by Ryan Dalton
I hope this letter finds you much more than well, welling over even. We have almost made it through the cold and dreaded Winter. Almost, that is. Spring is pushing its way in, truly battling to stay, as it seems Winter is trying to prove its final point for the season; snow is in the forecast today.
But I can’t be bothered by Winter’s need for attention. No matter what it is trying, I am on a much needed hiatus: Spring Break. A neighbor kid is over playing mini-basketball in my living room, Miles Davis is playing in my speakers, and I have no pressing matters, or urgent work, or places to be right now but right here, doing absolutely nothing. Truly sublime.
What is happening in your world?
I couldn’t help but notice, and be moved by, your tweet the other day.
That type of extended humanity is like a refreshing wave, washing clean the individualistic indoctrination society has attempted to stain our soul with, reminding us that we are, in fact, connected, that we are a part of something bigger than our all-too-often self-serving selves. So simple yet beautiful. Thank you for that reminder.
I suppose some of humanity’s avoidance of sharing with one another comes out of self-preservation and protection, wanting to be shielded and guarded from the pain, hurt, and abuse that can commonly come with human interaction; the pain, hurt, and abuse that you so eloquently oftentimes write about and seem to understand so deeply. Besides us trying to avoid pain, I think greed is probably another major perpetrator against our shared experience, our togetherness. But I don’t think that is how we were innately made to interact, to live, to be.
I think humans were created for communion, and the acknowledgement of the importance of one another, in our individual-yet-shared journey through life. I think Ubuntu, “I am what I am because of who we all are,” is imprinted in our DNA, though our modern cultures, for the most part, seem to be at war with this concept. Community was at the center of most original, indigenous cultures; cultures that were most pure, basic, and first; way more socially developed than most cultures in existence today.
I find it extremely fascinating that the African philosophy of Ubuntu was founded in an area of Southern Africa that is also acknowledged as the Cradle of Humankind. Meaning, the idea of Ubuntu was developed at the heart of the geographical location of the very first humans. Stunningly magnificent. Surely this is no coincidence. And we still need that human connection so, so bad, though our modern societies have developed ways of hindering, and warping it. Why else would solitary confinement be one of the worst forms of punishment found in modern Western prisons?
At any rate.
If you wouldn’t mind, tell me about your experiences and encounters with Ubuntu. Your words always speak to a deep place in my soul. Please send my love and greetings to the lovely little sisters, and walk up to your mother and say something hilarious (of your choosing) on my behalf. Hope to hear from you soon.
Warmth and love from a wintery Spring day in Brooklyn,