The teenager, out late with his friends, pulls someone off their bike, then spits on them and punches them in the face.
My son is okay, thankfully, and he could only think that this was some kind of dominance display by this teenager in front of his friends.
What appears to be strength is often weakness, and what is weakness is really strength.
There is an adventure in life which only comes through goodness and kindness, and the way to it is through the observed life.
‘The ego self is the unobserved self. If you do not find an objective standing point from which to look back at yourself, you will almost always be ego-centric – identified with yourself instead of in relationship to yourself.’*
I know my biggest obstacles are those which lie inside of me. This “shadow” me, when unobserved, controls me without me even noticing. To notice the ego is to disempower it: this me who is less than I really can be: my false self.
‘When we lack integrity, we find ourselves several people depending on the circumstances.’**
The way to my future Self opens up. I’m able to take my turn and bring my contribution into the world.
For Edward Deci, integrity means people can ‘persist as themselves in a society that is always shifting underfoot’.^
Like our understanding of what it means to be human?
My friend Alex McManus suggests we’re being pressed from two directions when it comes to our understanding of what it means to be human: from the natural world – ‘The gap between our species and other animals is closing as we grow in our understanding of animal intelligence, emotions, self-awareness, and culture’ -and from technology – machine and human growing closer.^^
All the time, we are becoming more human.
I sent these words to my son from the beginning of today:
through the violence of these days.
In all your ways.*^
Beginning with yourself.
(*From Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now.)
(**From Erwin McManus’s Uprising.)
(^From Edward Deci’s Why We Do What We Do.)
(^^From Alex McManus‘s February 2016 Dispatches From the Future.)
(*^Paul Field, from the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer for 19/2/16.)