We have two dilemmas that we are not able to ignore, and even then, we try. The first non-debatable dilemma is that we are mortal, that one day we will stop, our eyes will close, and we will no longer interact with this world. The dilemma is far reaching in that it is absolute and true for all living things, whether plant, or animal, or even fungus.
I am unsure of how my fellow travelers on the “cycle of life” handle this fact. Most of them have an instinct for survival, but does it follow that they have thoughts about our shared mortality? And then, we have the case of lemmings marching to the sea, falling from great heights off chalky cliffs. Have they some secret that they refuse to share?
As far as I know, it is only the humans who ponder mortality, and how to make sense of the reality/truth. Our unique gift from our Creator is to reflect on our dilemma, to find the reason for our life, and for our death.
For many people, the first dilemma leads to the second dilemma. We are not alone, and we must deal with how we interact with each other.
Should we focus on how we interact with other species? Well, yes! Considering that many species see us primarily as food, ending our pondering ability. I am recalling the young man who thought he had joined the community of Grizzlies in Alaska, only to find that his definition of community was one-sided. He was not a grizzly, but he became one with them in an absolute way.
We have so many phrases that speak of “birds of a feather flock together.” It is a weighty statement that goes far beyond describing a dozen or so pigeons sitting on telephone wires, or seagulls bobbing on the water’s surface in the harbor. Have you seen the murmurations of starlings? It almost appears that a collective mind joins in directing the flight, creating shapes with meaning that are beyond my understanding, but not necessarily beyond the understanding of starlings.
But I must admit, my priority focuses on my fellow humans. Perhaps there is a better chance of understanding, maybe even a chance of real community, and discovering through shared knowledge a new reality of our meaning.
The dilemma of knowing that we are not alone directs our attention to how we interact with each other. This is the heart of communication. We don’t have to communicate if there is no one to hear. Would we develop thoughts and the speech to give voice to those thoughts, if we were alone in this world? What if we were a single, long-lived specie? Roaming the earth for centuries, even eons, avoiding the accidental death, but still mortal. God could have given us the gift of self awareness, but would that have included communication?
Today I am thinking (Ha!) that I have a handle on the first dilemma. I understand, and have come to believe, that I am an immortal creature, that my lifetime on earth is not a complete measure of who I am, or what I am capable of knowing. Others may find that delusional, but I am not stuck in the world that I see.
Today, I was watching trees shake in the wind. Was I watching the wind? Or was I watching the trees react to the wind? Even my human brain can decide to watch the wind, and learn to see the wind that causes the world to react.
The Ruach HaKodesh! The Spirit of the Lord that moves upon the waters!
It then becomes a matter of influence. As I interact with fellow immortal beings I become aware that some do not agree in our shared immortality. I can not change their minds or alter their thoughts about this. I might however, influence them by my actions. I might cause them to see the wind beneath my “spiritual wings.” I can also use words to affirm what they might see, it wouldn’t hurt.
Still, I am left with an incomplete grasp of how to handle the second dilemma. We are not alone and our ability to communicate with each other is spotty. It is complicated by culture, language and custom. It is burdened by fear and mistrust. We are not alone, we are in this together, yet we live as if it is only our end of the boat that is sinking.
Influence requires more study and perhaps that is part of why I use this aspect of social media. I think, I write, and perhaps I influence, but only if the opposite occurs. Someone must read, and think, and perhaps then a thought is exchanged.
We are not alone, but is anyone out there!