Challenging one another’s thinking?

In life, what are we to do at points of difference? All those inevitable places where our thoughts, experiences, ideas or conclusions diverge and a vast chasm might emerge between us and our perceptions of reality. Hasn’t it always been one of life’s challenges: who controls the thoughts we have in mind, the way we might voice them, or the paths down which they might lead.

Sometimes it seems life truly is accompanied by our thoughts about it – by all humans are going along with, buying into or carrying forward into that future we create through our participation. It can’t be without consequence, all that we choose to believe, act upon or defend in conversation with our peers. Isn’t it all an empowerment? An affirmation, condonement or encouragement of any given way of thinking. (Notes One)

Yet it’s also true that we live in such divided realities where – within as much as between our many countries – life simply isn’t the same for everyone. Doesn’t the world turn quite a different face to us all? Based on our background, our physical appearance or health, our personality, our innate talents or difficulties, our economic circumstances, or countless other potential labels we might be applying to one another.

How, then, are we to stand around that one reality and expect to have one conversation about it? It seems to be what we’re pushing for: for there to be one set of thoughts, one interpretation of what things mean and how much they matter. But won’t we all see things differently? Life having brought different aspects of itself to our attention as we’re each naturally drawn toward our own priorities or concerns. (Notes Two)

Sometimes it just seems we’re attempting to have that one big conversation, all at once, based on the model of the argument: each party trying to convince all others that their particular concerns matter “most”. As if there has to be a winner, somehow, in how our thoughts and words track alongside reality. As if we’re all simply to group together with those thinking like us in order to fight some global battle in the realm of ideas.

Not to say we shouldn’t challenge illogical, careless or dangerous thinking, but how exactly is this conversation to go for the best? The ideal of raising awareness around what life’s like for us all and all those situations our choices, words or attitudes play into – this picture of global awakening, as we realise the scope our thoughts and behaviours have in this deconstructed, interconnected world – seems so important. (Notes Three)

The world of ideals seems so much simpler than the messiness of reality, though. How easy is it to put yourself in another’s shoes, grasp life through their mind, and care enough to alter our views in light of theirs? This idea of humans, in all our diversity, standing around reality and simultaneously reflecting it in thought that respectfully accommodates everyone just doesn’t seem as easy as we might hope to imagine.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Attention as a resource
Note 1: What we create by our presence
Note 1: Charting our own course
Note 1: All we’re trying to uphold
Note 2: Has everything already been said?
Note 2: Pieces of the puzzle
Note 2: Acclimatisation to a world of meaning
Note 2: Seeing what things mean
Note 3: Being conscious of our constructions
Note 3: Threads, becoming a united whole
Note 3: Somewhere between ideals & realities
Note 3: The courage & pain of change

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The courage & pain of change

Thinking of how things change, it seems such a complex process fraught with risk, courage and, potentially, pain. Isn’t it almost always a case of rejecting something we previously thought to be true? This mysterious process of examining our own behaviour, our thinking, to reach the point of somehow deciding to do differently – extricating ourselves from the ideas which formed us to choose our own.

Yet, as thinking beings, how can we do otherwise? It seems strange that, despite our capacity to think for ourselves, we might never challenge what we were handed; that “being human” might simply mean carrying forward whatever ideas were already here. Still, it can’t be easy to raise yourself above the thinking surrounding you and decide to think differently: where do we stand to do so?

Almost as if we’re in this sea of ideas – those informing the systems supporting our existence; those predominating within our culture or society; those people with influence over us felt worthy of passing on – and need to somehow see clearly what it is “we” should do. Isn’t that what we offer, as humans? Our understanding; our judgement; our choices between available options.

In that, how are we to stand against what went before? To decide that, in our eyes, things seem different and, despite standing on the shoulders of the ideas and individuals that brought us here, we feel other paths are those we should now be taking. Maybe that’s simply progress? Seeing reality with fresh eyes.

At this point it does just seem we stand within potentially flawed thinking and the compounded problems that’s created – this whole inertia of “how things are” that’s often falling short of our ideals. As if we’re standing in this fast-flowing river of strange choices as our global world merges and our ideas must rise to match it.

How are we to navigate that convergence? Consider things from all perspectives while heightening our own awareness of our thinking, where it came from and what its aims were. Isn’t that what the modern world asks of us? To broaden our horizons, put ourselves in others’ shoes, and see how everything looks from there.

On any level, though, change – abandoning old ideas to weave in new ones – is confronting. Inevitably, there’s resistance in going against the grain of expectations or explaining yourself to others. Then, the loneliness of feeling misunderstood or cast aside by those not seeing the value of your path. And, frustration at the weight of this collective challenge before us and difficulty in getting even one person to shift their thinking.

While trying to make reality match our ideals takes courage, isn’t it also fairly likely we’d be hurt by the process? That, knowing what people are like, we may feel disappointed we tried. That, our desire for improvement upsetting the balance, we’ll come upon that immovable mountain of others, perhaps naturally, digging in their heels. If we’re convinced things matter, though, perhaps it’d also be best to find a way through.

Notes and References:

Somewhere between ideals & realities
Any choice but to take a stand?
Ways of living in the world
Gaining clarity on the choices before us
Bringing things into awareness
Will things change if we don’t make them?
What we create by our presence
Is telling people what we want to be true a lie?
The value of a questioning attitude?
Respect, rebellion & renovation

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Seeing what things mean

As intelligent creatures, how often in life is it truly clear what things mean? Don’t our interpretations, along with the overarching picture into which we’re placing any given fact, effectively change the meaning we’re assigning? The human mind becoming this strange lens through which realities are filtered to the point of them coming to “mean” something to us as individuals.

Almost as if each community or culture gives us the code for how we should be seeing things – all the nuanced shades of interpretation we need to apply and the delicately significant order in which any conflicting priorities or values should be stacked up in our minds. The perspectives of any one group of people somehow having been honed into a fairly unified set of ideas about life and how it all works.

Then, this sense in which we had to be trained into any particular mode of understanding: what it all means and the options available for how we might respond. The conventions of our various cultures essentially, perhaps, amounting to ways of thinking about all the different aspects of life. Our ideas on relationships, speech, the individual, respect, authority, freedom, tradition, and countless other things all pre-defined for us.

Thinking of how each community has, over time, evolved to see life their own way, it’s almost as if humans have been forever breaking down the elements of reality then fashioning them together in all these specific interpretations of events. Each country, group, family or person having come to see life their own unique way – and, thinking things “had” to be done like that in order for life to hold the “right” meanings.

Bringing with it, of course, the fact that if others aren’t assigning the same meaning then intentions can easily become lost. Isn’t it all a form of communication? Something built upon common meanings whereby “what we mean to say” gets carried faithfully over to others. If we all assign differing meanings, is it even possible to understand one another? Almost as if we’d all drift into speaking our own distinct language.

The idea that we might be shifting toward living in our own versions of reality seems intriguing: that, within our various groups, generations or subcultures, we might all be crafting our own worlds while living alongside inscrutable others. As if many different versions of life’s meaning are coming to coexist between people with very little interest or capacity for bridging the divides.

If our thoughts create some sort of commonly held “web” around reality, allowing us to communicate about it in meaningful, purposeful ways, what would it mean if we each started to live in webs of our own making? Losing, perhaps, the sense of our ideas somehow needing to match or reflect realities – rather than amplify or distort them – if we’re to be able to talk and understand one another.

We might all be looking at things from different perspectives, but can we still transcend that to share thoughts about the same, one reality?

Notes and References:

If environment shapes us…
Pieces of the puzzle
Ways of being & what’s getting left out
Conversations we agree to have
What’s at the heart of society?
Seeing where others are coming from
Words & relating as paths to change
Nothing short of everything
Do we live in different worlds?

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Conversations we agree to have

Of all that’s flowing towards us, all the thoughts, assumptions and foredrawn conclusions, which of the threads do we agree to take up, work with and make part of our lives? Almost as if life is this large free-flowing conversation between all of us and all the ideas that’ve made their way through our communities and into our heads. So much demanding our attention, hoping we’ll engage with it and move it forward.

Some of it we perhaps don’t have that much choice over: those situations and relationships we’re essentially born into as our family, culture, society and way of life. Realities we don’t necessarily have the power to walk away from or renegotiate; instead having to live within them while somehow finding ways to articulate our perspectives and shift things toward a better expression of human worth and individuality.

This sense in which we’re born into a world that already exists, filled with all the people and ideas that came before us and charted their own course within this environment we now share. Everything having played out in a long, convoluted string of choices and consequences as “whatever people thought best” worked its way out through the lives, relationships and systems we’re now finding ourselves in.

Doesn’t it all have a knock-on effect? Small things perhaps dramatically reshaping individual lives as paths get shunted off course by erroneous ideas having found ground and blossomed into potentially quite mistaken chains of events. As if, with our growing freedom over recent centuries, strange directions may’ve been taken within society that leave us stuck in the middle of increasingly difficult situations.

How are we to find ourselves within it all and gain clarity over the best response we might make? So much must be incredibly personal: intensely lived moments and lifetimes as countless individuals had to live through whatever was set in motion around them. And so much must have been formative: shaping the very ideas we have in mind and conclusions we’ve drawn about life and how to go about it.

As if we’re all folded into this “conversation” long before we have the ability to see it for what it is – before we had the power to consciously disengage or not let certain ideas affect us. All of it flowing round us as a given; becoming the circumstances of our lives and thoughts we quite naturally had in light of them. As if we’re part of the conversation before we’re even aware it is one.

Once, though, we see that our interpretation and contribution to it all is something we have a choice over, how are we to extricate ourselves from the rhythm of the conversation and create something different? As if, waking up in the middle of a flowing river, we might see the need for another approach. How, then, can we break with momentum’s expectation and engage differently?

This idea of stepping back, finding new words and somehow cracking open the lid of a different form of communication.

Notes and References:

Do we live in different worlds?
Things we give voice to
Voices within cultural life
Can there be beauty in communication?
Responsibility for the bigger picture
Pace of change & getting nowhere fast
Charting our own course

Ways to share this:

Rich complexity of human being

Can we ever say there’s only one way to be human? One set of thoughts to think and conclusions to reach about “life”, what it means and how we should live it. Or, are we each our own version of all life can be? The distinct configuration of our own personal experiences “being” what’s made us who we are, shaped our understanding and led us to interact with life as we currently do.

As if each human is poured into their time, their place, their family and, living through it with their own unique nature, becomes the person they then are with all the interests, wounds or concerns that most preoccupy their mind. All these individually-experienced perspectives on life that emerge from whoever’s standing at every given point within all the complex systems and realities now making up our lives. (Notes One)

It seems no two people are ever going to see everything exactly the same way; each having a slightly yet significantly different set of experiences, ideas or values nestled behind whatever broad similarity may appear on the surface. That, digging even a little underneath anyone’s views, you’d find a world of difference in how we’re seeing things, what we think matters and why we’re holding to them.

How do any ideas make their way into our minds? Stacking themselves up over the years into the solid or precarious constructions that make up our worldview or blueprint for how we’ll be living life. How many of the conclusions we’re building our lives upon might’ve been mistaken, misguided or the product of imperfect sources, situations or reasoning? Strange building blocks we might be wise to reconsider. (Notes Two)

Life starts to seem like a strange dance of humans taking up their parts and playing them out as they will. All the interactions between us and choices we’re making “becoming” the realities we all have to live with: the ideas we have of one another and awareness we may or may not have about how exactly “we” touch upon others and convey to them our sense of what their life’s worth. (Notes Three)

How can we ever really know what another’s life is like? All that’s made them who they are. The face the world’s turned towards them through the opportunities, prejudgements or assumptions they’re met with. Almost as if we’re living among countless strangers, despite having a great many things in common, with very little time to develop genuine interest in or understanding of one another. (Notes Four)

In all the complexity of modern life, isn’t there an equal complexity to each human existence? The lived humanity of each point in the picture as people hope to be met with love, respect and the freedom to be who they are, heal all their wounds and forge a future. Living these increasingly distracting and pressured lives, might we lose sight of those around us and what’s being asked of them?

What, within it all, is our idea of the human life?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Do we live in different worlds?
Note 1: Humans, tangled in these systems
Note 1: Integrity and integration
Note 1: Valuing people more
Note 2: The thought surrounding us
Note 2: Where do we get our ideas from?
Note 2: Shaping the buildings that shape us
Note 3: Value and meaning in our lives
Note 3: Mutual awareness and accommodation?
Note 3: The battlegrounds of our minds
Note 3: Giving others space to be
Note 4: All that we carry around with us
Note 4: These ideas we have of one another
Note 4: Treading carefully in the lives of others

How we might work around such struggles was one of the questions of Can there be beauty in communication?

Ways to share this:

Words & relating as paths to change

As humans, are we generally leaving others with the burden of our words? How we’re choosing to relate to others lingering in the air as another’s estimation of our worth, value, identity or purpose in life. As if we’re just casting our eyes over each other, then casting forth judgements through our attitudes, assumptions or unspoken criticism.

Almost as if these barriers between us are based on each person’s understanding of reality, what things mean and what matters – all our personal evaluations and priorities within the complex ever-shifting realities of “life”. Given we’re all perhaps taking “thought” in service of “self”, though, isn’t it likely we all just end up defending our own perspective, our own corner of all this?

It seems intriguing how we’re each seeing things our own way: looking out at this one, shared reality, carving it up and interpreting it according to some pre-established sense of what it all means (Notes One). Presumably things can be seen in many different ways? Stacked up in various manners to reach many varied conclusions. Yet, doesn’t it all still need to come harmoniously together?

Life, in many ways, seems mutual: we don’t live in our own version of reality but in one shared by others. We can’t just insist on “our way” of interpreting things if, in doing so, we’re changing the reality of others. Isn’t life, as much as language, about agreement? About words referring to the same things, discussing them in relatable terms, and creating a common sense of meaning. (Notes Two)

In that, don’t we need to find ways of mapping the differences between us? To listen, hear through to the reality of another’s being and respect what we find there. If understanding or appreciation is lacking, doesn’t it need fostering? Some encompassing explanation of all life “is” in its diverse complexity that can move us towards the same page, rather than fighting over any one particular interpretation.

Language seems such a powerful thing. This sense with which we wrap reality in thought and send it out there. Might our words not sometimes be barbs? Comments that stick in others’ sides as painful reminders of what a fellow human thought of them, and thought it wise to say. Isn’t it all a subtle or overt display of whatever interest, care or concern we have for other people’s path through life?

If, in all we say and do, we’re conveying the worth things have in our eyes, what are we making of that? How often are we forcing our views on others, recasting their reality in light of our own? Telling people what things mean rather than asking. Won’t that generally serve to reinforce any barriers between us? Making those differences firm lines; points of disagreement; obstacles to relationship. (Notes Three)

Taking it that few have a thoroughly perfect understanding of all that’s going on in the world, how are we to navigate this and make the kinds of constructive response that move things in better directions?

Notes and References:

Note 1: The thought surrounding us
Note 1: Joining the dots
Note 1: Everything’s interconnected
Note 2: Is there any end to the power of thought?
Note 2: Mutual awareness and accommodation?
Note 2: How much do intentions matter?
Note 2: Can “how we relate” really change?
Note 3: These ideas we have of one another
Note 3: Might we lose our social muscles?
Note 3: Treading carefully in the lives of others

Looking back to earlier ideas around the value of communication, there’s Conversation as revelation & Does being alone amplify things?

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With our words, do we cast spells?

When we speak, how far away do our words stand from reality? Are they a faithful reflection of “how it is” or do they cast everything in the light of how we feel, how we’re interpreting things, or what we think matters? As if our words might wrap our more objective observations within cloaks of despair, hope, criticism, distrust or freedom. Placing spin on reality as we reframe it with all the complex contents of our minds.

Isn’t it a powerful force? The commentary with which we accompany life. The thoughts we’re allowing ourselves to voice, expectations we have, and assumptions we mightn’t question seem to carry such weight as they travel out into the world. All these ideas which we, as humans, have thought and decided to send forth as an example or affirmation for others. (Notes One)

Once out there, don’t they stand to impact, influence or injure almost anyone around us? Becoming this humanly-voiced statement of how others see things – or, you. The ways we frame things in our minds becoming the way we present our thoughts to others as we offer up our conclusions around the value of everything that’s crossing our path.

Knowing how others see things seems significant. This sense in which, through communication, we’re letting others know what we think: revealing our perspectives, our values, our criticisms through all the subtle nuance of our words. Doesn’t it give others an idea of what matters to us? A fairly clear picture of how we, as a human, are looking at life and directing our concern or attention within it (Notes Two).

In that, aren’t we always “adding” something to reality? Not just stating a fact, but loading it up with the implication of all it means for us. As if, in everything we say, our words speak the relative significance of the world in our eyes: the seriousness with which we approach any topic, emotion accompanying our language and its delivery, and deliberation or haste with which we’re treating our subjects all carrying discernible meaning.

Almost as if we’re each these transmitters of “value” as we reflect reality through the “lens” of the human being – coating everything with the meaning we’ve assigned it and relaying that to anyone within earshot. And that doesn’t seem neutral (Notes Three). It must serve to confirm what we feel is acceptable, appropriate or admirable. It must impact others’ judgements of people, situations or themselves.

Maybe words are cloaking reality with our view of it? Some, perhaps, bearing the burden of words spoken by anyone not truly understanding where they’re coming from; haunted by any misconceptions with which others might’ve labelled them. Situations in nature or society perhaps being weighed down by all the many ways we’re not valuing things rightly or acting well.

As much as our words might uplift and bring good things to life, can’t they also become oppressive prisons? Flawed reflections of reality that trap us until we can somehow break free of their power.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Frameworks of how we relate
Note 1: The thought surrounding us
Note 1: These ideas we have of one another
Note 1: Powerful responsibility of a media voice
Note 2: Attention as a resource
Note 2: All we concern ourselves with & encourage
Note 2: Understanding what we’re all part of
Note 2: Seeing, knowing and loving
Note 3: All that we add to neutrality
Note 3: What we create by our presence
Note 3: Ways thought adds spin to life
Note 3: Conversation as revelation


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Things we give voice to

In life, what are we giving voice to? Of all we hear, think or witness, which sentiments are we wrapping up with our words and sending out there to form part of it all? Given we’re perhaps completely free to respond however we see fit, it’s interesting to consider how we’re choosing to use our voice within whatever situations we’re finding ourselves. Doesn’t it, potentially, make a huge difference? (Notes One)

Sometimes I wonder why we’d ever choose rudeness – what we imagine that adds or achieves. This gesture of throwing punches; putting people down; pushing them off balance. What purpose does it serve between us? Maybe it’s simply a form of idealistic attack or defence, this intellectual or personal sparring that’s seeming so commonplace now.

There must be a fine line between “people” and “ideas”, though: a subtle distinction between who someone is, the ideas their experience has led them to accept, and the life of those ideas themselves (Notes Two). It’s just seeming an increasingly blurry line. The lives we lead and ways of thinking that run alongside them – the theories, conclusions, beliefs, reactions – perhaps merging too closely for us to confidently split them apart.

Almost as if “our life” within any given society dictates our ideas, our concerns, our words and conversations. As if the circumstances of birth and opportunities of environment inevitably “shape” the thoughts that will appeal to us and attitudes we’ll have toward things. As if it’s all “there” and we simply step into our role, play our part, defend what we have or fight for what we don’t.

Do we just pick up what we find around us and give voice to that? Whatever ideas, prejudices or trains of thought surrounded us, taking up those threads and continuing the conversation on from whatever side we happen to choose. Attitudes about gender, assumptions around justice, beliefs as to life’s meaning or worth all becoming part of “our” conversation as we lend our voice to those time-worn ideas. (Notes Three)

Maybe we have no choice? Maybe all we can do is accept the ideas society hands to us and make them our own, somehow. Seeing life through the lens they offer us, casting everything in their light, and drawing somewhat similar conclusions. Ideas themselves existing within a certain set of theories on life, though, isn’t there almost an inevitability to where they’ll lead us? Potentially, into the same battles, divisions and gridlock.

So, while “saying what we think” may be an inalienable human right, the question of how we’re using it seems important. It’s amazing to think we have such freedom: that, of all we meet in life, we can choose to give voice to any number of beautiful ideals, values or sentiments. We can serve to defuse negativity or add to it; speak for the powerless or drown them out; shine light on hope or on despair.

As humans, isn’t the choice over how we’ll respond on the level of words an incredibly powerful opportunity?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Questions around choice
Note 1: What we create by our presence
Note 1: The difference humanity makes
Note 2: Joining the dots
Note 2: Frameworks of how we relate
Note 2: The thought surrounding us
Note 2: Going towards the unknown
Note 3: On whose terms?
Note 3: Where do we get our ideas from?
Note 3: All we want to do passes through community

Ways to share this:

Diplomacy and knowing where we stand

Beyond the fairly simple premise of “say what you mean and mean what you say” there’s clearly a lot of ground for doing otherwise: for white lies, social niceties, saving face, protecting feelings, greasing the wheel, subterfuge, and so on. A whole world of options between truth and illusion where we might choose to set up camp and live our lives. How, then, can we ever know where we stand?

Maybe the world would be a hurtful place if everyone said what they really thought – something like the “honesty” we find online, veiled by cloaks of anonymity. If people don’t know or care for one another, maybe honesty becomes more of a weapon than a helpful tool for establishing a sense of certainty, truth or trust (Notes One).

Thinking about life, though – about thought and language, communication and meaning – what are we doing when we veil our honesty in these ways? If “to be human” is to see the world in thought and seek to make sense of it, what does it mean if much of what we’re hearing isn’t entirely clear? If, behind almost every word, there’s subtext or context essential to rightfully interpreting any given fact.

Maybe it’s simply communication: words and their meaning; the added envelopment of relationship, body language or tone; then our ability to decipher it all and arrive at the correct “reading” of whatever information we’re receiving (Notes Two). Unravelling all the layers of any statement to determine the intentions of the speaker and context into which they spoke, though, seems to be becoming increasingly difficult.

Isn’t technology stripping a lot out? These bare words travelling out there alone, devoid of all that might’ve been meant to go along with them. The warmth and humanity of their origins potentially lost as they make their way into others’ psyches and take on whatever coating is placed upon them there. Don’t we risk being trapped in prisons of our own making? Viewing everything in the light of our own mind. (Notes Three)

As with many things in modern life, what seems simple has sometimes become strangely complicated. Conventions such as diplomacy having arisen within or between specific communities, groups or cultures, there must’ve been a reasonable amount of agreement as to their usage – a sort of unspoken code. Conversations also tending to take place behind closed doors, between known individuals.

Now, so many conversations seem to be these open, fluid events where people speak or listen from vastly different perspectives, backgrounds, agendas and sides. Without a firmly established set of conventions guiding these interactions, everyone seems free to take from them what they will and combine it all with the pre-existing contents of their minds however they see fit. (Notes Four)

I’m not sure where this train of thought is headed, but presumably we can’t really know where we stand? Communication might have got a lot “easier” and “freer” in recent decades, but the idea of understanding what it all means doesn’t seem at all straightforward.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Plausible deniability
Note 1: Is honesty actually the best policy?
Note 1: Seeing, knowing and loving
Note 1: Value in visible impacts
Note 2: What we say & what we mean
Note 2: Sensitivity & the place for feeling
Note 2: Reading between the lines
Note 2: What is it with tone?
Note 3: Joining the dots
Note 3: Does being alone amplify things?
Note 3: Conversation as revelation
Note 4: Social starting points for modern ways
Note 4: The sense of having a worldview
Note 4: Codes of behaviour

On the flipside, the value of “lying” was also one element of Is telling people what we want to be true a lie?

Ways to share this:

Can “how we relate” really change?

In life, can “how we relate” really change? Can the idea of human communication, relationship, and all the various ties between us actually be altered by new ways of being? Drawing us, through how we’re living, into new ideas of what human life’s worth and the potential value of getting to know one another and experiencing all the different ways to be human.

Relationship “must” be this fundamental human concept? This notion of how we stand next to one another, all the ways we’re alike or different, and how each person’s existence arguably serves to enrich our own. Isn’t it the foundation of community? All these ideas of mutual respect, awareness, interest, recognition, acceptance. All these points where our lives touch and meaning is established between us. (Notes One)

The ties between people – economically, socially, culturally, personally – seem so essential to understanding what life “is” and why it should matter: all the human faces, lives and stories that go into making the world what it is. While it might be quite a difficult aspect of life, it also seems quite a beautiful one in the sense that we “could” all be woven together into a picture of harmonious, appreciative coexistence (Notes Two).

Of course, that’s not actually what’s happening. More often than not, we now seem increasingly disinterested in and disconnected from the lives of others, living within these bubbles of our own ideas, experiences and beliefs about life. Modern life, for any number of reasons, seeming to connect us together and push us apart in fairly equal measure as we struggle with all the opportunities technology’s offering.

Having spun its tendrils throughout every area of our lives, it’s perhaps “natural” for it to be changing how we see things, relate, and the ideas we have in mind about life’s meaning. As the lens through which we interact with the world, it’s also seeming to reinforce – potentially, trap us within – our own perspectives, experiences, and thought patterns. (Notes Three)

Sometimes it just seems we might end up caught in our own ideas of life: seeing everything through this pre-conditioned lens that’s confirming whatever we already believe to be true. As if we’re so amplified by it all that the notion of others, their ideas and experiences, becomes drowned out or incompatible with our own, strengthened conclusions. All potentially quite isolated, overwhelmed, and intolerant of one another.

It’s fascinating to imagine how much technology might change us – how we talk, how we listen, how much we care. If “to be human” is to connect ourselves in relationship with one another through words, what does technology make of that? Given all modern life’s presenting us with, how much can we still “see” who others truly are beyond our limited, amplified notions of them?

Beneath it all, the richness of human life and experience seems so important – that, as human beings, we would retain interest in and concern for other people. What would it mean, then, if we started to lose that capacity?

Notes and References:

Note 1: What does community mean?
Note 1: Frameworks of how we relate
Note 1: Counselling, listening & social identity
Note 1: True relationship within society?
Note 2: Invisible ties
Note 2: Going towards the unknown
Note 2: The power of understanding
Note 2: Finding flaws
Note 3: Pace of change & getting nowhere fast
Note 3: Does being alone amplify things?
Note 3: Power and potential
Note 3: Joining the dots

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