reembodying life

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‘When so much of our interaction with other people and with our environment is mediated by the invisible, the visible seems less worthy of our attention.’*

‘When we talk to robots, we share thoughts with machines that can offer no such resistance,  Our stories fall, literally, on deaf ears.  If there is meaning, it is because the person with the robot has heard him- or herself talk aloud.’**

Maybe four or five years ago, I was part of a cohort shaping four environments of communication (oral, print, broadcast, and digital), each separated by liminal space.^  We then offered ourselves as guides to others as they explored the nature of these environments, from the village fire – where, for terns of thousands of years, people would talk to each other, though there would would be only small – all the way to the digital where people message each other – though there worlds are huge.

I’d sign off as guide by suggesting to each group that they now knew things others did not – knowing how to live with the most valuable elements of each age of communication.

We know this isn’t the reality.   We’re clumsy users of technology, walking into each other because we on our smartphones as we walk down the street, or we send a text when once we’d pick up the phone, or actually meet another person.  The “so much more to conversation, print, and image are being lost to us.

I am clumsy too, disembodied and disconnected from my visible worlds by invisible ones – you may be in front of me, but I look at my phone when it buzzes.

Some will turn their backs on technology, but I want to learn how to be more creative in how I use it, with others learning how to value the oral, print, and, even, the broadcast ages towards a more connected future.

(*From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(**From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^These were based on Rex Miller’s The Millennium Matrix.)

a useful lament

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‘An artist is someone who brings new thinking and generosity to his work, who does human work that changes another for the better.’*

‘Several forces seem to be driving this global shift [the revolution from within]: the birth of civil society as a global force, the rise of the creative class, and the emergence of a new spirituality.’**

It is important to lament: to feel some grief or sorrow deeply until it changes us.

When we don’t lament long enough at something that is wrong or painful, it’s too easy to do nothing.

When we are caught in continuous lamenting, it’s too easy to do nothing.

Hope comes when we are moved to imaginatively and creatively make some change; perhaps first of all on our own, and then together with others.

I have hope in the future because of what each of us is capable of doing.

(*From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(*From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)

wave-particle people

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‘[A]ll matter has a “wave-particle duality,” sometimes acting as a particle and sometimes acting as a wave.’*

Most of what we know about the universe, we we’ve uncovered with the aid of instruments which extend our limited senses – including we now know that we exist within this wave-particle duality at the sub-atomic level.

It’s an interesting life-metaphor and, of course, we need no realities for a healthy life, though, most of the time, we can’t see how we are both particle and wave people

Sometimes we’re at rest, very much in one place; other times we are in many places at the same time.

We can physically be somewhere else, but thinking of home.  Or at home thinking of somewhere else.  Then we can we thinking of somewhere else and connecting with what happened there once upon a time, in some art or science or thinking or movement of people.

Our discovery has been that time is relative.  We can make great journeys of imagining or remembering and return younger than we ought to be.  It could possibly be that these imagining and dreaming journeys make us younger at heart than those who avoid them.

There’s another time-bending effect that occurs when we’re pursuing the things we love.  We speed time up – able to act faster and whisper more softly; these wave-effects presenting the particle-possibilities of ‘transformation, friendship, or love’.**

(*From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(**From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)

it isn’t a gift yet

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Creativity comes down to doing the hard work.

First of all, gathering together the imagining and thinking, and the evidence for possibility, whatever forms these take.

Then to begin mixing these together observing what happens, and seeing what begins to come into being. This feels a lot like experimenting.

There’ll be plenty we cannot or should not use, but some things will rise higher, or emerge, as the things to pursue.  Some would call this detachment and attachment.

Only then do we come to name, or picture, what it is we have to do, and something of how to go about it.

We have arrived at living out our gift. Not in some fixed way because at any time the other four steps can be moved through again.*

As this is about people’s lives there are some other things we can explore when it comes to the kinds of environment for these things to be developed.  Earlier in the week, I could only marvel at the way Michelangelo worked three-dimensionally on the unfinished statues my trip to Florence had been about.  Positing this, I imagined what a three-dimensional environment might look like.

Honour?

To be a person of worth and dignity with the freedom to act.

Nobility?

To be someone with skill and mastery.

Enlightenment?

To be a person who lives beyond themselves for the greatest purpose possible.

‘[T]here is an element of scarcity in what you do and how and why you do it, a combination of your story and your superpower.’** 

(*i’ve borrowed these steps from Rohit Bhargava’s Non-Obvious towards noticing trends: gathering, aggregating, elevating, naming, and proving. There are many other ways for describing the steps, but there are always steps.)
(**From Bernadette Jiwa’s Make Your Idea Matter.)

behold, a new thing

image

To behold the new thing, we have to be able to leave the old behind, at least to suspend our older way of seeing and understanding.

Our presence to more is weaker in the familiar – how much don’t we notice in a regular day?* – but stronger in the unfamiliar, where we find ourselves exploring our life’s labour, rather than our work or employment, where we identify more with our gift than with our talents.

The familiar often becomes caught up in heuristics, our personal ways of seeing and understanding derived from substitution (the real question for an easier one) and WYSIATI (what you see is all there is – an unwillingness or inability to move from our present worldview).

It is in the unfamiliar, though, where we grow our talents into a gift.

(*I noticed recently how I was overwhelmed with information on arriving for the first time at Florence railways station.  Only three days later, I knew all I needed to buy some tickets for Rome and could ignore all the rest.)

and i saw the earth turn

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Reported by a journalist attending a presentation by Leon Foucault in 1851 intended to show, by means of a rotating pendulum, that the sun was not moving around the Earth, but the Earth was moving invisibly around the Sun.

It still is.

Many things are invisible to us, and we have to slow down to notice them and sometimes indirectly.

I watched the people streaming into the long gallery, their eyes carried immediately to the figure of Michelangelo’s David standing high above the crowd of people taking their pictures.  For an hour I obseRved so many people quickly moving moving along to join the crowd, past the unfinished statues By Michelangelo that I had come to see.

What these figures show is what had to happen to the block of marble that once was David before he would be completed.  All the hard work, innumerable chisel strokes, hours and even years of work.

I was was thinking about our lives, how there’s so much invisible work we cannot bypass or ignore, and how, in so many ways, we’re never the finished article.

We cannot be rushed.  We are a mystery.

‘And I hope that there will always be an edge between the known and the unknown, beyond which lies strangeness and unpredictability and life.’*

(*From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)

it’s time

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“I will not die an unlived life, I will not live in fear of failing or catching fire.”*

‘Between the time a gift comes to us and the time we pass it along, we suffer gratitude.   Moreover, with gifts that are agents of change it is only when the gift has worked in us, only when we have come up to its level, as it were, that we can give it away again.’**

We live in a very big universe, and it seems a shame not to explore it’ though, we can explore only the tiniest part of it with our physiclly.  The rest of it must be explored by extending ourselves through our imaginations and in our thinking, and then, in our living on this Earth.

By this, I think we can be marvellously altered.

While we live, each of us has a particular gift to bring into the world.  While the gift reposes within us, it’s a potential gift, when we reposition the gift by developing it, then we can pass it on.

It’s taken four years to get here, but today it was time to view some of Michelangelo’s statues whose descriptions captured my imagination as soon as I read about them.  I’ve never physically seen them – until today.   Often mentioning these unfinished figures wresting themselves from the stone that appears to  hold them fast, they illustrate how each of us has the gift of a unique life and perspective to bring into this world.

(*Dawna Markova, quoted in the Northumbria Community’s Morning Prayer.)

(**From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)