Echoes, echoes are an amalgam of voices, they enshroud us, surround us, and draw us into themselves. Echoes invite us to enter into another realm, into some faraway and distant place that is simultaneously closer to us than we ourselves. Echoes are expressed in the genetics that we carry, they are memories of everyone who has contributed to our identity. Echoes are expressed in the stories we carry in memory, they beckon us beyond self awareness into a reflection of our composite nature. We are individual, but our individuality is not detached from the places we come from, the genes that make us, and the stories we carry in our hearts. Echoes when they happen in real time, are a manifestation of memory, an awareness of the ‘us’ that is inside every ‘me.’
Echoes are an awareness of memory, a remembering of everything that makes up our being. We are composite systems of relations, our relations are unified into a single consciousness, but we are nevertheless a system of relations. Another way of saying this is that, we have emerged out of something, never, ex nihilo. To believe otherwise is to displace community and heritage for a self created meaning that stands over against the truth of what identity really is. We are not conscious in the universe alone as floating arbitrary beings that define ourselves and refine ourselves by ourselves. We have come from somewhere, and that somewhere is in our skins, in our hair, in our eyes, in our smiles, in our memories and pasts, in our futures, in the things we hope for, and the disappointments we share among one another. We have ideas that were not born in a vacuum, but are the product of observation, genetics, inclination and intuition. Our individual consciousness depends on the interactions we have between ourselves and others, between the past and the present, between our bodies and the world around it, between imagination and reason, between language and the divine, between the spoken, and the ineffable.
Whispers in the essence of who we are make up some of the quirks and choices that we make and being aware of those whispers is how we will find our true individual consciousness. Individual consciousness is a composite dialogue between several varying awarenesses that indwell our entire “selves,” wholistically. To be aware of the past is to look to those things which contribute to an awareness of place, an awareness of where it is we come from, an anchor from which we set out in search of bringing new things back to where we came from. But it is also necessary to be conscious of the present, by realizing the present as a means of self expression and as an opportunity to give and receive freedom amid others. The present calls us to an awareness of the reality and particularity of ourselves, in which we live aware of the past but allow it to act as a voice amid the consciousness of our whole, not the determined end of it. Individual Consciousness necessarily depends on the awareness of the past as a guide to which we are anchored, and an intimacy with the present through which we acknowledge the need to become a self through choices we make and our reactions to the relations that we encounter.
In relation to the lives of others, our consciousness and being depend on being aware of others as relationally in need of interaction as we are. In the church there are times of solitude, contemplations, meditations, solaces and individual yearnings after God, but in the larger context of life our being depends on our relations to others. Our being depends on our being able to connect with others and be their liberators.
Our freedom in self-awareness is not a call to detachment but instead provides us the opportunity to interact with others in mutual relations that ask us to identify between one another using our getting to know others as a means of coming to know ourselves, as well as with one one another working together to find mutual identity amidst each other, and finally to identify ourselves as individuals indwelling one another, realizing that as Christians, we are dwelling within one another as one body, not to say that we are all the same, or share a hive mentality, but that in our individual expressions there is a single spirit that unites us.
That same Spirit which is The Spirit of Christ, seeks to bestow upon us unity as well as diversity, so that being happens in relation to others but individually as well as we discern what we are and what we are not in relation to other things. For a short analogy, being would occur as we dialogue with our relations, we learn what we are, as if by looking within another we see the contrasts and comparisons between ourselves and the others. So that when we look we are given a picture of those things which we are or wish to become as well as those things which are not part of our being and thus show us the boundaries of that which we would call our self.
God has united us by one spirit and that same spirit calls us to remember the echoes, the communal memory of those who have gone before us, those who live on in our bodies through our genes, those whose stories we carry in our hearts, whose lives shape parts of the direction of our own.
Our own individual memory serves us as well. Not just the echoes. Echoes, are in fact only a mere part of the memory we seek for ourselves. Memory grounds us in our identity, remembering is something beautiful. Memory is our grounding as beings, it is in memory that we have an awareness of who we wish to be through seeing who we have been. Memory in the context of a single being has an infinite value which can be associated with it, in that it is the only intangible thing which has a real presence outside of God. Memories can haunt, comfort, speak, even echo, or resonate.
In memory we find an obligation, the need to recall, to respect, that which has been and to look forward with an awareness of that past. We have an obligation to commemoration, by this I mean we have a duty to remember as a community, as a communion, to co-remember, but also to call forth that past into our present through an awareness of it. By this I simply mean, we as individuals must remember the nature of our relations in searching for being, and as communities, we must remember to listen to the voices that echo within us, to the other memory, the voices of a thousand ancestors past, and remember the places we have been through them, the evils we have faced as well as the victories we have had, the gravities of despair, as well as the heights of triumph.
Memory helps shape individual consciousness, and develop us into communal awareness. There is a necessary tension between relation and alienation, individualism tends to make the individual being of such importance that anything other, including friends and family are seen as infringements upon the freedom of the one. But in seeking freedom for oneself, one must also realize that without balance, anything that is other will necessarily be subordinate to our one.
Nietzsche was right to describe the will to power, without a conception of things that are other as having value for their relations to us, and without a value for any relations between self and things that are other, one necessarily creates a system where only the self matters. Where only aesthetic nihilism can flourish. Individualism with the goal of asserting a pure individual self will always suppress the role of anything that is other, so that in the end that assertion ends in power struggle after power struggle, failure or success alone.
In terms of God, individualism can strip us of God because it takes from us an awareness of the echoes, of the memories, of the many, the others in our lives, the communities we participate in, as well as our ability to relate to anything outside ourselves. This can become dangerous when we lose our ability to find a God that is wholly other yet relatable, in our striving to relate to ourselves and fit God in that picture, we can misrepresent and even destroy a working positive image of God before us. We can skew the voice of God and interpret it through radical subjectivity so that there is no God, in the end only interpretation based on the assertion of self over anything else. Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were right to say that was a possible outcome of modernity, only one of two things can happen in the face of a society that is modern.
Either we become part of the crowd and join untruth, part of the herd that makes us passive and disinterested, or we become power striving totalitarians, out of a necessity to meet the ideals of pure self subsistence.
So what do we do with all this? In short, we need a dual awareness of ourselves as united, many relations, with a single consciousness, as individuals. Furthermore we must remember the power with which we can recall those who have gone before, and those who are presently with us. We must be aware of our individuality in terms of relations, and how we are all interconnected, and made up of interconnections.
Memory/Echoes, Awareness, Existence, these three are one, and find one consciousness in those who unite them into one being. These are parts of consciousness, again not an end all say all, just an idea.
We are the relations we dwell in. Our being takes place in between the objects of self and other. The self, still remains fully self, the other still remains fully other, but there is meaning in the middle, and that meaning, that interaction is what makes our being a being at all, the dialogue between relations.
We are the relations we care for, and cultivate. Our being will be shown in the spaces between ourselves and others, the life of the spirit is found in our selves, but is most evident in the spaces between ourselves and others. Why else would they have an inherently social nature, one has never needed to be patient without some outside force requiring it. The spirit can guide us, giving us an awareness of the space between ourselves and others, showing us ourselves in the relations we have. Those relations are our mirror.
We are the relations we dwell in. Our being, both as individuals and communities will expose itself most strongly in our relations to the other, to memory, to echoes, to breathing in memories, and breathing out wisdom.
Breathe in, absorb your past, Open your eyes, and flooded with the light of awareness, become that which you are called to become.