“You only have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power–he’s free again.”
– In The First Circle, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
To recover reality is not to challenge the simulacrums of our time. But rather seek to understand the larger context in which these simulations / spectacles function.
The ancients would describe this capacity to discern reality as wisdom. While wisdom is certainly in short supply and in great demand, it is only one piece of a wider fabric of reality that is needed.
One of the results of the world of simulation and spectacle is the loss of the capacity for open, trustworthy, mutually caring relationships. Instead, we have connections with people. We have “friends” whom we’ve never met, had coffee or seen face to face.
I am convinced that the recovery of reality comes through the establishment of relationships of genuine meaning and love.
For to love another person requires a kind of reality that allows for honesty, emotional intimacy and commitment to the care and nurture of the relationship.
There is a choice we can make here. Live in the midst of the spectacle of the real or step back and try to understand how we can begin to live in ways that make a tangible difference in the way the world we live works.
Entering a world that is dramatically different than my own, as I did in going to Africa, things stand out. Traveling in the rural areas, seeing motorbikes used to haul goods. Harvested agriculture products spread on the ground beside the highway ready to be loaded to be taken to market. People living in extreme poverty. Visiting a hundred-year-old man, who was homeless because he had outlived his family, showed me the power of local communities to mitigate the effects of poverty. Through these experiences, and more, the Two Global Forces took on a deeper, richer meaning.