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~ Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska
The Tao of Now: What Do You Own?I like my space. Some people thrive having others around them 24/7; I need privacy and peace to regenerate.
But while I own my private time and space, I don't own real estate - an odd term, if you think about it. It's akin to 3D vs. 5D: which is more "real" depends on how and what we perceive.
On a recent Sunday night I parked my van in the Foundry Wharf lot. It was 7:30 pm, and the lot was empty save for a single sedan.
I've walked through this lot numerous times to reach the river, where I can gaze at the constellations as cool breezes caress my face. But I've never parked there before.
Two minutes after I arrived, a car pulled up. A man stuck his head out the window and inquired, "This is private property, right?" I'm used to strangers asking me all sorts of questions - I imagine I look both approachable and knowledgeable - so, thinking he wanted information, I replied, "Oh, I don't think so, as long as you don't park in an assigned space." He retorted, "Yes, it is, 'cause I own it."
Ah. Chastened, I started my engine and left. And began to wonder:
The Onus of OwnershipThis man may own property, yet not have access to the "real estate" of life: Empathy. Generosity of spirit. Wisdom. Love.
I once asked a dear friend, who had the resources to do so, why she'd never bought a house, especially since she cultivated a beautiful garden in her rented backyard. She replied with calm certitude, "In this life, I'm a dweller on the land."
How wise it is to live lightly, a dweller on the land, recognizing our true role here: to harmonize with the natural world. This perspective doesn't preclude holding title to a house, or even vast acreage; however, it completely recalibrates the meaning of "real estate": the property may be in your name now, but you know it's merely on loan - and not from a bank.
The future will be far less about "private property" and ownership, and much more about community and resource sharing. Social scientist Duane Elgin calls it voluntary simplicity: "The world is moving into a new era where the human community must work together if we are to realize a future of sustainable prosperity. This transition represents both a great challenge and an extraordinary opportunity. We are being called to make a shift toward green lifestyles, guided by the collective wisdom of science and spirituality."
Why Clairvoyance Can't Solve Complexity2020 is a powerful bootcamp about what the absence of community looks like; this rubberband is being stretched to its maximum in order to catapult us onto a stratospheric growth trajectory.
We're on the verge of a new level of being. I've long referred to the Internet as our precursor to global telepathy. Sociobiologist and futurist Rebecca Costa writes in her prescient 2017 book, On the Verge, about how technology has brought businesses and nations to the edge of clairvoyance - and why we so often fail to act preemptively on this foreknowledge.
Intriguingly, in both this book and especially in her inaugural offering, The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction, Costa refers to pandemic viruses as one symptom of a society that has evolved faster than our brains can adapt. At our "cognitive threshold," we react to "symptoms" such as climate change, terrorism, economic collapse and pandemics rather than enact solutions because their degree of complexity has outstripped our modes of thinking.
Einstein said we cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them. Winston Churchill agreed, "We are shaping the world faster than we can change ourselves, and we are applying to the present the habits of the past." And Harvard biologist/environmental advocate E.O. Wilson extrapolates: "The real problem of humanity is the following: We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology."
Meta-MindBut unlike our ancestors, today we have the means to "predapt," maintains Costa. She says we can "change the course of humankind by calling on the greatest weapon of mass instruction ever known: the human brain."
Think about that.
In July, I wrote about taking responsibility for our lives. This is the most crucial form of "ownership" available to us - owning our yes, owning our no, owning what we do, what we stand for, and what we won't stand for. The "real" (e)state of us is owning our truth, speaking truth, being power.
Innovation arises when we step outside typical/habitual patterns and surrender to the unknown. Even with technological foresight, the horizon holds mystique. Just as COVID-19 has sparked new levels of digital ingenuity, hanging out in the "I don't know" with an open mind/open heart brightens and broadens our brains.
Inspiration will find you. Insight will ignite new possibilities. And from there, we can e/merge into the meta-state that will shape our future.
Will you own it?
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