Belonging we do not see and belonging we choose

Most people are not even aware of their need to conform.  They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists that they have arrived at their own opinions as a result of their own thinking – and that it just happens that their opinions are the same as those of the majority.*
(Erich Fromm)

You were sent to the earth to become a receiver of the unknown.**
(John O’Donohue)

Outside my home this morning: twelve magpies pecking around together.  I find myself reminded of the rhyme about magpies, considered to be a bird of ill omen, as well as the children’s TV programme of the same name, ITV’s to rival the BBC’s Blue Peter:

“One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.”

I am not sure what twelve magpies mean, but here where a dozen birds, all black, white and blue, hanging out together.  We can look out with people who are just the same as us but we don’t have to.

As I read more of Rohit Bhargava’s non obvious trends for 2018 he describes another, that of backstorytelling.  Bhargava is thinking of how companies are increasingly telling their backstories as part of their marketing … and I’m thinking of listening to the backstories of others, how we each got to be here, as a way of breaking out of our ways of understanding and belonging:

‘The hearing ear and the seeing eye—the Lord has made them both.’^

(*From Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(^Proverbs 20:12.)


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