Social Media And Shared Sensibilities

I’d like to unpack what I wrote to David Gozli on Twitter yesterday in response to his 3-minute video about the style of his YouTube Channel:

Davood states that his channel will be a place for “local intellectuals,” not the “Starbucks” of intellectuals who seek to appeal to everyone.

I share his broad orientation and, for about a decade, have lived my life in a way that enables me to go deeper with individuals I care about. For instance, I’ve never tried to scale up my philosophy practice; it’s simply grown organically and of its own accord. I like it that way.

In my life, however, the intellectual commitment has been less important than what in the tweet I refer to as a “common sensibility.” What do I mean here? Take the people I’ve met recently at meditation retreats: those I wish to stay in touch with are truth-seeking, courageous, and loving. By “truth-seeking,” I mean that they’re willing to examine anything, including themselves, with a view to getting to the very root of the matter. By “courageous,” I mean that they seek to act in the face of fear for the sake of the good (here, truth). By “loving,” I mean–say–that when we’re in each other’s presence there is a felt sense of welcoming, of in no way being turned away.

Though it’s not easy, it’s possible to use social media and other technological tools in a skillful way in order to discover people with common sensibilities. And once that discovery is made, the slow, graceful process of moving the conversation to another platform or medium where greater depth is possible can begin.

Scale, in brief, is not where the heart is, and where the heart is I am.