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.
When last did you stumble across a piece of narrative that somehow pierced through the present to the reality of your past? A story offering to diagnose your own unspoken, yet deeply personal experience. The protests of the soul are often sparked by the restlessness of an undelivered message, simply yearning for the restoration of peace
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!
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.
To me, at the very core of contentment lies a sense of being present. Acknowledging the unchangeable past and facing the uncertain future. Not standing in opposition with your life story, unfolding. A moment, a bookmark rest, to take in the content up to now. A pause before steadying onwards to what may follow.
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.
When you finally let it answer you, it might feel a little ear-deafening. It’s only right when we’ve made it something to be which it’s not: a void instead of a vessel. Isn’t it funny how we often need a power cut to be empowered? A confinement to be set free. Silence to truly see(k)
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.
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
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