Some time ago I explained how I wanted to pursue the theme of interconnectedness on this blog and shared the feeling I had at the time that the key purposes of my blog were somehow being compromised by the way I was blogging. The blog had changed from a tool or servant that I was in control of and using to further my chosen ends, to a treadmill or dubious end in itself.
In EMS Explained on My Background page, I optimistically wrote when I started this blog:
. . . . . perhaps most importantly of all, it’s worth remembering that we’re all meaning-makers. We can’t help weaving webs of meaning with our words and stories, and when those meaning systems that we make mean a lot to us they shape our sense of who we are and of the world we live in: they also shape our actions and our relationships with others which in turn cannot help but change the world for better or for worse.
We need to ensure that the meanings that we make are really the best that we can manage. There’s a lot at stake. I hope this blog will help me and help you make the best possible sense of this rich and complex world in which we live. If we do it’s my belief we can build a better self and create a better culture for our children to grow up in.
I think the pressure to produce posts to weekly deadlines has caused me to sell that intention short at times. In an earlier attempt to get back on track, I posted a rather arrow-laden diagram of the ways that the arts, ecology, psychology and history were all overlapping spheres of understanding which I should be trying to integrate rather than deal with separately. I even began to look at how I might arrange my books to match as the picture at the top mockingly shows.
Even though I made strenuous and partly successful efforts in this direction, re-reading Easwaran’s excellent book on meditation, with the emphasis it places on slowing down and becoming more focused, made me realise how far I still had to go to redress the balance.
As a result, and having been forced by the pressure of other commitments to slow down the pace of this blog anyway, I can now see that I need to keep the pace slow and tread more lightly than I was doing. I’ve also realised that a different kind of diagram possibly captures where my focus needs to be in terms of my reading at least.
Obviously, as the pattern of Bahá’í life makes clear as does Easwaran’s book, relationships with other hearts and minds are key to deepening our understanding of reality, as are the processes of consultation, meditation and service. These are an implicit context for the processes of the diagram, which seeks to capture where my priorities need to be when it comes to my reflections upon my reading and any writing I do as a result. And the current attempt to reorganise my books is proving more successful – well, I think so at least (see photo below which samples some larger volumes).
I realise that there are many areas not mentioned such as philosophy and history. Philosophy, as my struggles to unpack Plantinga’s lines of argument in his brilliant Where the Conflict Really Lies should indicate, is for me an inaccessible realm of discourse by and large. I only tackle it when I have no choice. History, on the other hand, sends me to sleep. Information is all too often too far removed from human interest to hold my attention for long. I have learned more history from reading biographies than from anywhere else. Biography is not specifically mentioned as a separate item in the latest diagram because it supports my investigations of almost all the areas I have mentioned.
Basically though, I feel as though I need to move across all the areas delineated in a way that will deepen and integrate my understandings and draw my simulations of reality, my meaning systems if you like, far closer to what will always remain the ultimately elusive truth. There are aspects of truth that might be eventually accessible to us, and these lie within the first arc of dotted lines that surrounds possible meanings: other truths lie far beyond all possibility and are infinite in number.
I also need to be more open to the subliminal intuitions that emerge more slowly after marinating the mind in an issue of interest. That requires more time to mull over what I’m reading and experiencing, and how I’m writing about it, than I have been giving myself so far. Blog posts will therefore be slower to appear except for the occasional topical one and my usual recommended links.
Just thought you ought to know why the pace has changed and the posts have become more spaced out.