Monday, December 31, 2007

The New Year

Umberto Boccioni, courtesy

Well it's about to be a new year, of one kind or another (never mind that the Jews, the Orthodox, the Chinese, and many others see it otherwise). I'm not much for treating this day or tomorrow any different than any other day, though I certainly do not mind the time off of work.

When I was growing up I spent the time watching t.v., Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show and the Astaire and Rodgers films. I recall one ghastly New Year's Eve home from college trying to emulate an Anglophile friend who had recently taken to sipping gin over ice with barely a smidgen, if any, of tonic water. To this day I can't come near the smell of gin. In later years, I gave up the alcohol part altogether, finding alcohol anything but a sign or means of celebration while I was married to an alcoholic.

This year I actually will be going out for a change, thanks to an invitation from friends. It will be a bit odd, I think, three couples, comprised of three Episcopal priests (two male and one female, if anyone's counting), a lawyer, teacher, and entrepreneur. Wonder what on earth we'll talk about. (Let's pray it will not be the ++ABC). We hope to wine and dine and dance and, who knows, maybe even stay awake past 9 p.m. or so.

Meanwhile, the blogosphere no doubt will carry on, seamlessly turning over the year from time zone to time zone. I do not wish to bury my head in the sand, but I must confess that I have grown weary of news, reaction to news, reactions to the reactions, whether it be the ongoing drama of As the Anglican World Turns or the vagaries of U.S. and international politics. I am tired of my own and sometimes others' outrage when it has little or no chance of spurring positive action or change. I am tired of rage and conflict, in the world at large and in my own home and community. There's no escaping it, I know, and I hope for much more than keeping a distant eye on things, as does the man with the arched Welsh eyebrows. But I do believe that building bridges and connections are the best that the internet can provide, not new ways of building virtual gated communities that only tolerate one kind or another and claim, right, left, or middle, to be able to discern what is truth and knowledge, meanwhile standing back looking at those with whom one disagrees with contempt and disdain. That is not, I believe, the way to keep an open mind -- seeing others as "not simply as wrong but as corrupt and wicked," or, at best, inexcusably ignorant. If we (including and especially me) continue to proclaim loudly and and as widely as possible that we simply cannot "imagine" how so and so could possibly think or act a certain way, then we need to start not only imagining better but also come to meet with others face to face.

So as part of my New Year's celebration, I salute Howard W., who earnestly believes in and practices the art of dialogue, and resolve to someday learn to do it so well.

Happy New Year to you all!

From Howard:

Civic Reflection

Eugene Bohm Dialogue

Extreme Tao of Democracy Inquiry

Global Transformation - Richaerd K. Moore

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation

Study Circles

The Dialogue Group

National Issues Forum

Selected Websites On Dialogue


Rowan The Dog said...

Just stopped back by to see the Boccini one more time.

klady said...

Thanks, Rowan -- you have terrific taste! I saw this painting when visiting MOMA the weekend of the OCICBW gathering in NYC. I really liked it even before I saw the title, which made me giggle.