Nous -'knack' in scouse? Nous: Greek 'mind' some use? Nous: we -French- oui? Oooh. Life -don't talk to me about life: me with this pain down the diodes in my left side ... Here's not-nearly-random-enough loggings of what feeds my promiscuous curiosity. Your pay-off is some useful[?] links and provocative thoughts but also more insight than you may care on my thought-processes.

10 January 2013

Spirituality of the ordinary in these days of miracle and wonder

As a piece of cultural observation, I think that this is worth paying attention to because it seems to me to identify something that could well become a big  issue in the kind of way that 'instantness' has. The basic idea is that the proliferation of cameras and connectedness combined with the human attraction to novelty, spectacle and emotional extremes is likely to produce a stream of the extraordinary ...
 Cameras are becoming ubiquitous, so as our collective recorded life expands, we'll accumulate thousands of videos showing people being struck by lightening. When we all wear tiny cameras all the time, then the most improbable accident, the most superlative achievement, the most extreme actions of anyone alive will be recorded and shared around the world in real time. Soon only the most extraordinary moments of our 6 billion citizens will fill our streams. So henceforth rather than be surrounded by ordinariness we'll float in extraordinariness.
So what will it feel like to be 'us' -ordinary people in humdrum lives when
the improbable dominates the archive to the point that it seems as if the library contains ONLY the impossible, then these improbabilities don't feel as improbable.
So plausibility is affected. The miraculous is more imaginable, the 'laws' of physics perhaps seem more likely to be 'broken' "To the uninformed, the increased prevalence of improbable events will make it easier to believe in impossible things.".

So will that contribute to the growth of all sorts of belief and superstition? And how should we respond as Christians? I'd suggest we might find ourselves in the place of wanting to defend the regular, predictable and scientific -holding the fort in the face of those who may believe anything, as GK Chesterton warned.

Theologically, I would suggest that the Incarnation, notwithstanding its own extraordinariness, paradoxically affirms ordinariness. The extraordinary actually plays into the very ordinary and humdrum. It is precisely a choice to align with the 99% and the unremarkable and to eschew the spectacular. And even later when the miraculous figures it's understated  and woven into the everyday with Jesus on the whole trying to keep it out of the news because hype distorts and misdirects. The extraordinary tends to discriminate against most of real life. -We have an arrabon of that in 'celebrity culture'.

What I think that this may mean is that we need to help people develop an affirmative spirituality of the commonplace and everyday. This would be a mindfulness of the humdrum. More, I think learning to enjoy, take pleasure in and to be thankful about the regular 'stuff' which supports everyday life. In addition we will need to learn the discipline of curtailing envy of the extraordinariness of others, to be content and to forgo invidious comparison.

And we need to begin now to help people to grow in these dimensions of spirituality.

The Technium: The Improbable is the New Normal:

No comments: