences and beliefs about life. Modern life, for any number of reasons, seeming to connect us together and push us apart in fairly equal measure as we struggle with all the opportunities technology’s offering.

Having spun its tendrils throughout every area of our lives, it’s perhaps “natural” for it to be changing how we see things, relate, and the ideas we have in mind about life’s meaning. As the lens through which we interact with the world, it’s also seeming to reinforce – potentially, trap us within – our own perspectives, experiences, and thought patterns. (Notes Three)

Sometimes it just seems we might end up caught in our own ideas of life: seeing everything through this pre-conditioned lens that’s confirming whatever we already believe to be true. As if we’re so amplified by it all that the notion of others, their ideas and experiences, becomes drowned out or incompatible with our own, strengthened conclusions. All potentially quite isolated, overwhelmed, and intolerant of one another.

It’s fascinating to imagine how much technology might change us – how we talk, how we listen, how much we care. If “to be human” is to connect ourselves in relationship with one another through words, what does technology make of that? Given all modern life’s presenting us with, how much can we still “see” who others truly are beyond our limited, amplified notions of them?

Beneath it all, the richness of human life and experience seems so important – that, as human beings, we would retain interest in and concern for other people. What would it mean, then, if we started to lose that capacity?

Notes and References:

Note 1: What does community mean?
Note 1: Frameworks of how we relate
Note 1: Counselling, listening & social identity
Note 1: True relationship within society?
Note 2: Invisible ties
Note 2: Going towards the unknown
Note 2: The power of understanding
Note 2: Finding flaws
Note 3: Pace of change & getting nowhere fast
Note 3: Does being alone amplify things?
Note 3: Power and potential
Note 3: Joining the dots

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