NSL Blog

I + We = Why? Up Helly Aa answers that question [2]

January 29, 2012

Yok Fest

The intimacy gleaned from co-existing in close quarters – safe quarters, where doors are open (in fact you’re liable to wake up in the morning and find someone asleep on your sofa who wasn’t there the night before) is intense, but therapeutic. The physical intimacy of festivities – dancing, hugging, sharing homes – makes people feel okay with their lot.

Scientific studies prove our need for intimacy – our need to be touched. Even placebo acupuncture makes us happy; or alternative therapies that involve stroking or any sort of physical contact. The ‘free huggers’ in cities are an attempt to reach out, touch and comfort our fellow humans, who’ve found themselves too self-conscious to be spontaneous. This introversion has caused us to grow self-absorbed – and false, because we’re making up an identity we’ve lost. Our narrative is veiled with niceties and empty phrases.

Humans are physiologically interdependent. We depend upon one-another for happiness. Those with fewer friends die younger. The mood of another in the same room affects our mood. We mimic, mirror, send signals.

This pattern of connectedness is rife in humanity, technology and science. For instance sympathetic resonance – a harmonic phenomenon wherein a passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness. In other words, if you have two similar tuning forks, whack one and the other will sing, despite the fact they’re not touching. Same as humans.

Everything has a natural frequency of vibration, i.e. its resonant frequency, including us. Just as a glass smashes when you hit a certain note, so too do we resonate at certain frequencies, seeking and finding meaning in different experiences, clans and value-sets.

Not only that, but resonant objects (whether musical instruments, or people) usually have more than one resonant frequency (harmonics). We will easily vibrate at those frequencies, and vibrate less strongly at others. We will ‘pick out’ our resonant frequency, in effect filtering out all frequencies other than our resonance.

The ideal life balance – a state of resonance and consonance – may encompass the intimacy, communal festivities and safety net of a geographically bound community, with the freedom, opportunity and drive of city culture.

Surfers out there, riding the wave of revolutionary change brought about by our networked society (and loving it), understand we can stop relying on institutions and take responsibility for change and quality of life. This responsibility breeds happiness, because it arises from feeling part of something.

Knock on every door on your street and ask your neighbours if they’ve ever thought how bonkers it is that there are 40 lawns and 40 lawnmowers, then set up a lawnmower sharing club. Start a global tribe of like-minded passionistas around something that matters. Fed up with a crappy council service? Crowd-source an alternative. Chip in and take it upon yourself. The technology is a given.

The revolution will not be clad in cotton wool, to save us from our deadly expectations; our fake chase for happiness down roads to nowhere; our seriousness and decadent independence. The revolution will embrace the real and the surreal; discard the fake and the auto-pilot. We will triangulate our identities within a frame of reference that is human, do-unto-others, bold and true.

The revolution embraces the startling efficiency of voice.

Jane Young

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