A small in-person gathering with a few members of RNA prompted some thoughts about our interactions and benefits that can come with community.
One point of reference is a Quaker meeting, where no agenda is set and attendees may sit in silence until one feels moved to speak.
Another is a Jewish havurah, where a small group directs its own activities, welcoming involvement of each member in whatever form each may prefer.
I like how we may intrigue, challenge, and teach one another.
For those who haven’t been following, I’ll mention that recent online conversations at RNAnet have covered topics ranging from morality and ethics to religiousness in RN, stories big and small, being as art form, evolution and climate change education, epistemology, and single cell creatures. Conversation can dive deep (at times like naturalist versions of counting angels on the head of a pin). But, as words are limited and ideas are abstract, it can take a bit of rambling sometimes to wrap our heads around what we think, and then more to consider ways that these discussions might apply to questions in our lives.
For some (self included) expressing ideas can be a good way to organize thoughts. For some, seeking knowledge and wisdom can be (as in Jnana yoga) a form of spiritual practice. More regularly and more simply, these communications can give good tips or ideas – as I appreciated when Grady McGonagill turned me on to an excellent book, “Wonder: When and Why the World Appears Radiant”, by Paul R. Fleischman.
Likewise, RNAfacebook has provided opinions, poetry, approaches to activism, and links to articles and videos – about emergence, creativity, secular spirituality, the solstice, and a number of other topics. Since a video contributed there by Peer Gerbet has stuck with me, I thought I’d re-post it here – Pale Blue Dot, using words of Carl Sagan to give a reminder that, amid all that may cause conflict and divide us:
“That’s home. That’s us . . . . a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam
“To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot . . .”
Earth, from the Voyager 1 spacecraft
(from 3.7 billion miles, beyond the orbit of Pluto)