Unsumme

Statistics, numbers, and models are useful tools. Still, they have limits that we often forget. Are we too enamored with our access to and control over the world? To paraphrase Wittgenstein, at least the Ancients acknowledged a terminus. Today, we worship our limitless ingenuity. Perhaps we should return to Duns Scotus, who suggested creation itself is less-than-numerical. We should reserve for a mystery pulsating under each object.

Bait and Switch

The obscurantist elites… understood [long ago] that, if they wanted to survive in comfort, they had to stop pretending, even in their dreams, to share the earth with the rest of the world.

Bruno Latour in Down to Earth

Rockets and fireworks discharged, sending each on its course. One an escapist pipedream, another a fight for life. One dreams of another world, another knows we only have this one. One entertains, another inspires anxiety and hope. A technological eschatology reserved for a few, ever deferred for the many. To those hiding in their bunkers, stations, and dreamworld: Wake up, share the earth!

Becoming Who We Are

Unlike other world-shattering events, like 9/11 or the fall of the Berlin Wall, nobody will speak of what they were doing when COVID-19 swept around the world. Instead, when we look back, we’ll remember what we started to become: perhaps more aware of the vulnerabilities of our bodies, perhaps more in-tune with the rhythms of our souls, hopefully more compassionate with ourselves and others. For many of us it might feel like the world is standing still at the moment, but it is precisely at this moment that we can move towards our better selves.

Cups and Crosses

To sing is to pray twice.

Abridgment of Augustine of Hippo’s, “In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving.” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Bach wrote a coffee cantata, some of which he repurposed for his Matthew Passion. Coffee and suffering bound by melody. Bach seems to agree with Augustine: music is anywhere praise and passion meet. A cantata, a prayer is born every time care and confession kiss: on a cross or in a cup. Each sings a different timbre of life.

Kindness

From a rather selfish notion of sharing an isolation stroll with a little-known-about neighbour: a well-spring of kindness. Simple check-in messages. Daily pre-work power walks for processing. Meal exchanges. Shopping arrangements. A WiFi password. A washing machine. Paper for origami. In the shape of responsive kindnesses, belonging has settled in ‘next door’—and there’s room for more.

Quest-ion

The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.

Viktor E. Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning

A question suggests a quest. Anyone who asks starts a journey. Those who know have arrived, but is knowledge really so important? Wisdom is a quest and question. Arrival and truth is arrogance. If one sustains the mystery of even a single question for a lifetime, one is blessed with a meaningful life quest. A quest that gives something back for the gift we received: life itself.

Opening Up

All address, no doubt, contains at least silently these words: “I pray that you will listen to me.”

Jean-Luc Nancy in Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity

We all advertise, and each advert is an advent. We compose ourselves for others. No matter if such composition is online or in real life: the only difference between these two is the speed at which we advert, the former being ironically slower. One can question the content and form of a particular advert genre in terms of fashions, sociologies, psychologies, and so forth. Another question one could ask about our drive to advert, compose, and advent ourselves is, why do we do it at all? Why open oneself to the world, so it opens a slither for you?