During the call which ignited this piece, a story of a young child who has been notably unsettled through the turmoil of the pandemic was shared. Most of us have found the year at least unsettling, it would be odd not to, but the tale sparked a whirling of ideas that have been dancing together a while. Within these, the thought of such upset prompted me to consider how we react to anxiety. Many paths led to a felt need for stability. I began to wonder about our cultural desire to feel stable and how it impacts what we do, what we believe and how we might or might not take this opportunity to change in ways we cannot yet perceive.
My offer plays with our apparent passion for enforced compliance and facades of stability and tendency to hold too tight and for too long to these collaboratively generated illusions, distracting and/or anaesthetising ourselves when the fantasies fade. It is written in hope that we will one day stop passing our socially-constructed yearning for stasis to future generations, and step towards honouring our role as part of our wonderful environment: move from being the stubborn, arrogant parasites we have become. In a world in which flux is the only constant, if we refuse to go with the flow we will swiftly drown.
While writing this I have ventured down many rabbit holes and produced much which is currently only fit for toilet rolls. I have settled for a submission of selected musings which have recently woken me in the early hours. Together they culminate in expressing my fear as this year passes, that all of the energy expended to move to the edge of a potential portal might have been spent for nought, as our collective wish for what seems stable may override the critical need for fundamental change.
“All Our Futures”: Imagine if…
Imagine if we actually encouraged our children to hold less tightly onto that which they believe they know and thus always continue to be curious about everything.
Last night I watched the RSA (The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) tribute to Sir Ken Robinson, a man who has inspired many and whose words have helped me much this year in my ongoing search for my element. It sent me back to the drawing board as I realised there was no point in trying to produce an opus. I have nothing new to say here that has not been beautifully articulated already.
My question, therefore, is what is stopping so many of us encouraging the true opening of minds and nurturing of understanding?
Rabbits and Holes
In his book Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder describes the universe as a rabbit in a magician’s hat and babies as born on the edge of the rabbit’s fur, where each time there is a trick to behold, their young, bright eyes can be captured and dazzled by the wonder of it all. As many of us grow older and become adults, he describes part of this maturing process as choosing to move to “safer” places and burrowing into the rabbit’s fur, where we are no longer able to perceive the magic.
What encourages this to happen? Why do so many of us ignore the white rabbit beckoning us into Wonderland and choose apparent stability in our own, deeply crafted and ordered warrens, accepting futures more akin to the tales of Watership Down?