For most of this year, I’ve been grappling with the question of the direction Love Not Fear should go, and I wanted to share a question I picked up that helped me explain where we are.
I recently got to hear Mick Eberling of Not Impossible Labs speak to a group I’m a part of, and if you don’t know his story, it’s worth getting to know it. Here’s a ten minute TED talk that lays it out:
(You kind of need to watch it for this to make sense.)
Setting aside the amazing things he and his band of merry mad scientists have done, his question at about 2:00 in, “Who is the one?” struck a chord with me. When he tackles a problem he’s not trying to solve a huge theoretical problem, like hunger, or ALS, or amputations. He’s trying to help a particular person with a problem that he finds absurd, a problem that really needs to be converted from impossible to solve to…not impossible.
He threw in a Camus quote I had never heard before about absurdity: “The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”
So let me apply these to this searching moment of Love Not Fear’s direction.
There is a problem that I see as absurd – as existing in a confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world. It’s the problem of isolation and fear driven by our culture that leads to anxiety, despair, addiction, and extremism. The one, for me, is the next mass shooter, the next radical terrorist, or maybe the next opioid addict or alcoholic or suicide victim. My one is the person who can’t find positive purpose and meaning and constructive connection in the world as we have it today, because they aren’t able to find the real-life, pro-social interaction that we are wired to need.
Love Not Fear can be about other things; I think for some, Love Not Fear’s “One” is the person who isn’t at risk of despair, but feels helpless in the face of the fear, anger, hate and violence in the world around us. It may be that in solving their challenge, we come closer to solving the challenge I want to get to. Or it may be that Love Not Fear needs two separate channels of focus.
I’ll be asking those who are attracted to Love Not Fear this question, though. What’s your one?