Measuring for possibility

‘If you choose to […] you can do your own review.  Weekly or monthly, you can sit down with yourself (or, more powerfully, with a small circle of your peers) and review how you’re shifting your posture to make more of an impact.’*
(Seth Godin)

“One’s inner voices become audible.  One feels the attraction of one’s most inner sources.  In consequence, open responds more clearly to other lives.”**
(Wendell Berry)

Wendell Berry writes succinctly here on how important solitude is to us to hear what our lives are saying to us and to take those lives ore generously to others.  Maria Popova links these words to another of her Brain Pickings posts in which she offers some beautiful words from May Sarton’s Canticle 6:

“Alone one is never lonely: the spirit
adventures, waking
In a quiet garden, in a cool house, abiding single there;
The spirit adventures in sleep, the sweet thirst-slaking
When only the moon’s reflection touches the wild hair.
There is no place more intimate than the spirit alone:
It finds a lovely certainty in the evening and the morning.”^

Our lives have so much they want to show us but these things come to us in whispers compared to the loud, busy, brightly pulsating necessities of life.  Erich Fromm is writing about love when he highlights the issues in our capitalistic society which create something we don’t even notice:

‘The ownership of capital invested in […] enterprises is more and more separated from the function of managing them.’^^

What we have is disconnection.

We feel it though we cannot articulate it and often are unable to engage with it.  Society appears to want us to be content with our bread and circus, and have no use of subversive solitude that awakens us to the reality of the Matrix and owns the hope of being free for something more.  Elle Luna found herself writing The Crossroads of Should and Must not only for herself but for:

‘Anyone looking to follow the energy deep within their chest but aren’t quite sure how.’*^

Iris Murdoch sees what can happen when we imagine more:

‘We use our imagination not to escape the world but to join it, and this exhilarates us because of the distance between our ordinary dulled consciousness and an apprehension of the real.’^*

Though writing in the 1950s, Fromm perhaps description of what we might consider more detail to this life of dulled consciousness still feels to be how it is:

‘Modern capitalism needs men who co-operate smoothly and in large numbers; who want to consume more and more; and whose tastes are standardised and can be easily influenced and anticipated.  It needs men who feel free and independent, not subject to any authority or principle or conscience – yet willing to be commanded, to do what is expected of them, to fit into the social machine without friction; who can be guided without force, led without leaders, prompted without aim – except the one to make good, to be on the move, to function, to go ahead.’^^

In this last line we see the enemy of stillness and solitude, saving us from the dilemma of  our imagination becoming deeper and more free, where it’s unsettled loose to roam and wonder at the universe of possibilities it finds itself within.

(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Your soft skills inventory.)
(**Wendell Berry, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Wendell Berry on Solitude and why Pride and Despair are the Two Great Enemies of Creative Work.)
(^May Sarton , quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: The Art of Being Alone.)
(^^From Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.)
(*^From Elle Luna’s essay The Crossroad of Should and Must – also a book.)
(^*From Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good.)


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