A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
— Albert Einstein
In exploring how personal engagement affects social change, I’ve seen a particular pathway that can allow anybody to identify what they are engaged with throughout life.
It has to do with the image of a geodesic sphere of engagement, and each of the sustainable connections we each have within and outside of ourselves. My brain has become amazingly comforted by this imagery, and the possibility of mapping a lifetime of engagement. I don’t know that anyone would ever actually do it, but I do know that it can be done.
In identifying that we can map our personal engagement, I began to see how our boundaries are truly flexible and dynamic entities in themselves. Any place where we identify an edge to our interest, capability, or connectivity may be the very place of deepest connection for another person. For instance, my desire to be a good ice skater is very limited. However, that one time I watched my nephew play hockey, skating around like a pro, was a really big deal for him. So the edge of my personal engagement was deeper into his sphere of engagement. Its as if we’re all connected through an unending infinity loop of sustained connections.
I quote Einstein above because he alludes to this very reality as he identifies the delusion we live within. The early American rebel philosopher Thomas Paine did a similar thing when he wrote, “The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together.”
Not only is there an individual Heartspace that each of us lives through, there is also an eternal Heartspace that all things contribute to. The layering of infinite Venn Diagrams becomes blurred as we zoom out and see that they are an illusion. We’re all part of a mosaic of interrelated reality, one that relies on mutuality and reciprocity, connectivity and interdependence. There is no escaping this, no matter what the object of focus is: We cannot be separate from plants and animals anymore than we can be separate from our arms.
Seeing Einstein’s point may be central to understand the infinite nature of Heartspace and all reality. It may be the only way.