by Rosemary Gray-Snelgrove
Review – Connections as a Basic Building Block of Human Functioning
This topic isn’t a new one, but the previous focus has been the importance to children of strong, consistent connections to others in their early years and the origins of emotional trauma when connections aren’t formed or are broken. I’ve posited that in adults who are ‘stuck’, the neural connections formed by poor or broken connections in early life have created the blocks to functioning well in the world as adults.
Luckily, science has shown us that the brain is ‘plastic’ enough that we can, consciously and with help, undo some dysfunctional connections and form smarter ones. Yay!
Why Connections Come Up Again
The different angle this week jumped out from some Comments on last week’s blog.
Last week I related my concern that, if God ceases to exist in my conscious life, that life would be devoid of meaning. The responses, some of which were sent by e-mail and not entered as Comments, provided three varied perspectives.
1. This writer, Michael, has not felt it necessary or feasible to accept any religious tradition although raised in one. But meaning is, for him, linked to a form of immortality. His curiosity has driven his “casual research, logical analysis and speculation” about the outcomes of some non-survival related human qualities (curiosity, abstract reasoning, the wish for immortality). Physically-based consciousness is the essence of where we may be headed. The planet is being changed at great speeds, which suggests a possible ‘transformational trajectory’ into the future – a shared human endeavor based on intelligent life.
It took a few readings to grasp this contribution but I like that Michael shares his lot with other humans, in thinking — with Freeman Dyson– that the values and purposes of intelligent life need to be considered if we will guide the physical development of the universe. And that it’s a trip we can all be on.
2. John, by contrast, places God into the center of his walk. He places fundamental value upon learning to make room for a ‘holy Other’; God, who is not a fabrication of the human mind. Love is the essence of the humble available God, but our human journey moves between love and fear. Opening to God is our task.
Michael jostles my mind, John reaches into my heart. Some might call what follows a stretch, but that’s what I like to think I’m good at. Each is, in my view, speaking of a recognition of the importance of connecting. Michael sees meaning in the projection, with humankind, into the future, when we’ve come to acknowledge the reality of physically-based consciousness. Connection through the mind. John seeks connection with the ultimate Other, God, through opening the heart to let God reveal God’s being.
3. A third perspective: God isn’t an issue. God doesn’t enter into the life experience of, apparently, quite a number of people. Several e-mails contained this essential message:
“If your God does or does not exist is not something I am concerned with any longer, as much as I ever was…I just try to thread my way through all the various paths in front of me, trying to do some good, trying not to do any harm (although I do some), trying to balance my needs and my energy and so on. “
This speaks for itself!
Today, walking in St. Catharines, I looked at people, wondering who were those who cared about this question. When it’s so central to me, who are those out there, doing their best, and who just don’t give a damn about God questions and ‘belonging’ questions? In the old days of heavy church attendance, probably there were a whole lot for who it was all about convention and habit and who didn’t really care. But ‘belonging’ to a church community still gave them a hold on connection, on fitting in. What’s holding the center steady for those who have few or no connections to other people, to community, or to a faith?
Tonight, I don’t have one. Nor a final question. I welcome any comments you may have on the issue of how we, as humans, manage to live in this complex world.