Friendship in the contemporary situation

Friendship in the contemporary situation

The scripted friendship

We live in an automated society – which is to say regulated. When you stand at the bus stop you usually have some vague awareness of the transport carriage’s ETA and destination arrival time. You know what time you have to be in work or get to the evening meeting.

friendshipAfter that little preamble, let me tell you that I have had an urge to write about the essence and functionality of friendship for a seeming age. Our connections in our busy modern world may appear like a ‘given’ outcome of waking up in the morning and getting ‘stuff done’, as we must in our busy lives – but is that in fact, true? Regulatory frameworks are ubiquitous and I listed a scenario of such linkages at the outset of this piece.

Do we in fact register the consequences of our automated conditions, for the quality and character of our friendship, however?
What I think escapes most people’s attention, most of the time, is that these regulatory frameworks we piggy back on are habit forming. Does that mean addictive? Well, certainly, it does mean neuropsychologically framing.
In essence, if most of our behaviour is scripted, we must ask crucial questions about the nature of our freedoms. Note that freedoms require the making of choices and implementation of actions outside of a script or set of routines that define us.
Why is it that people congregate into groups so readily? Why is it somehow easier to relate to multiple people at any given time, within a regulatory framework and mandated activities?

Do we make real connections?

Well, if we all turn up at a certain time and place on a given date, we can kind of guarantee that a social reality of sorts will await us. Passively, like the passenger on bus or train, we understand that we can be taken somewhere and then find a transcending context awaiting us.
We passengers get to be carried. Our connections get to be outworkings of shared energy at a social intersection but… do we have to WORK for any of the meaningful potential payoffs?

It’s a bit like the married couple who ‘bump into each other’ at home after a day at work, or the completion of various chores. If we are forced into a shared space by virtue of shared responsibilities alone, what happens to REAL choice to commune?
Imagine, if you will, swathes of folk all marching to the automated tune, simply because everybody else is. How, through time, will it be possible to retain true autonomy? Once one becomes defined by routines, how can one freely choose? More to the point, how will anyone truly comprehend the importance of working at one’s connections in a meaningful and productive way, one that ensures both personal freedom and genuine and proactive reaching out to others?
We live in a reactive society as a result of automation. It is fashionable for folk to bash Facebook precisely because it evidences the consequences of what we have collectively lost… the art of true, autonomous and rewarding relating.
The dis-ease in our society of social ineptitude is born not of Facebook but of laziness. We are de-skilled (not to mention, confused) and we no longer know HOW to reach out in a balanced way. Worse, we often feel alone because others no longer know how to reach out to us in a way that preserves personal freedoms, in the context of busy lives.
Perhaps nobody does care?! The pressing question is truly one of how to combat this narcissistic epidemic.
If Jesus cannot save us from this particular mess then how are we going to save ourselves? Well, this is where the journey starts. Being whole is much MORE than simply FEELING whole (again narcissistic).

I’ll leave you with the words of Lao-Tzu:

“Without opening your door you can open your heart to the world. Without looking out your window, you can see the essence of the Tao. The more you know, the less you understand. The Master arrives without leaving, sees the light without looking, achieves without doing a thing.”

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  1. Megan Coyne
    February 07, 21:47 #1 Megan Coyne

    Another good one Alex. Love your references to Tao – too many people get lost in the maze of ‘doing too much’ instead of ‘being more in the moment’. Peace and stillness in the centre of the ripples. ?

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