Welcome to the new normal. We’re all wondering what it means but what if the language for it doesn’t exist yet? It would mean a revolution is quietly taking place in the human psyche as we adjust to the ramifications the shared experience of the pandemic. We’re asking ourself, what just happened? Is it over? What, if anything, has changed? All reasonable questions in the circumstances and yet they don’t seem to even begin to frame the “thing” we’re wondering about.
We would need new words to stretch our thoughts and new dimensions of emotions to feel our way through; to finally make sense of both our internal and external world. In short, we need to re-imagine the world using new kinds of data. Our imagination opens up routes to possibilities and new realities. It takes courage and curiosity to opt for the less travelled roads in life and even more when we find ourself on a road not travelled at all. For such a journey, we need a language that inclusively reveals the new reality; one that can hold ambiguity, unite polarities and embrace complexity.
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”– Carl Sagan
The human brain has difficulty conceptualising the idea of something new. The best it can do with the idea is to find the nearest equivalent and do a make-do comparison and file it away under “vaguely familiar”. This doesn’t quite work in the new normal. We really do need to figure out what new means here because vaguely familiar won’t help us make sense of what’s happening, not this time. You could say, we have to hold space for ourselves to assimilate the unknowable and thereby expand our notion of what is possible. We need to grow into this reality from the inside out, expand our mind.
Meanwhile, in the darkness, the chairs on the Titanic are being moved around because there is as yet no language to shine a light on the ideas and events that are redefining today’s world. So somewhere ahead in the midst of a weird amorphous spiral of intertwining realities that never quite seem to truly capture the essence of things, lies another iceberg. Maybe something from the past can help, a buried narrative that allows conversations to bring a deeper level of understanding by listening. Learning. No assumptions. No Judgements.
What would be a good word for such a thing?