Attempting to nudge myself back into writing after almost 8 months of producing only one piece of writing has not been an easy feat. Neither is trying to contribute thoughts in a drastically changed world since the pandemic started almost 18 months ago.

The initial shock into mass-felt humbleness later faded into horror, anxiety, forced solitude, boredom, and mediocrity of purpose to some. Never has humanity united so massively in living along the edge of the uncertain as we have this past year and a half.

While having a conversation with a friend the other day, he was rounding up ways in which the world has gone mad, found myself mumbling to him how life makes no sense at the macro level, that its beauty can always be seen on the micro, individual level.

Yet, the macro (world stage) is as gloomy as it ever was, one could argue it has grown more texture, and some visible roots or living in it for over 46 years produces that view. Even on the micro level when amplified by social media, has gotten so noisy it takes deliberate effort to find the source of inspiration that might move you. Even loss became a mass-felt experience, leaving each one of us normalizing the one part of life, that has perplexed humanity into centuries of discovery become the every day, sort-of.

What’s left really?

Maybe my quest to live more deliberately is a defensive mechanism into which I channel any hint of desperation? Maybe a toolbox I grab to find a solution to dilemmas that faces me?

I feel we are most amazing when we feel connected. When we feel heard, interacted with, when we relate and when we help make beautiful memories.

At the heart of any attempt at reaching this amazing, is growing our capability to relate to everything living around us. Our urban living, divisive politics, the internet, and its toolbox, nuclear families we form and protect only to feel trapped within, all of that and more if anything is a war against empathy, against connecting and letting our consciousness drive meaning.

Empathy is no longer an automatic response most of us feel out-of-the-box anymore. At its best is a momentary experience which if didn’t last few minutes might last few days. Then our indulgent day-to-day creeps in before we could make meaning out of the experience let alone a lasting action of some sort.

Never has empathy needed to be an intentional force to our being as it is today.

Back in the day, novels introduced empathy en masse. To enjoy a novel, one has to feel with the main character at least get into their world and understand their struggle. You can’t enjoy a novel without empathy. So it goes consuming films and tv shows, with the added visual reinforcement. Yet I feel novels still allow for the kind of imagination and longer time needed to strengthen empathy.

Whether some believe that intention is at the heart of our world or those that don’t, inherit is the reality that there is much we don’t know about. Rendering all of us vulnerable to a similar almost exact degree, at least where it matters the most. Many of the choices we are presented with are built upon complex paths of both our own choices but mostly on choices that were made for us, be it a creed, race, tribe, gender, geography, or language. To a degree where we might want to define human life itself as an attempt at uniqueness, to some at least.

Yet, at every significant intersection, we pick one aspect and make it the whole of who we are. However normal this behavior is to our humanity, yet we can’t escape how it’s emotionally geared toward canceling or belittling the other. Even if temporarily, and even if righteously driven, defensively charged, or logically reasoned. Then again, this is our nature and no reason to hate nor love it the same way we don’t hate not having an extra hand nor regretting having a fifth toe.

Yet, how can we nudge each other into more empathy?

How can we find comfort amongst those that we think understand us and the world similarly yet not alienate ourselves from everyone that doesn’t?

How can we engage with the other without losing a part of who we are and what we stand for?

How can we bring ourselves to sometimes discuss the mundane without sounding too righteously superior?

I am not trying to simplify the complex, neither belittle bigger issues here, my thesis if any is how can we deliberately through all forms of expression and mediums nudge ourselves and those who hear us into letting everyone just be.

Razan Khatib

Razan Khatib

Playing at the intersection of culture, technology, and values. Trying to structure my thoughts and share experiences, learnings, and insights. Co-founder of @spring_apps
Amman, Jordan