Our life is fulfilling when there is some sort of consistency between our subjectivity and the actual interactions that we conduct in the world.
...a slight shift on the side can change this perspective, and bond us again with the world, and let us embrace it. And we call this meaningful.
Yes! This was such a thoughtful, needed response to my post, and I am grateful for it.
I have ridden my bicycle two days in a row, which is such a luxury for me these days. Riding a bicycle connects one to one's surroundings. On today's ride, I rode through an area of southern Oak Cliff that is gentrifying quickly. I thought of those who have lived there for decades, their property taxes going up, possibly to the point they'll have to move.
I rode by the zoo. There were crowds filing in, of all different stripes. I rode by a family and the mother was having a morning cigarette. It didn't bother me. I know too well how great that morning cigarette can be.
I headed down into the Trinity River floodplain. There was a man walking on the trail, carrying his young daughter on his shoulders. Her eyes were sapphires in the bright morning sun. The recent rains filled the bogs, and their stench filled the air. Then, by the river itself, there was a group of African-American congregants, forming a line down into the waters. They were all dressed in white robes.
Then through the Cedars, which is also gentrifying, but where the homeless still shuffled from place to place. I normally route by the shelter, but it was too much. I rerouted to avoid it. I felt guilty. I donated to the shelter when I got home.
Then along the bike trail in East Dallas. More gentrification. All the interesting bits of this city are being invaded.
Then as I was almost home I heard a voice beside me. "Hey, Daniel!" It was a friend I've only known for a few months; he's only been out of jail for a year or so. He rides his bike everywhere; he's in better shape than I am. He was on a new bike and has had some long overdue dental work done. He was effervescent with gratitude. It was immediately infectious.
When I got home my wife asked how my bike ride was and I replied without hesitation, "Great!" I had connected with nature, this world, and friends.
Important things. Meaning.
This is possibly the best piece of writing I've read in a long time. The author puts her finger on a number of important topics in a visceral way. There's too much to quote. I need it to survive on the internet forever but will refrain from copying the entire thing onto my site for this purpose.
What dismays me about technology is this: not the machine itself but the way its architecture echoes outward, imposing a grid of quantification on everything it touches. The sadness of numbers interferes with our thoughts, begs us to apply logic to warm, messy things
It's made me think about what I've coined “meaningfulness tropes” (I used to call them "personal bullshit narratives"...have I matured or just lost my edge?), like business, money, or power. It's made me think about how the organizations I admire the most have transcended (at least to some degree) these tropes. Companies like Kimray, Wildbit, or Egghead, or many organizations when they're in service of their better angels. These are very different companies when measured on other vectors, but there's something less tangible that they all somehow get at their core.
I quipped to the coworker who sent me this article:
In a zero-sum game, others’ basic human rights take away from your chance of owning a yacht, though.