A tag-line is intended to convey an impression, a first impression of what lies within.
Brevity wrestles with legibility and it can be hard to tell which one wins out.
We are expected to know what to say. To know what to do. To have a plan…
But we are hit by moments of pause. It’s becoming increasingly clear there’s something terribly wrong with this entire way of operating.
We may talk, but we find it is increasingly not in anything we recognize as our own voice. Tired of mouthing platitudes. Chiming into verbal fights whose battle lines are drawn between caricatures, positions leaning away in one idealogical direction or its opposite. Neither “side” reflecting any of what we have discovered within our own direct experience. We yearn for clarity. Hunger for coherence. We’re isolated.
At times, much of the time, I’m afraid, it seems no one else cares to carve out a different way of living. Trapped in our own alienation, our precarity ever more tangible, we seek community.
All of these elements are part of a single dynamic. The lack of a voice we can own. The lack of a coherent and clear way of seeing and sharing what we see going on; within us, between us, among us. A lack of a viable sense of community. These each feed on the others. They all exacerbate each other. They leave us in fear, falling into despair. Our alienation showing no signs of relief.
These are all one thing. They can also be turned around. Turned around by taking each in order and finding ways to build on each small gain in one by discovering how it helps us work on the others.
Finding voice, its not a question of digging in, becoming more strident, unleashing anger and frustration. We’ve tried those. In the end they strangle us. Cut off our true voice. Make us more confused and shatter our remaining connections.
Finding voice we recognize is tied into discovering and acting on compassion. Our oppressors’ demands so well internalized we need to break their grip before we can connect with the wellsprings of our own voices. As we begin, this process feeds itself in a virtuous cycle. Our strength grows and with it an increasing acceptance that allows our voice to feel it can present itself.
At this point we don’t know what to say. We recognize we don’t have a plan. And we begin to feel relief instead of anxiety at this prospect. The tyranny of expectations beginning to lift.
As we interact with our own voices – yes, they’re likely to be more than one! And then, as we find and interact with others and their voices. A new kind of clarity emerges. Not the enforced certainties of dogma and ideology. Not a strangled sentimentalism. We see. The fog parts here and there – even if only for scraps of a vista. But one thing stands out. What we see in those moments is clear. It doesn’t require that we convince anyone, least of all our selves, to believe.
As these moments provide their own scraps of a view we glimpse a wider vista. And again, the parts add up. Instead of our habitual expectation that we must look away; ignore, discount what we are afraid to face; this new clarity has the opposite effect. There is a coherence to what we begin to put together. This coherence brings us the strength to see that there is another way besides fear and anger and hiding within illusions. We encounter a Joyful Disillusionment. A product of clarity and the coherence it gives us access to.
The next step, the one this site and this work is aimed at, is to build on these foundations.
We need community.
In the past we have attempted to build community on pacts and contracts. We’ve modeled our lives within a narrow course in which the whole of human nature was to be reduced to a series of negotiations between atomized individuals. Even our totalitarian systems took this for granted. Their difference from more optimistic regimes only in how they blatantly strove to ensure that certain individuals had the upper hand.
None of these have worked. Whatever their differences they have all led us consistently deeper into an Enormity. Our troubles multiplying, not in spite of but precisely because of the incoherence such a narrow perspective ensures in the face of the infinite complexity of life.
How else may we attempt to forge community?
This is the question of our time. We have insights and intuitions that lead us to put our efforts into seeing if this path, passing from voice through clarity might just be a way.