Approaching the end of the summer, I'm looking back at what kinds of things I can say with some certainty I have accomplished. I tend to do this at the end of a season. I'm not sure if it is something everyone does or just me, nor am I sure exactly how I came to do it, but I do. Now and again as this process unfolds, I find myself in an existential mood. I wonder who I am. I wonder what power I really have had over any of my surroundings. Have I been able to do good? To do it well?
My training in philosophical inquiry informs my opinion about free will as does my religious upbringing. The whole mess percolates like a giant stewpot of potential belief and action and the change in season is just enough to cause it to boil over more furiously into my surroundings.
My last post was about prayer and the efficacy of trying to manifest the desires of will in that way - praying for puppies and the like. What I didn't mention in the other post is the other end of the spectrum. I remember when I was studying the Bible hearing that when we pray, often we don't have words, but that the Spirit cries out on our behalf and communicates in spirit what we may not be able to in words.
I don't need to say that is God or the Holy Spirit. But when Billie Holliday sings "Summertime, and the living is easy..." something inside of me connects with something else outside of me. And at the end of it I feel as though the message has been received. I have had so many of those moments looking at artworks in various mediums, making art of my own. My spirit groaning out into the universe regardless of theological understanding or dogmatic relevancy.
What I want to accomplish this summer, if nothing else is to illustrate something important I feel needs brought into discussion. Maybe this blog can do it, I don't know. But it merges a few of my worlds, so forgive me if you haven't yet made the leap to understanding where I'm going with this.
I don't know what I've accomplished this summer. I'm not certain of the reality of the will to power in that way. What I do know is that there are a lot of folks talking about something they call "authenticity" in many of my circles. Authenticity is what we assume is the reaped benefit of social media - despite the glut of marketing and promotion that breeds there.
The assumption in those worlds is this: something is popular on social media platforms because it is authentic - and lack of authenticity is not only not rewarded, but punished with a kind of snark induced banishment from the social space. I could list some cases in point - the way company x was received after scandal y hit Twitter vs. they way company z did - but that kind of blog post will have to wait for another day on another blog.
In this blog, at the end of this summer, I want to call out something I think I have seen and see if anyone else agrees. I think what we are seeking in what we call authenticity is what some religious poets have called the soul. God is pure authenticity and that which is authentic in us (dwindling though it may be, and strangled by the weeds of selfish pomp and circumstance in this life) calls out to and connects with that authenticity upon occasion. Sometimes its in public on stage at the Newport Folk Festival and as a result Authenticity within a crowd of people is cultivated and joins the connection. Sometimes it's on Twitter and what one person tweets rings so true it resonates with millions of others who retweet it in solidarity. Sometimes it's when we're alone and it's the end of the day and all we want to do is lay down and die when we see that most beautiful smile or flower or song or beam of sunshine. And something inside of us cries out. And a connection is made. An authentic connection.
That is the message I want to be the purpose of the end of this summer. That's the conversation I want to start...deep calls out to deep.