The importance of Offill’s novel lies in its evocation of the domesticity of the climate and extinction crises. These crises result from how we have lived in the delusion that “I am here,” in an autonomous space categorically separated from “you” and the world, who and which “are there.” Offill’s work opens us to the realization that what we usually take to be unrealistic moral admonitions for how to live are realistic descriptions of how we and all else actually do exist, with each other and all beings as families, in reality as home. We only exist because we love each other as ourselves. What we do to others, not only other human beings, but also rocks, trees, bugs, dogs, oceans, stars, and all else, we do to ourselves.
A daily practice.
Writing as an act
of living compassionately
in and of the world
that is falling apart.
Effective social responses to crises require trust. Trust emerges, inheres in, and grows in domesticity, “home or family life” (Dictionary, Apple version 2.2.2 2005-2017).
The popular television show, Jane the Virgin (available on Netflix), portrays human reality as forming around a loving community.
Throughout my adult life, I have sought to understand love in order to be more loving. I have also sought to understand how to help communities be more loving. Writing these posts is one way I am continuing to work on what I have, in the past, thought of as two different tasks, but which are, I have come to understand, two aspects of the same work. To love is to participate in loving communities.
In this post, I summarize the theory that grows out of my sense of reality as loving communities, the method I use in thinking and writing about particular events, stories, articles, books, movies, t.v. series, or whatever as constituting elements of reality as loving communities, and a listing of the discussions that result . I will be updating this post as my thinking develops and to keep it current as a table of contents for and summary of the whole series.
I introduce each post with a poem or a selection from a poem. Poetry creates and evokes visceral senses of reality as a whole. Articulating and attending to these senses (feelings, atmospheres, or moods) is essential to understanding reality as loving communities.
Trust assumes empathy, opening to and feeling with the trustworthy other. …. Like trust, with which it is almost synonymous, empathy is ontogenetically and ontologically primal, both the individual historical and the ongoing always present ground of reality as loving communities or co-creative meetings between knowing and known. Reality as a whole and we and all the participants in reality as a whole are continually empathically forming and formed.
The understandings of reality as loving communities and of trust as the womb of being are “religious.” A “religion” is a sense of reality as a trustworthy whole. This definition is a variation of the understandings of “religion” a hundred and fifty years of anthropological, social, psychological, historical, and philosophical studies of “religion” have generated. It builds specifically on the Jewish religious thinker Martin Buber’s statement that “religion” is “the whole of human reality” and the psychologist Erik Erikson’s understanding of “religion” as the social institution charged with restoring, when threatened, basic trust.
The psychologist Erik Erikson observes that what he calls “basic trust,” the openness to reality as a whole as trustworthy, is necessary for human life. As sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers have observed, the practices that construct the communities that constitute us as social beings assume and enact this visceral sense of reality as fundamentally supportive of our existence. As these thinkers also observe, the senses, paradigms, theories, and ideas, including those of scientists, through which we know the world and ourselves, presume this sense of reality as having an order we can at least partly understand and upon which we can at least partly rely.
Loving communities are not a goal we seek to achieve; they are who and what we are; we begin in and only live and thrive in and as loving communities.
The sources of Christian and Western anti-semitism lie in the betrayal motif which lies at the heart of the Passion Narrative, which lies at the heart of most Christians’ faith.