Saturday, August 06, 2005

Intention

After awaking from a grog and posting earlier this week, I received a variety of responses (both online and offline). One person thought I might be suffering depression, while another suggested canceling satellite could only be a sign of insanity. And oddly, enough many identify with my rambling. Several people suggested that we need to become our own gatekeepers in this less than brave new world. (See comments and ecommunity)
I agree that personal passivity can be a perilous position in this postmodern milieu. We must cultivate thoughtfulness in our actions and relational patterns. Not thoughtfulness as in kindness but thoughtfulness as in living by intention instead of on autopilot. While we may have difficulty verbalizing our value system, it influences our decisions nonetheless.
So it might be helpful to think about what we value and how these values do or not shape our actions. Is our inner world congruent with our outer world? For instance, I may think that I really value relationships and community, but do I act in ways that encourage or discourage community.
When we live passively, there is a tendency to drift toward incongruity. I may complain about lack of time while wasting precious time on mind-numbing activities. I may complain about financial pressures and at the same time accrue more debt on a daily basis by purchasing needless luxuries on credit. These personal incongruities cause stress among other things.
Living intentionally is not as easy as it sounds. Over 10 years ago, I studied community at graduate school and professed my belief that forming healthy, long-lasting relationships is fundamental to being human. I confess that after 10 years of seeking to live more intentionally, I am only beginning to realize the weight of such a commitment.
So the first challenge/question we face is learning to live intentionally in a culture that may view this at times as subversiveness. And I ‘m not talking about some communist regime. For example, anyone who chooses to walk away from the consumerist calling of the average American may considered strange at best and possibly dangerous (cultish) at worst.
One prime example of this might be living in such a way that you believe human life really is valuable—or embracing a culture of life as the late John Paul II would say. The ramifications of such a position will often turn both liberals and conservatives against you.
There is another challenge. In addition to becoming our own gatekeeper (learning to live more by intention and less by drifting), we also face the challenge of living in society. I, the one, live with other people, the many. The challenge of the one and the many has been a question that cultures throughout history have struggled to balance. This is the challenge of balancing universality and particularity. Are we all one as some would imagine? And if not, what keeps us from falling apart into absolute chaos?
But more on that later.

1 comment:

Q3 said...

hope you didn't get late to the reunion for this post