Starfish resting on the sand

What’s at the heart of society?

Looking to the heart of society, isn’t it simply individuals? Countless people, all unique in their own way, tangled up in all this activity that, together, makes up the details of all our lives. Society perhaps then being all those grooves of thought and activity that’ve been carved and maintained over the years – blending and evolving as each generation makes its own choices and charts collectively different paths.

All these ways people have attempted to pass on meaning or understanding through how we’ve been taught, told or shown to behave. Vast, diverse ideas of “all it is to be human” emerging from whatever particular communities deem valuable, worthwhile or acceptable. The voices of culture, education, government, media, industry, religion and family all merging into this complex sense of what life is and how we should live it.

Isn’t it the idea of us all needing to understand the whole? Its history, paths, thoughts and all the twists and turns those things have taken through time. Where exactly that leaves us, as the individuals currently trying to make sense of it all and steer things in directions that are good for everyone. Each person somehow coming to an awareness of all that’s flowing through them and how that stands within the bigger picture.

Almost as if life itself – and, society in particular – is a strange blending together of individuals and the ideas of community. Each unique person having their own nature, their own story filled with experiences, hopes, words, struggles, beliefs, memories and concerns. All of us walking our own path; trying to find how to balance what’s within us with the world that’s around us.

As if we’re all simply trying to find ways to be, to belong, to contribute and feel that contribution to be valued. The thoughts of the individual potentially jutting up quite painfully against the ideas of whatever community they happen to have been embedded within. What if the thoughts of modern society can’t contain us? Not leaving room for each person to be who they are and be seen as such.

Sometimes it seems there’s very little space in the middle of it all for communication: for self-expression and the interest it takes to genuinely listen to another, put yourselves in their shoes and see life through their eyes. As if – in this increasingly global community – we’re all talking at once, with nowhere for the conversation we’re wanting to actually happen.

In that light, is the heart of society currently confusion? Everyone pulling in their own direction, caught up in their own thoughts, struggling to be heard or find the time to hear others. As if, everything tangled in this strange free-for-all of “choice”, we’re struggling to articulate exactly how everyone’s decisions are unavoidably knocking onto everybody else and creating increasingly unmanageable situations.

Doesn’t it all matter? All the accumulating damage being done within this reality we’re all sharing. The roles we play within it all. The individuals being crumpled and scarred instead of healed.

Notes and References:

Understanding what we’re all part of
Thought, knowledge & coherent vision
Value and meaning in our lives
All that we carry around with us
Responsibility for the bigger picture
Voices within cultural life
Can our thinking match realities?

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