Touch 4 The very first step

Saturday, 4. July 2009


This continues from here

Touch 4

Out there is the world. It isn’t different for you than it is for me. It’s just what it is and each of us sees the parts that we see in the mood that we see it. The rich diversity is in us, not in the world, which is just how it is. A person in love might be embracing the world where once (s)he loathed it because (s)he felt unloved. That person in love might be someone who habitually grabs everything within reach and will therefore love the world in a greedy way. Or it could be a person who lives in anxiety and will love with caution that may extend to a fear of loss to come which sours the whole experience. Or both, or any of many further permutations of loving, appreciating, fearing, hating, letting go and trying to control, each of them further shaded by the vocabularies available to that person: their language, their talents, their gifts, their yearnings for what they were deprived of…

This year I see the world in a very different way to when I was a young man or when I was an infant, and though I can still remember the more dramatic aspects of all my earlier impressions, much of what has passed might as well be lost to me, so infinite has been the sense data in just my little life, all of it channelled through the broken operating system that is me; all of it tinged with regrets or coloured with hopes; all of it still in the process of making sense of itself.

But the world is still the world and there is an objective reality out there which no one can even begin to know fully but from which we attempt to derive a stab at understanding some of the rules as we go along, allotting our discoveries a huge diversity of names and filing them under art and science, spirituality, wisdom, poetry, logic, metaphysics, ethics, psychology, economics, whatever. They are only badly-written manuals to devices so complex we should pray every time we switch them on. We cannot know for certain, anything, nor even understand, for certain, the tiniest part of anything. We are not “at one” with it, though it is possible to feel that way when you close down your mind sufficiently and open your senses and your heart. Which is a miraculous gift that really should be the centrepiece of any life.

How far that is away from the world we have actually been creating for several thousand years, where the touch of one single human being can cause the deaths of thirty million others, where the touch of one voice singing one beautiful song that touches our hearts can touch thirty million people with joy from time to time. Such impact we have, even you and I, upon all the people around us while we are busy noticing mostly just what happens to ourselves and blithely assuming that what we see is what others see. This is not so.

You may not have a giant reach through politics or the arts but from moment to moment the mood of the people around you hangs in the balance, dependent to a great extent on your mood, your touch, whether you are snatching life into your private hoard or giving out life to them, generously, sharing the energy that is life and objectively present all of the time, noticed or not…

At this moment we only have a wordy word, a thinky word for this possibility. We call it empathy and though some people have come to worship it there are others who exploit it – and all of us treat as being “about me” rather than “about us”. What I dream of, what my imagination has devised, does not yet exist. It is a life in which what we now call empathy is merely a banal part of a sharing of our common aliveness in every detail, from the simple energetic transactions within a small group to the huge scale organisation of life’s resources so that every being may enjoy a share of the richness that so many are now denied. As yet, no one has been this conscious, this evolved.

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