In common with what many writers have expressed, I believe that writing happens largely because it must—because a writer feels compelled to respond to the promptings of a so-called “inner voice”. For a writer, necessity and freedom are not mutually exclusive. As it is with any activity a person engages in wholeheartedly, there is, paradoxically, great “freedom” in being totally “committed to” whatever one is involved with.
Because paradoxes are ways of bringing together apparently opposite ideas, they are wonderful expressions of the fundamental unity of our world, and therefore wonderfully nurturing ways of understanding the spiritual nature of reality. Today, I believe that reflecting on the paradoxical association between freedom and necessity is particularly relevant. Given that the social and personal environments most of us live in are saturated with an over-abundance of technology, much of what passes for freedom amounts to little more than keeping ourselves conditioned to behavioral patterns that control the ways we understand ourselves, our world, and our interactions with others.
When vast numbers of people accept the mindset of science and technology as an overarching (dominating) influence, there is a widespread tendency to focus on objectifying most aspects of life as a way of controlling them and achieving predetermined goals. Undoubtedly, this way of understanding ourselves and our world is an indispensable and often richly rewarding way of expressing human ingenuity. But to rely on these skills exclusively or even predominantly is to weaken and/or deprive ourselves of other equally indispensable and rewarding assets, namely, our ability to see beyond objectifiable (physical) appearances and reach further than predetermined objectives.
When we involve the whole of what our consciousness is capable of, our capacity for imaginative and intuitive insight allows us to see in ways that integrate us with what we are seeing, in contrast to our objectifying/analytical skills which focus primarily of what separates us from what we are seeing. Surely, it is this kind of seeing that nourishes and sustains the many kinds of relationships we are called into as members of families, societies, nations, and the planet that is home to all of us.
There is so much about life that tells us we live in a world that is grounded in mutuality: in interdependence rather than independence. And living with a genuine mutuality of interest has little if anything to do with “being in control” or adhering to inflexible ideas and/or objectives. Although the many benefits technology has given us in recent years can hardly be denied, there is clearly a need to reflect on the ways our reliance on technology may have obscured or even blinded us to our innate need to think, feel, and experience life as complete human persons—persons who can draw on both our capacity for technological ingenuity and the creative spiritual insight needed to integrate it into the overall fabric of life unfolding in our world. It is my hope that the material collected in this website can play a small part in responding to this collective need.
Paul D. Crawford, PhD.
P.S. I am fortunate to have lived in many diverse, stimulating locations throughout my life, and to have been engaged professionally in many diverse and stimulating activities (including academic work in Educational Psychology, Philosophy, Theology, Music, and Interdisciplinary Studies, as well as practical experience as a composer, performer, radio-music producer, teacher, nature enthusiast, dog-lover, and avid reader).
Today, I enjoy a semi-retired lifestyle in a small city situated in an environment ideally suited (I believe) to stimulating all aspects of what it means to be a human person. This community is in the beautiful, mountainous interior of southern British Columbia, Canada, and has a diverse, yet cohesive and welcoming character. It’s a place I admire for being both keen on preserving a connection with its past and eager to look to new ideas about responding to future challenges. This combination is what makes it, in my view, a place that is ideally suited to responding to life is as full and creative a way as possible.