Occasionally, the germ of an idea lodges in my mind and tugs insistently at my inner attention. Not fully formed, it announces itself as an intriguing, but elusive whisper.
I know it’s important. Even if I don’t understand it.
In last week’s reflection The wisdom of reality, I wondered out loud whether the challenge of our time was ‘a job for the poets.’ Whilst this might have felt like a comment in passing, it wasn’t…
We’ve exhausted our language of right and wrong, black and white. It is a vocabulary fit for an industrial age, where thinking and actions were linear. Where everything had a cause and effect, and our astonishing scientific discovery offered the narrative.
But it is devoid of nuance. It struggles to capture interrelationships and organic emergence. So we shout at each other, hoping that whoever shouts the loudest must have the answer. Because we don’t appear to have any other means of bridging the gap.
A new language
Our relational development has not kept pace with the technological advances we now enjoy. And because we are so enamoured by the new, shiny toys, we don’t see our stunted growth.
So we continue to use the language of our metaphorical nursery. And it’s not helping us to have the adult conversations we now need.
I’m not sure how we develop this new dialogue, but I sense we need different words. Those that connect us as human beings, not just human doings. Words that cause our souls to bloom, not just fill our mental filing systems.
It’s also the space between words, not just the words themselves.
I’m not a poet, but I sense the hunger for a way to engage with meaning and hope that transcends our rational minds. That invites us to the dance of relationships that are greater than the sum of their parts. And offers entrance to a world that isn’t controlled by us – because we’d mess it up and choke it to death – but instead offers us the opportunity to be part of something bigger.
Liberating us from ourselves, to relearn curiosity and wonder.
This takes wisdom and poetry, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. “Finally shall come the poet…” is a line from a Walt Whitman poem over a century ago, which was picked up by Walter Brueggemann. The subtitle of Walter’s book Finally Comes the Poet says it all: Daring Speech for Proclamation.
Rise up. It’s time for the poets who can speak to the heart with truth and love.
Thanks for reading
… Another voyage of discovery
- Monday: Is wisdom an ‘age’ thing?
- Tuesday: We don’t win at the finish line
- Wednesday: Am I really listening?
- Thursday: Being ready
- Friday: Wise risk-taking