Where is the Secret Garden in this City, shall I follow the voices of children?
So how much have I chosen this life? How much am I connected to others in this web of weaving. We talk of bloodlines. Of patterns of behaviour and learning being passed down. How much of those patterns are memories in our shared blood. How am I a memory of my ancestors; an imprint of ghosts reliving. And at what point does one life begin and another end. Is my life my own or how much of my life is a shared gift.
In this city lost, with souls rubbing shoulders pretending that they didn't choose this. Pretending not to care.
Some see but I am not one of them that this as isolated problem with certain families. This is a growing symptom of our country where Margaret Thatcher proclaimed "There is no such thing as society, there are individual men and women and there are families". In this statement where is the desire for community? Where is shared responsibility? Where is shared accountability?
I learnt in my psychotherapy training that it was only possible for a group therapist to keep in mind no more than 10 with comfort or at a stretch some argue a maximum of 15. This led me to pondering on whether there was also a geographical limitation on how much an individual could relate to/keep in mind. And so for me this combination of number of people and space are key to understanding how community is created. So following this train of thought I wondered how in a city or in country I could feel part of a community.
Recently I was listening to a BBC Radio4 debate on ethics where two very similar scenarios were given. First one: a person is given the choice of saving 5 people from a runaway trolley/train or another person who was standing away from the other 5. In order to save the 5 they would need to push a button to redirect that trolley/train and in doing so would kill a person they did not know. In the second scenario the person has to physically push the single person onto the track to save the 5 other people. Apparently when given these two scenarios more people are able to say that would push the button than push the person. This ethical dilemma is called the proximity question. And since hearing this question I have been concerned at the mentality which created such question. This reminds me of the experiments that psychologists did on baby monkeys to see how they survived without a mother ~ either with a soft cuddly toy or not. I had found myself tied in mental knots trying to figure out this ethical dilemma until the light came on and I realized that ~ We are dealing with the wrong questions.
This is a made up scenario. Last week I was in a situation in which I had not chosen to be part of. Where the people who I was with lied to me. They set up the situation partly through the rues of getting me to leave the scene temporarily. And so I was unwittingly implemented as I had come with them. On my return I was witness to police racial/class brutality against two 13 year old girls. I did not know where to turn. How to help the girls. I was frightened for myself too and had no where to run as more and more people came involved. Family and neighbours watched on. The girls were taken away in a police van and I left standing with the family and neighbours. With their mother asking why the police had been violent to her daughters.
This quote has been inspirational for me this last week as I struggled with what I felt was my impotence. As I have questioned what more could I have done? What more can I do now other than what I have done including making a formal complaint and talking to others helping their hearts to thaw and feel their hurt and outrage of that incident:
I have come to believe that every one of us is an activist, and that every action taken in the name of interconnection ~ every action that brings us closer to ourselves, to each other, to the planet ~ births a better world.
So when I see a person I do not know in pain, do I walk on by because I do not know them?When I hear that the tube train I am on is delayed and diverted because someone had fallen onto the tracks. Do I feel annoyed that I will be delayed by a person whose face I did not see, miles away from where I am? Or can I feel those threads that exist inside and outside of me shake and shiver. Daring to thaw my heart.
When our children rebel and refuse to answer the questions that we set them. Maybe we need to ask ourselves whether we are asking the wrong questions. If they answer in rudeness or anger it is time for us to step back and pause because we might just be asking the wrong questions. And those questions inform actions. Too often people presume and assume to know and understand. Have others speak our answers to our questions ~ the wrong questions.
So I hope to learn answers to questions that I did not know and are beginning to understand.