How do we stay engaged in our current cultural moment, while also recognizing the deeper forces of time and history?
At one level, there is pressing urgency in our cultural moment. The whole affair appears to be coming apart at the seams, with divisive rhetoric in the majority of our mainstream news media. There is a woeful lack of appreciation for our shared humanity, from both sides of the political spectrum. There is a tendency to demonize and villainize people. There is a lot of extremism. Lots of “ism’s” hurled with disdain at the other side.
At another level though, these are inevitable disturbances in the sea of existence. We can take it all in with an awareness of deep time: billions of years of life on this planet. The issues do not go away, but they take on a different meaning when viewed in this wider context. They don’t feel so personal.
This is the tension I’m pointing to. The tension between being engaged directly with our social and moral dilemmas on the one hand, and recognizing the vastness of the universe on the other.
We are constantly bursting forth into each new moment. Trillions of streams of development unfolding simultaneously, across a wide range of time and space scales. From nanosecond transformations in your parietal lobe to the billions of years of evolution unfolding within your DNA. From tiny egg and sperm cells intertwining to the hurtling expansion of light at the edge of the universe.
How do we best situate ourselves in the midst of all this?