Letter From the Editor, March ’23. Only Connect

I like connectedness. I like the fact that it’s in our nature to make connections. If you give us three random facts, we’ll put them together to make a story. We’ll connect the stories to make history and culture. I like the idea that people connect images to make moving pictures–to make a film. That’s how we watch films – we connect still pictures (somewhere in the upside-down back of our brain) to make a coherent, fluid movement. And then we’ll connect those images to make a narrative, to give them meaning.

I like that we’re all connected to each other in surprising ways. I like that we’re connected to the world around us–to the earth and the animals–in ways that we don’t always acknowledge. I like the sparking moment of connection with a stranger, when you realize you have some small thing in common. I like the glowing moment of connection with a well-known loved one, when you delight in the fact that you have everything in common, more so every day.

There’s so much talk, lately, about divisions between people. We’re told that we’re more divided than ever, within countries, between countries. We’re told that we agree on less and hate each other more, that we don’t or won’t understand each other’s opinions or points-of-view. We’re told that maybe it’s not even worth trying, and we should resign ourself to separation. And the people sowing this discord know that telling us that we hate each other will make us hate each other more. And where does that leave us all but cold, miserable, hateful, and vulnerable to these false claims of disconnection?

It’s easy to get discouraged, when you think about people all over the world working so hard and so hopefully, just to stay alive, to get by, to get ahead, to make something good; and you think about all of the rejection and discouragement that casts a dark shadow over everybody. It’s an act of resistance to remember how deeply we’re all connected, and that the struggle to work through the discouragement connects us all. The work that we do each day to stay alive connects us, because we work together, and because we share the same concerns and worries and joys. The things that we create connect us, whether we make them together or share them with each other. The kindness that real people show when they’re together forms a glow that can’t be quenched by the chattering hateful voices. When we talk to each other or when we all sing along to the same song at the grocery store. When we help each other in a million ways, large or small. When snowstorms and floods bring people out to walk the quiet streets and help neighbors shovel out or dry out; all of this is powerful, inevitable, enduringly human.

I think about connectedness a lot when I put together each issue of Tidings of Magpies. Each month I find surprising and beautiful connections between the pieces that I share. I always feel a really wonderful connection with each artist as we discuss the best way to share their work, wherever in the world they may be, however far apart we are geographically, even if we don’t speak the same language. And friends and strangers respond to the work we share, they feel a connection to it, and share it with their friends. The work itself often examines connection to place, history, family, memory, and we can understand it even if it’s not our place or family or memory. Sharing our concerns and our creations feels vital, revolutionary, and essential. We are, together, weaving a beautiful cloth that will shelter and protect us all.

“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” EM Forster

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
― Herman Melville

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
― Chief Seattle

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Man can no longer live for himself alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”
― Albert Schweitzer

Categories: featured

Tagged as:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s