The uninquirer?

Living the same old same old (SOSO) and What You See Is All There Is (WYSIATI) is like trampling back and forth over soil until it becomes so hardened that it is hardly capable of growing anything.

But curiosity and inquiry can break open the most trampled down lives:

I was just barely holding onto the principle that the brain that generates the question usually generates the best answer.*

(*From Nancy Kline’s More Time to Think.)

A broken spirit and a contrite heart

It’s true that how we spend our days is how we end up spending our lives.*
(Bernadette Jiwa)

What if the life we are meant to live requires a broken spirt and contrite heart as we yield to who we are and to what must bring?

Just a thought.

“A dream,” he said, “as it goes whiffling through the night air, is making a tiny little buzzing noise. But this little buzzy-hum is silvery soft, it is impossible for a human bean to be hearing it”**

(*From The Story of Telling: Always, Sometimes, Never.)
(**From Roald Dahl’s The BFG.)

The person who jumped and became a hero

The hero is the person who finds their purpose in life and pursues it.

Some people are pushed and become a hero.

Others jump:

In all these tales, the hero begins by looking around his society and finding that something is missing […] decides to leave home, turn his back on everything safe and find a different answer.*

We don’t want to simply exist, we want to make a difference, for someone or something. There are as many possibilities as there are people. It’s how we move forward:

constant and longterm exchanges between many people may have no “economic” benefit, but through them society emerges where there was none before.**

What’s is it that you notice is missing and you must pursue?

(*From Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps To a Compassionate Life.)
(**From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)

Complexity to complexity

We use our imagination not to escape reality but to join it, and this exhilarates us because of the distance between our ordinary dulled consciousness and an apprehension of the real.*
(Iris Murdoch)

we transgress not because we build the new but because we don’t allow ourselves to consider what it disrupts or diminishes. We are not in trouble because of invention but because we think it will solve everything**
(Sherry Turkle)

I may have mentioned this before.

I was once involved in setting up a walk-through experience of communication through the ages. Based on Rex Miller’s book The Millennium Matrix, four spaces were created to mark the ages of communication: oral, print, pixels and bits and bytes. In between each of these were liminal spaces marking the transitional times of change.

Seven rooms in all.

I was part of the group of guides helping others to pass through each and pointing out to those who completed the journey that they now knew something others did not – tens of thousands of years of human tradition to call on when understanding and creating the new present.

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) defines competence in this way:

Competence is the ability to meet important challenges in life in a complex world.^

Increasingly complex times means change is happening more rapidly then ever, the liminal spaces appearing greater than those they connect. Yet we are complexity, too. Diverse individuals and communities bringing imagination to bear on reality.

As in all things, this complexity doesn’t express itself without practise, and this is perhaps one of the greatest challenges we face: to utilise our own complexity.

Some of the most important depth we can give to competency is to know something of our human past, how we have faced great challenges and overcome, finding ourselves possible of more than resilience. Rebecca Solnit caught my attention when describing her friend Marine, whose musical competency is deep, providing a metaphor for our imagination and how we hone it:

Marine was too interested in being a musician to be a real three-chord punk rocker, so she gravitated towards the more ornate and les ideological realms of rock and roll proper. She had a surprising knowledge of obscure cultural things, not only the classical music that had been part of her family’s life since a great-grandfather had hung out with great composers. She’d suddenly describe someone as having a beard like De Sade’s, empty an obscure term, wax lyrical about the baroque era or Saint Anthony’s temptations. I remember the delight she took in the profusely illustrated Audubon insect guide she acquired when she was living in Santa Monica, her fascination with the exotic species crawling around that subtropical global crossroads.^^

(*From Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good.)
(**From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^The OECD, quoted in Maureen O’Hara and Graham Leicester’s Dancing at the Edge.)
(^^From Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.)

Amazing technology

In short, the human being of the future, Homo techno, will be part animate and part inanimate, a hybrid of living animal and machine, a heart and soul fused to a computer chip. Everything will be changed. Everything is already changing.*
(Alan Lightman)

In play we may move below the level of the serious, as the child does; but we can also move above it – in the realm of the beautiful and the sacred.**
(Johan Huizinga)

Our journey as humans is not simply into complexity but always towards the simplicity possible on the far side of complexity, endeavouring never to lose ourselves in the machine, resisting becoming technology’s slave, but to be explorers of the beautiful and the sacred in which we feel ourselves most alive.

In the universe’s eyes, you are already the most amazing of “technologies.”

(*From Alan Lightman’s Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine.)
(**From Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens.)

Anyone good at maths?

There are a hundred billion neurons in the average human brain, and each neuron is connected by long filaments to between a thousand and ten thousand other neurons.*
(Alan Lightman)

Those filaments are where we find our individuality and our connection with a bigger world. All the choices we’ve made, the things we’ve been curious about and endeavoured to find out more about, and then getting creative over some things and not over others.

They’re not a fixed number, new ones getting thrown out by neurons and connecting to others all the time.

It’s absolutely amazing and it’s why I keep telling people there’s never ever been anyone else like them in all of human history.

And it all means that thing you feel you must do, that’s unique, too; I just hope you bring it. Perhaps today?

(*From Alan Lightman’s Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine.)

The askesis and the scenius

A sacred space is not a place to hide out. It is a place where we recognise ourselves and our commitments.*
(Sherry Turkle)

[Scenius:] a whole scene of people who are supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas and contributing ideas**
(Brian Eno)

Not to be confused for one another.

Askesis is the inner place where we identify and embrace who we are and what we must do.

A scenius is that one person to many with whom we’ll make a ruckus, as Seth Godin would put it.

Something common to both is listening, not only with ears and eyes but also with hearts. Listening is an art I’m still trying to learn; it involves putting ourselves “one down,” effectively saying to one another “this is about you, not me.”

(*From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**Brian Eno, quoted in Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work.)