How are we supposed to find our feet within “the conversation” of society? This huge realm of ideas, events, facts, experiences, assumptions, theories and foredrawn conclusions we’re all essentially born into. Almost as if humanity, at some distant point, cloaked our realities in thought and now only lets us address things on those terms. As if we’re all part of a discussion that can’t be challenged.
Isn’t almost everything we hear already part of a chain of thought? All the lines drawn; sides taken; positions entrenched. Everything tending to have some agenda, premise or outcome we’re pushed to accept. As if it’s all part of this mental carving up of space where any given voice stands “somewhere” within the convoluted logic we inherited from the past.
Is that all we can do? Pick up threads, relate them to current phenomena, and take old arguments to new places. Those fundamental worldviews effectively becoming the frames through which life is now seen, interpreted, dissected and discussed. Established positions and disagreements getting layer upon layer of new history as we reanimate all the conflicting ideas we received.
It must shape how we see life: the ways we’re told to look at things and debates we’re encouraged to take our places in. This volatile world of preconceived notions we’re swept up in then left to ride these waves of emotion, reaction or despair. Our awareness and our concerns perhaps defined by whoever had our ear, piqued our interest or sparked our indignation.
Who “should” we listen to? Which interpretation of reality “should” we align ourselves with? Whatever resonates strongest or best serves our own personal interests? Whichever perspective scares or comforts us most? If the voices we heed become the lens through which we’re seeing situations, acting within them and responding to others, the positions we take must strongly influence the directions in which we’re headed.
If those voices are largely dictated by pre-existing groups within society – those with vested interests in perpetuating certain patterns – what does that mean for the lives we all lead? As if we’re really just drawn up into this strange configuration of reality playing itself out from the debates of the past and the situations into which they placed us. Present realities and ideas being this thought structure we all stepped into.
Digging beneath the second or third iteration of those original theories, can we still find the truth of the matter? Observations and concepts that can still speak to the realities of our lives and nature of the systems those lives perhaps naturally need to be woven into. Rather than having these polarised exchanges from out at the perimeters of modern thought, is it possible to reach back for what we’re really talking about?
Sometimes it just seems, while trying to navigate a landscape filled with hidden dangers, we’re stuck in strangely powerless arguments from countless extreme positions. As if our feet or our words are pedalling in the air, divorced from the realities we’re striving to address.
Notes and References:
Conversations we agree to have
Learning all we need to know
Do we need to understand the past?
Caught in these thoughts
Bringing things into awareness
On whose terms?
Can our thinking match realities?
What’s the right mindset for news?
If environment shapes us…