“It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time – literally – substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.”**
We are the Noticers of the universe.
We notice all there is. And there are so many things to notice that no individual or group can claim to have noticed all that is important. Together, then, we notice in diversity and then we connect diversity. Noticing is our way of ‘revealing the inherent goodness, truth, and beauty in everything’.^
One of the greatest noticers I’ve come across is Annie Dillard – her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a wonderful observation of all the life in a small space she visited over a year or so:
“Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. … Otherwise creation would be playing to an empty house.”^^
Noticing in the way I’ve been outlining has about it a wisdom that lies beyond simply being data or information or knowledge. There’s a wise life on the far side of noticing, it is a simplicity and coherence on the far side of complexity. Erwin McManus suggests as much when he notices how:
‘There is an elegance and beauty to wisdom. She brings simplicity out of complexity.’*^
When we begin noticing, the reality is we don’t know the answer when we start out. In the second of my opening quotes, Peter Drucker envisages societies with increasing choice. In recent times there’s been much research into happiness and wellbeing, into talent and imagination, into innovation and artisanship. I see these things as the expressions of growing choices in society, which will lead to more. Not all will know just what to do with this, as Drucker posits, but we have this incredible opportunity to live in unprecedented ways of human fulfilment.
It’s probably more of a hope than a belief, but I personally trust the many to do more with what they have than the few have done with so much in the past.
We are, as our opening quote from Rainer Maria Rilke protests, unfolding. Religion, politics, despots, cultures, industry, and education have folded us up. Anne Lamott has to admit, ‘folded feels like home, small, familiar, hugged.’^* It’s why we’ll struggle to explore our unfoldedness, but then we remember, foldedness is what we moan and groan and seek to sabotage in conscious and unconscious ways, and we turn to our stories. Our stories are were we encourage and evaluate our unfolding. We do not know the end at the beginning, but, then, neither is someone else writing our stories for us.
Today’s doodle reminds us that what we have the opportunity to do is to curate our lives, to curate more together – curation as another way of thinking about story. Curation does not include everything but selects, arranges, refines, reduces, displays, simplifies, presents, and explains.
Weniger aber besser = Less, but better.
(*Rainer Maria Rilke, quoted in Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway.)
(**Peter Drucker, quoted in Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)
(^From Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance.)
(^^Annie Dillard, quoted in Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance.)
(*^From Erwin McManus’ Uprising.)
(^*From Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway.)