Every great culture that embraces more than one people rests upon some original encounter, an event at the source when a response was made to a You, an essential act of the spirit.*
The goal can’t be quality, not for people anyway. It needs to be humanity. The rough edges of caring, improv and of connection.**
In or out?
It’s never so simple.
Whether you see it taking us four billion years or seventy thousand, anything to do with being human is never simple.
This is something Etty Hillesum discovered as a young Jewish woman in Holland under Nazi occupation. She strove for truth, but knew it was never simple, even as she looked at her imprisoners seeking to look beneath the cruelty of their words and actions:
to discover the small, naked human being amid the monstrous wreckage caused by man’s senseless deed.^
Martin Buber reflects on how human human is:
How much of a person a man is depends on how strong the I of the basic I-You is in the human duality of his I.*
In reflecting on Jesus of Nazerath’s use of the word “Father,” Buber proffers:
For it is the I of the unconditional relation in which man calls his You “Father” in such a way that he himself becoming nothing but a son.*
He terms this “actuality.” What, then, am I saying about myself if I call someone by a disparaging name of some kind? It is this to which I am blind and Buber’s seeing helps me be aware of. Patrick Woodhouse reflects on the work of Carl Jung:
Jung regarded “isms” as the “viruses of our day, and responsible for greater disasters than any mediaeval plague …”^^
This is the deeper truth.
The truth of what is that can lead us to the truth of what can be.
The journey of four billion years and seventy thousand years is not over.
(*From Martin Buber’s I and Thou.)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog: We can do better than meeting spec.)
(^Etty Hillesum, quoted in Patrick Woodhouse’s Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed.)
(From Patrick Woodhouse’s Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed.)