December 4, 2021

the illusion of disconnectedness

a bonsai forest planted on a table with a larger forest behind it
photo caption: a bonsai forest of subalpine fir. the entire forest rests on a piece of slate mounded by moss. behind the forest stands a larger (non-bonsai) forest of yellow, green, and orange leaves. a trace of the big self can be found in the small self, and i think that’s just wonderful.

Fall is my favorite season. I love the crisp coolness in the air that seems to wash away the vestiges of summer heat. I love the return of food you can cook in a oven, the warming spices that perfume a home. Even the cinnamon brooms at the grocery store are lovely in their own way. In the Pacific Northwest, fall is also the start of our rainy season. The days get shorter as dusk starts to creep into my workday.

Cities, like the weather, are another major component of my life. I grew up in the semi-rural suburbs of central Texas. I still have a fondness for the vast expanse of open land that can only be found in a place like Texas. Even still, cities are where I want to live. I love the activity, the variety of things available to do. The museums and the food trucks and the sights. Cities can also be a lonely, anonymous place.

I’m reflecting a lot lately about the polarization in many societies across the globe. The sense of community and connectedness are becoming harder to feel. That distance between us threatens to become just as endemic as covid. My whole life, I’ve existed in a handful of groups that make up a minority of the population. I know what it is to feel like an other in society. During covid I started to gravitate more towards the belonging side of the equation. As john a. powell says, the opposite of Othering is not sameing: it’s belonging. These themes bounce around throughout many of my essays over the last two years.

I listened to an interview with john a. powell on the podcast Grief is a Sneaky Bitch. The conversation, arriving when it did, feels like the start of a shift in my approach. john says, “We don’t have to learn to be connected, we are connected physically, spiritually, emotionally. We have to learn the illusion of disconnectedness.”

I’ve been in a difficult place this week, made worse as election results have started to roll in. I’m still mulling why people double down on the same policies that have failed so many people. My values and intentions are compassionate and human-centered, rooting power back with community. Helping everyone feel like they can belong. Those goals are not unreasonable. I need to find a new path towards belonging. I am searching for a new approach to the same destination.

my name is josh martinez. i have always loved trying to understand systems, and the systems that built those systems. i spend a lot of time thinking about how to get there from here.

say hello: josh[at]bethefuture[dot]space

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