Who Touched Your Life Today?
It is sad that we know more about people we are unlikely to ever meet than we do about the people that served us our morning coffee.
The tone for our days are set by television, newspapers and social media, by immoral and corrupt politicians, celebrities with paid-for-opinions, leaked emails, the next big tech gadget, the online meme, a cat video, the price of the US Dollar and Aunty Bessie's next inspirational Bible verse.
Apparently, if we follow conventional wisdom, we should be concerned about people who know zip about us and is unlikely to ever care who we are. The monkey is amused.
We suffer from a media-induced "connectedness fallacy" that is perpetuated by our constant fascination with "important" yet worthless content. Why should we be bothered with the politician's email server? How can it matter what Kardashian had for lunch or who is buying DiCaprio's dinner? Cousin Johnny just bought a new motorcycle. Big deal. The Government just introduced a new tax. Boohoo. Putin just took off his shirt. Really?!
We live in an artificially connected algorithmically personalized informational content box driven by classifications, polls, likes and comments from someone somewhere, everywhere. Our real lives are passing us by. Every day, many real people touch our lives. We go through our rituals, work and habits and interactions with human beings not knowing anything about them. Do we know who they are? What are their names? How did it happen that they crossed our path? How do they feel and what do they think about us?
Should we care?
Yes, we should. The real people we touch and those that touch us define who we are, where we are, how we act, feel and who we eventually become. It is easy to ignore a message, email or ping. No connection, right? It is not easy to ignore a person that steps through your door, shakes your hand and asks: "How are you doing today, my friend?"
These are the people that really matter. Let's go out and meet them. Let's introduce ourselves.
Every life is made up of many, many stories. A person begins as part of a parent’s story. It is soon eclipsed by stories of discovery, finding an identity, forming relations, dealing with disappointment, and ultimately discovering or losing their purpose. We are the sum of our stories.
Stories unfold from perspectives, intentionally or otherwise. Stories become the distorted shadows in Plato's reality cave, outlining the elusive and enigmatic, while perpetually weaving itself into our identity. This discovery alone distinguishes the few from the many. Knowing that a story is just that. A perspective. The reality is something much more elusive and a lot less interesting. This is the first step to higher understanding.
Others become part of our stories as we become part of theirs. Some are positive and others less so. A positive story may be the result of a smile from the person that passes. A negative story the upset because of a smiling passing stranger. While we are part of other’s stories, discovering that we can only influence our own, is considered by many as the second step to higher understanding.
No amount of positive intent can account for someone else’s perceived tragedy. We are held accountable only by what we choose to include in our own experience and thought. Because it is what we include that we will perceive and ultimately receive. It is what makes us, us. Intentionally writing one’s own life’s story is the third step to higher understanding.
The question that remains is: If we can only write our own story, why then do we default to doing so for others? What more have we to give one another than our limited version of the truth? It is our story about our human adventure as honestly and as openly as we know how, that we share. In sharing, we hope to be recognised to become part of the stories of others. In sharing our stories and that of others, we become intertwined. They become part of us, and we become part of them. This is the fourth and final step to higher understanding. We are connected.
Let it then be good stories we tell.
On the Road
The Two Cowboys' mission is to learn, inspire and showcase small Producers all over the world - the people that make things. We do it with videos, blog posts, photos and through social media.
We believe that we have a duty to introduce them to you, our audience. We want the world to know who they are. We want you to know them, meet them, and support them.
We will post photos of them on our Facebook Page and Instagram Feed.
Follow our travels on Patreon: http://www.travelingcowboys.com
Join us for an experience: http://www.twocowboysexperiences.com
See you on the road.
Hendrik van Wyk