With all that’s going on in life, how are we to truly see what matters or what our choices actually are? Seeing life as a sequence of decisions we make, paths we walk, consequences we set in motion, how clear is it what every step represents and how well they’re relating to all the others we might’ve taken? As if life is a tangle of separate but interrelated choices all leaning up on one another.
Life just seems to have rapidly gotten very complicated as new threads are added, new balls to juggle or plates to spin, until it’s not seeming entirely clear what we were doing in the first place and how “this” relates to what went before. As if our lives now are strangely distorted echoes of what life had always been – old practices taking on new forms and merging into something quite different.
And it almost seems inevitable: this is how life is. We either jump on board, embrace it all, or get left behind as we question the methods suggested or direction things seem to be headed. As if there’s no conversation to be had, no choice in the matter, no alternative to this broad sweeping path we’re often forced into. (Notes One)
Yet, if our lives and all the choices they entail effectively “become” the realities set in motion around us – affecting countless others across the globe, dismantling infrastructure, altering environments – isn’t it important we step back to see what it is that we’re doing? It might be a wave, a tide, with its own agenda and momentum, but is it right to be simply swept along for the ride?
In a strange way, this year seems to have really shone a light on all our lives are: the interconnectedness, the freedom, the complexity of our activities and precariousness of some aspects, the grasp we have of it all. As if our lives were all woven into this global reality few really understand – a convoluted series of transactions loosely based on our adherence to certain traditions or patterns of behaviour. (Notes Two)
As if the underlying structures – all the distinct choices, the meaning behind them and substance within them – were brought to our attention and called into question. Which things are truly essential? Things to preserve and defend at any cost as principles vital to the very essence of human existence. Which of the many things we’ve become used to could quite honestly be snipped away without any true loss?
This sense in which we’ve been asked to re-evaluate our lives and, often, constrain ourselves for the protection of people we never see. A strange test of our commitment to the invisible notion of community: how well do we understand all our lives comprise of, all the lives connected with and affected by all we do? Are we capable of limiting our own freedom for the sake of such values? (Notes Three)
Crisis or not, are we aware of all we’re actively engaged in creating?
Notes and References:
Note 1: Bringing things into awareness
Note 1: Situations which ask us to trust
Note 1: Pace of change & getting nowhere fast
Note 1: Systems, their power, whose hands?
Note 2: Integrity and integration
Note 2: All we concern ourselves with & encourage
Note 2: All we’re expected to understand
Note 2: Responsibility for the bigger picture
Note 3: Mutual awareness and accommodation?
Note 3: Appealing to human nature or the human spirit
Note 3: Lacking the human side of community?
Note 3: The incredible responsibility of freedom