Considering How We Are is the motif for this website experiment. So how are is the we?
The impetus behind the blog and galleries is to promote our conversation. What should we be talking about?
Quite the questions right now. It would seem the question how we are right now is characterized most by the question how are we doing. How are we making out. And the conversation it would seem would be practical, not metaphorical, not about life as if, life is like this, not about meaning and purpose in life.
There’s a lot of uncertainty. Are we coming into a fourth wave? Are we having an election? Is anyone in authority really addressing the climate crisis other than the United Nations IPPC report saying it’s code red for humanity, where even their good news for some hope asks a lot of our public and as far as I can see around me, the public is driving cars wherever they want, whenever they want, filling up with gas with no thought to cutting back for the sake of the environment….OK. Long sentence: for a big uncertainty. Endless questions suggesting we are in some peril as a people, and personally. Our own stable future is threatened, at great risk of collapsing. It’s there in the back of our consciousness, and more under the surface, messing with us. Sure, 70% of us accept a climate crisis is at hand; 60% that it is human caused; but only 30% of us believe the climate crisis will affect us personally. One hundred percent of us know deep down that we are in crisis. What’s deep down inside us lives itself out in our lives, inevitably, either honestly or in aberration.
There is a pressing need to take care of ourselves, personally and civilly. A time to look to each other, have conversations, reach out to what binds us and secure ourselves in that.
The metaphorical, which is my bent on life and this experiment, is waylaid. When I was a DND cadet camp chaplain, we had a crisis in the field with hypothermia. I was accompanying some of the serious cases back to the base, my job to ride with them in the van for a few hours and keep them talking and awake. I had collected my things and was walking through the bush camp now in chaos carrying books. Someone thinking I was going to read or deliver a padre hour perhaps said “Padre, I don’t think it’s time for that now.”
So the metaphorical either becomes a luxury or an escape. Doesn’t seem appropriate. Or does it help us cope better? I guess it’s hard to focus on life ‘as if’ or ‘life is like this’ when our life is threatened. Hard to attend to questions about meaning and purpose when all seems consumed with righting a ship that is seriously floundering, and could well founder.
Metaphors might for some seem to go to the heart of the matter about questions of life or seem silly like a reference to ships foundering when talking about a climate crisis; or be a form of denial in place of taking action; speaking in metaphors may seem to be irresponsible, like reading books when young people are collapsing from hypothermia.
What kind of conversations are we going to have in the next ten years when it’s guaranteed the news we hear now -where the heat dome in Edmonton melting picnic tables, and fires obliterating entire communities, and floods devastating Germany and Belgium, and unprecedented drought in southern Manitoba rendering rich, lush farmland useless, now parched ground, for the first time ever -is only just the beginning of what to expect, of an intensifying New Normal
So there is a way forward. What should we be talking about? Talk to me!! How do we do this together, get together on this? Talk to me.