Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Becoming We

We are here. That much we know, and we are trying to figure things out. We have things we want to protect, and things we want to change. The world is complex, ambiguous and uncertain and our biology and experience prevents us from ever understanding. We see depending on what we have seen. We learn depending on the path we take.

I approach this quagmire by trying to deconstruct my identity. I don't like the part of building tribes that separates me from other people. I want to learn more about how to build communities. Part of that requires investing less in 'finding yourself' and more in listening to the stories of others. In order to understand those stories, we have to find some sort of common ground. A path from each other's world views. A shared language. Listening is finding yourself in others.

I see the value in wanting to protect. In holy. We invest a lot in our stories. I have always invested deeply in relationships and groups. My school, my city, my church, my country, my continent, my second country, my university, my residence and each of the companies that I have worked at. When I meet with colleagues I used to work with, I still talk about 'We'. I don't leave relationships. I replay stepping on every pebble on my path in my head. In my heart. My story is a deeply connected web of the people I have loved. Each of those individual relationships comes about from having been part of a community that was exclusive in some way. Each one of those relationships is part of my privilege.


Westville, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Having landed up here we have been slowly trying to figure out how to experience this beautiful, difficult, scary, bewildering place together. The best way to do that as being a combination of Human Rights, Constitutions and Institutions - Social Contracts. Sets of agreements forged through experience. Through lessons learnt from our shared history. Agreements based on an increased consciousness. Agreements built through chipping away at our ignorance. Chipping away at our prejudice.

South Africa, the University of Cape Town, The United Kingdom

I love being able to lean deeply into a shared story. Something where we feel special, exclusive, different, unique - together. We need to forge a world where that is okay, but doesn't stop others from being able to do that. That doesn't stop us and others being on the same team in other groups. 

The heart of Social Contracts is the 'Veil of Ignorance'. If you don't know which role you are to play, what is the bare minimum that is acceptable for any player? What would allow every player to participate fully? That is Human Rights. The core fundamentals that as a group we decide everyone should have. Then we can build on top of that as many groups with different rules as we like. 

A variety of meals from our common ingredients.
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