Jackson Van Maanen April 27, 2016

One wouldn’t have to listen to too many pop songs, attend many sociology lectures, or experience many tragedies to both hear and understand the sentiment that ‘we’re all in this together’.

What we do or don’t do has an effect, whether on our own person, our friends and family, the environment, those we are unconscious of – which in turn causes reactions to either bite or better us.

We are in a cyclical state of existence where every effect has a cause, every action a reaction, and every behaviour a conviction of some sort.

In our ability to transcend mere instinct by both giving and interpreting meaning to and from subjects, objects, and experiences through the use of language, we are able to appeal to a moral conscience that enlightens us to the effects we have on our fellow Earthlings by virtue of merely existing.

Whether you self-identify as a theist, agnostic, or atheist, this matters to us all. What we feel are the things most true, reaching far beyond the intellectual commitments that we make.

I am most deeply convinced that I am in love when I feel it, not when I make a logical case for my love. Furthermore, my feelings are only furthered by not reliant upon my intellectual convictions, generally (and I sincerely try to avoid this where possible) not the other way around.

For all of us, the notion of interdependence is primarily an existential one. It hurts us when others act to the demise of human flourishing, and similarly lifts us when we see ones doing well to their other.

As Jesus once said,

“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31

In that short statement, Jesus is nailing down on a core aspect of our being. We not only know what we would have done as unto ourselves, but we feel it when it either does or doesn’t happen.

This, if we have any sense of conviction towards human flourishing, should spur us to reform the way that we think and behave on a much deeper level than a sentimental idea that we intellectually appeal to.

We must feel it. We feel by having a relationship with the world around us, and seeing ourselves in a narrative much wider than our own. I understand my own suffering in light of the world’s peripheral action, and how it affects those around me and myself.

By feeling, I can truly have compassion, truly have cause to better the world in which I live and the varying degrees of relationship I have with everything, in which I have a part to play.

In this state of conscience, I can’t be naïve to my impact in our world, because I’m definitely not naïve to yours.

I experience it.

Your smiles give us joy. Your grief causes us to mourn. Our litter worsens the environment that we all live in. Our hate causes hurt and hurt people hurt others. Our love causes restoration of brokenness and restored people restore.

It’s the children you teach that betters our future economy and the conversations you have that empower intelligent, progressive advances in our society. Your art inspires us.

We all came from the same place. We all exist in the same world, and we all want the best for lives within it.

This isn’t a task for one or a small group of people. Interdependence is a state of being that we all involuntarily adopt, and voluntarily make the best of.

After all, we are all in this together.


Originally posted on Deus Culture with the title What Sociology, Ben Lee Songs & Tragedy All Have In Common.