Seaweed washed onto beach

Any choice but to take a stand?

Given all the problems within society – all the many things people are rightly concerned about and convinced that others should take equally seriously – how are we to approach those cracks in our collective pavement? This sense in which the entire foundation of our increasingly global way of life seems broken up by all these inherited inequalities, injustices and strange assumptions we’re asked to live with.

In many ways, it seems we’re all simply born into a flawed situation; some stepping into positions of advantage while others are met with the opposite. As if society’s thinking carved up every aspect of our lives with dividing lines we seem to have little choice but to accept. That this is just “how things are” – the realities the past handed to us, individually and collectively.

Is that how life is? An uneven playing field of events set in motion before our arrival. A place where humanity’s finest ideals – from many perspectives – find remarkably little traction in everyday realities. Somewhere we might whitewash things with narratives that somehow sweep complex situations into convenient arcs to serve our own agendas, identities or egos.

Within it all, can we all just think what we please? Seeing life through the lens of our own priorities or concerns and denying those problems it suits us to leave unresolved. As if we might bend realities to meet our distortions, creating versions of events where others’ concerns simply don’t loom as large as they might imagine.

Don’t we tend to see things our own way? Life’s building blocks, for us, being arranged in the configuration we’re used to, we might imagine that’s what life “is” for everyone. It’s perhaps natural we’d accept the face reality turned towards us as “normal” based on our own experience, understanding and complex sense of what things mean and how we should act. After all, we can arguably only “know” life through our own eyes.

But, given we live within potentially quite imperfect sets of systems, ideas and their consequences, can we really deny those realities? Each of us retreating to the relative security of our own narrative; spinning events into arcs that leave us quite innocent. Don’t we have some kind of logical obligation to understand the networks our lives are woven into? To see what’s being created from all sides?

If the objective reality our lives form part of is broken up by many, many places where flawed thinking is creating situations people are crying out over in frustration, pain or concern for the future, don’t we “have” to listen? To hear the realities our ideas are setting in motion, see the faces of those affected and feel whatever pain has been created.

We might’ve been born into situations beyond our control, but, once in them, don’t we need to understand what’s happening and care about all the details? To admit reality – let it into our awareness – and work to resolve things so “how life is” can match honestly with our ideals about it.

Notes and References:

If environment shapes us…
Pieces of the puzzle
What’s at the heart of society?
Somewhere between ideals & realities
Learning all we need to know
Living through the changes
Conversations we agree to have

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