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Concerns of ages


These thoughts started arising in me while remotely connected to the Lancaster Quaker Meeting for Worship on this day. Elaborated later on in the day.

We will all get old, and die one day. What of those dying in future generations? Some of our current questions may have passed, but there will be other questions which are likely to be just as perplexing, if not more so, which will not be answered when they die. Thus, it seems neither better nor worse to be born into one generation rather than another.

My sense of the questions we need to address now is, not what will happen after we die, but questions like these:

  • What is calling us to do, here and now, as our contribution to life, in this, our present moment?
  • How can we best connect up with the ongoing chain of life?
  • What is our part to play, and how can we open ourselves to play that part?

These stand in contrast to, say: who will win the next football match, the next contest, the next election, the next battle, the next conflict? Will there be yet another war, despite our efforts, and what will be the outcome? All these questions preoccupy us, and seem important here and now. While a football result may not threaten our lives, a war may well. But in the longer term they will be less and less significant. So, again, what is ours to do, here and now, in the perspective of the long term (if not the eternal — Sub specie aeternitatis?)

Abundance or scarcity?

Our sense of scarcity or abundance is obviously shaped by our own childhood experiences. My scarcity from age 7 was of human warmth, touch, comfort. So what I crave in (or as) abundance is just that. Others in other places or in past ages may not have had enough to eat. So they will crave abundance of nourishment. Likewise with money; or attention; or safety. Or even down to the detail of having been unjustly deprived of ice cream, or bananas.

For a little more detail on my case, I felt abandoned at the age of 7, when I was sent away to boarding school. Teal Swan's recent short is pretty close, and served to remind me that my real feeling was of abandonment. For sure, not nearly as bad as some other people's, but still, abandonment. The need that results from my own trauma is the need for abundant connection.

And, naturally, that obviously relates to healing narratives. My healing narrative becomes: (a) what's wrong with the world — lack of connection; disconnection … (b) what will heal my world — abundant connection … (c) how do we get there: the commons? community? co-living? polyamory? relating in collectivity? (All themes that I keep coming back to.)

Switch to you now. What has your trauma been? → your historic scarcity? → your yearned-for abundance? → your healing narrative? So, for example, were you brought up in poverty, and now strive for serious wealth? Were you brought up as one in an oppressed minority, and now strive for justice, equality, recognition, respect? Were you brought up being ignored, with scarcity of parental or adult attention, and now strive for fame, status, being someone special, to have that abundance of attention? Were your ideas repeatedly dismissed, and do you now strive to be always in the right?

How can we, together, stop each one struggling to prioritise his or her own scarcity-trauma-related healing abundance, and connect it all up to something bigger, more important, more significant than us as individuals, who will, sooner or later, be forgotten?

Back to thinking global, acting local

The common phrase is think globally, act locally; my recent variant is “trust in local, reach out global”. With this in mind, how might we pool our personal scarcities, along with what we have in abundance, and look outwards, together, at the global trauma? Here are the kind of questions that come up for me around this.

  • How can we help each other put our own trauma in the context of the global trauma / metacrisis?
  • How can we see the connections; to see that our trauma is genuinely part of something bigger, not just ours alone?
    • (“Oh, what, you mean other people feel like this, too?”)
  • How can we then act in kindness and healing towards ourselves, but with awareness and connection to its meaning and significance globally?
  • How do we see, not just conceptually, but taking it in internally, that the wounds of the others are just as much ours as well, even if what comes up in us is linked to our own history, locality and personal embodiment?
  • What kind of solidarity would this mean? Not, everyone trying to right all the wrongs of the world together (way beyond our capacity) but everyone doing their own part while holding awareness of the connections and synergies with others?
  • Can we develop our own local trust networks that support us personally, and then allow us to transcend the local in the significance of what we take on as ours to do?
  • Can we relate this to alternative systems of exchange, like mutual credit or credit commons?

This personal global balance looks to me connected to the balance between present and future. When we open our awareness to the global and the future, and draw that into the present, then we can have what T S Eliot called “right action” in part V of The Dry Salvages, Four Quartets. It feels paradoxical, perhaps, but to me it is only in this kind of paradox that I find any substantial truth.


d/2023-12-10.txt · Last modified: 2024-01-07 04:44 by simongrant