what are you going to replace that with?

‘As we seem to grow further apart from one another, as our phones become more attached to our hands and our politics to our hearts, we need empathy more than ever.’*

These words from Hugh Macleod are connected by Erich Fromm for me to some from Erwin McManus; firstly Fromm:

‘If one is aware of oneself without at the same time making steps which are the consequences of the new awareness, then all awareness remains ineffective.’**

‘Integrity not only harnesses our passions but focuses our intentions.’^

Awareness that does not lead to things happening is not awareness at all.  It promises the possibility of moving from a less desirable past to a brighter future.  Increasingly, though, Sherry Turkle highlights a concern she has identified in researching human interaction with robots and with confessional  websites:

‘Each act makes the same claim: bad feelings become less toxic when released. […] In each, something that is less than a conversation begins to seem like a conversation.  Venting feelings comes to feel like sharing them.  There is a danger that we will come to see this reduction in our expectations as a new norm.’^^

We haven’t needed to wait on technology to avoid doing something when we become aware of something else.  Instead of calling her son, with whom she has had a profound disagreement, Anne Lamott confesses to going shopping, knowing exactly what she was doing – there’s more to life than “letting ourselves off the hook” or  “getting away with it.”:

‘What’s wrong with this, aside from its being expensive, squandering our time and money, distracting us from life, and wearing off?’*^

Walter Brueggemann’s offers a process of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation for moving from the past to the future.  Becoming aware orientates us to something, disorientating us in our present way of being, leading us towards a more hopeful reorientation – not a return to the past but the opening of a better future.^*  It can only happen in the deepest places of our lives.

Our lives aren’t fixed and there’s hope in the way the universe had produced us with the greatest plasticity.  Kio Stark counsels us, then, to be very suspicious of anything that suggests otherwise:

‘But turn your most suspicious eye on theories that say humans are hardwired for anything.’⁺

(*From gapingvoid’s Naturally Irrational.) 
(**From Erich Fromm’s The Art of Listening.)
(^From Erwin MacManus’ Stand Against the Wind.)
(^^From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(*^From Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway.)
(^*Richard Rohre mentione Walter Bruegemann’s process in The Divine Dance.)
(⁺From Kio Stark’s When Strangers Meet.)

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