“If people would but do what they have to do, they would always find themselves ready for what came next.”*
This is an increasement. We are capable of more than we imagine.
‘Social media ask us to represent ourselves in simplified ways. And then, faced with an audience, we feel pressure to conform to these simplifications.**
This is a decreasement, a reduction. We are less than we can be.
‘Technology can degrade (and endanger) every aspect of a sucker’s life while convincing him that it is becoming more efficient. … The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free. … Most modern efficiencies are deferred punishment.’^
Friedensreich Hundertwasser‘s fifth skin^^ is the global environment of ecology and humankind. Reality is nature and it makes sense to live in harmony with our planet – What on earth do you think you’re doing? With a consumption rate of 1.5 planets, something’s going to give. Earth waits to see whether we’re going to run ourselves off the planet – giving it a chance to recover over several million years – or whether we’re giong to try and stick around a little longer.
“[M]ay you walk neither too slow nor too fast but always according to the laws and the requirements of the Road.”*^
‘When we embrace our responsibilities, we open up our opportunities.’^*
Hundertwasser lays out the possibility of alignment in our lives – alignment with those around us, with our planet, and with ourselves, – leading to an increasement.
This feels like what Richard Rohr calls the “sacrament of the present moment.”⁺ Every new generation has to revisit and rediscover this place of possibility. Whilst we can learn from the struggles of those who have travelled the Road before us, the challenges are constantly changing, shifting, morphing.
Alan Lightman describes an increasement moment really well for us. The young Lightmans’s been struggling with a research problem which just doesn’t want to open to him. As someone who choose to explore both science and mystery, he writes:
‘I woke up about five a.m. and couldn’t sleep. I felt terribly excited. Something strange was happening in my mind. I was thinking about my research problem, and I was seeing deeply into it. I was seeing it in ways I never had before. … And I had absolutely no sense of my self. It was an experience completely without ego, without any thought about consequences or approval or fame.’⁺⁺
We’re rediscovering how to align to those things which make life richer, stronger. I began the first of five blogs pondering the words of Joseph Campbell who said that mythology for our time would be difficult to find for some time – things are changing to0 fast to be mythologised.
I wrote about how Hundertwasser’s five skins have a feeling of reaching for a personal and societal mythology to live within. Campbell pointed to myth having four functions: the mystical (we are people of wonder), cosmological (science filled with the mystical), sociological (supporting social order), and pedagogical (how to live a human lifetime).
There are other myths forming, but this is one: to align our lives to ourselves, to our outside world, to our creativity beyond straight lines, to one another, and to our planet, is more than useful for some increasement.
(*George MacDonald, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^From Nassim Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes.)
(^^Here are links to the other four: epidermis, clothing, home, identity and social environment.)
(*^The character Madame Lourdes’ blessing on Paulo Coelho in Coelho’s The Pilgrimage.)
(^*From Erwin McManus’ Uprising.)
(⁺See Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now.)
(⁺⁺From Alan Lightman’s A Sense of the Mysterious.)