In the last few days I have gradually become aware of a previously undiscerned theme that has characterized a number of my posts, and that I only got closer to discerning towards the end of my post on connectedness.
Specifically, I've noticed a pattern of concern in much of the debate on various internet sites that seems to indicate an almost frantic––and certainly agonized––search for effective connectedness. Another way of saying that, I suppose, is that I was detecting a widespread concern about the sensation of being alone. The evidence for this is probably most clearly seen not only in the degree to which the various contributions to the commentary on articles published in international journals, magazines, and even the daily press, are characterized by all of the interpersonal ploys I identified in MSOU (Chapter Seven: "Safeguarding Identity.") as protective of particular continuities of belief, but also by their apparently compulsive repetition.
Perhaps because of the assured anonymity of these publicly posted comments, my own impression is that they accurately reflect the dilemmas experienced by their authors. They also thus inevitably reveal the extent to which, at least for any particular population of commentators, their authors feel connected to or alienated from one another.
It is possible, nevertheless, I think, to distinguish two clearly distinctive groups of contributors. One group is reflectively responsive to debate (and therefore, of course, to meaningful connectedness). The other is not.
I hope you'll forgive me for my quoting from myself about this issue. It makes perhaps a larger statement than could be justified by the ruminations above, but I think it does epitomize the importance of the issue we are all in our own ways trying to face, or to avoid. (The quote is from page 139 in Making Sense of Us.)
Do we see . . . others as competing with us for very survival, or as fellows in the common endeavour of human existence?
In short, are we going to be able to transcend the characteristics that Carl Woese has discerned as "Darwinian" and fully engage in realizing the potential of a new biological era? My own very unsystematic trolling of contributions on the internet indicates that it's not likely to be easy!
You may not agree with my assessment (in the blurb on the back cover of MSOU) that our very survival as a species may depend on our resolution of the question posed above, but I'd be very grateful for other perspectives on the issue . . .
Please join in!
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