Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Emergent and Organic

a bush grows wild on the desert floor

You can teach an old dog new tricks, just look at me.  For years, I resisted subscribing to Facebook, but more recently I decided to join in with the billion other users from around the world,  and do the Facebook thing. I have to say, I am really glad I did so. 

I sign onto Facebook every day, but to be honest, I don't really care that much about the content of what people post.  I am much more amazed at the process of how Facebook works. It teaches me a great deal about the nature of what we call "reality."

When I sign onto my Facebook page,  I see an endless flow of posts from a wide variety of people. If you didn't know better, you would think that this is the content that everybody is seeing everywhere. 

But that is hardly the case. The only posts I see are from people I have identified as friends. The only people who see my posts are my friends. Furthermore, every time I sign on, different configurations of  my "friends" are posting something.  This is what happens for each and every person who uses Facebook throughout the world. 

So, something new emerges in each and every Facebook  interaction - a billion people in every country throughout the world,  every minute of every day interacting on Facebook, and something new emerges and grows out of each interaction. Incredible!

Facebook is an icon. It teaches me something about the "reality" of everyday life - every human being interacting with one another everywhere, at every minute of every day,  and something new grows and emerges out of each and every interaction. 

We may think that we all see the same objective world. The opposite is the case. We create our own "realities." In a sense there is no outside objective world that can be seen by everyone in exactly the same way. Our realities emerge and grow out of every contact human beings have with one another.

This teaches me to be careful about my ideas about the "real" world. The world is a process of constant change, and my ideas are my ideas, which may be similar to other people's ideas, but never exactly the same. So, I don't cling onto my ideas too rigidly. 

This also teaches me to be careful with my ideas about God,  and It teaches me something about what it means to have faith in God.

I love the way Christian Wiman talks about faith in his book, "My Bright Abyss:"

Faith is not some hard, unchanging thing you cling to through the vicissitudes of life. Those who try to make it into this are destined to become brittle, shatterable creatures. Faith never grows harder. never so deviates from it's nature and becomes actually destructive, than in the person who refuses to admit that faith is change. 

Faith is folded into change,  it is the messy process of our lives rather than any fixed mental product. Those who cling to the latter are inevitably left with nothing to hold on to, or left holding on to some nothing into which they have poured the best part of themselves.

Just as all reality is emergent, organic and ever changing, so also my experience of God (my faith in God) is emergent, organic and ever changing - not as neat as a firm set of objective beliefs about God, held onto by everyone in the same way,  but way more exciting.

I think I'll sign onto Facebook now.






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