Bars over window on corrugated iron wall

Being conscious of our constructions

How aware are we of the realities we’re living within? Their initial reasoning, their alternatives, their implications or risks. All these activities we’re engaged in that somehow weave their ways into, behind and throughout our increasingly common existence. From the “simple” societies of times past, how did we get to this point? And, how’s what we do now perhaps different from all that went before?

Sometimes it seems we’re living in a building we’re forever constructing. That, while the structures are there, we’re always needing to reinforce the walls, the functions, the purpose of it all – filling it with our understanding, our intention, our commitment to upholding all that’s important within the social forms we received from the past. This ongoing maintenance that perhaps goes along with almost anything in life.

Aren’t we handed many, many things by society? Its patterns, stories and standards becoming the habits or beliefs which shape our existence. Almost as if there’s this reciprocal relationship between self and society where forms and ideas surround us and we make our choices within them. Society as this environment we’re born into, much as we are into nature.

In many ways, we seem defined by it: by the opportunities and thoughts available for us to engage with. That we’re living in this manmade world of social structures, needs, laws and desires where things play out as they will, given the human nature which fills them. As if society is built for, around and upon us; the choices we make within it being the world we then inhabit.

How “are” we to fill it? Thinking mainly of ourselves and the life “we” can carve out? Looking to the system as a whole – the healthiness or viability of this overall way of life? Focussing on the edges and how “this” sits alongside others and all that our lives rely upon? Considering how things “work” from any conceivable perspective? Holding to our highest values and how they might best find full expression here?

It sometimes seems that life’s meaning is a question “we” must answer: that we’re not handed the formula, the structure, so much as asked to engage in its active creation. That we’re perhaps not “right” to simply go along with things and make of this what we will – passively accepting the world as we found it – when we could serve to insist on everything working well from all angles.

I think it taps into that niggling question of life as a conversation we step into – that we’re called on to respond, to craft our own statement of life’s meaning through the choices we make. That our participation is what makes all the difference as to the direction things are likely to take: our sense of what’s acceptable or admirable informing the reality we’ll then live within.

Much as self-interest might also define us, grasping what our lives are serving to create – and, concerning ourselves with all the details – seem just as fundamental to the idea of being human.

Notes and References:

Things with life have to be maintained
The beauty in home economics
Culture’s conversation as a way of life
If environment shapes us…
Shaping the buildings that shape us
What are we building here?
Losing the sense of meaning
Understanding what we’re all part of
Conversations we agree to have
And, how much can we care?
Nothing short of everything

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