Are we ever able to count upon anything as a common shared experience among all humans? Though the effort to do so may be born of good intentions and a desire to empathize, the attempt also seems inevitably doomed to dismissal via rigid relativism, and/or mockery via nihilism (that most undemanding and uncreative of the philosophic modes).
And yet, perhaps I have recently taken note of a “universal” human experience, and from that articulated a bit of wisdom. In itself a worthwhile effort, insofar as that among my indigenous forebears, the purpose of life was “to gain some wisdom.”
What is this oh so common and inspiring experience? When a parental figure mixes up the names of the children in their lives, as in, running down a list of names until eventually getting to the person actually being spoken to or summoned. It is easy to picture this experience as commn across all cultures and socioeconomics, yes? I’ve born witness enough times within and outside my respective households to at least cite firm anecdotal confidence.
What wisdom attends the recognition? The other night, having at last referred to my eldest daughter by her name after stumbling over those of her siblings, I mused:
Maybe humans do that as an ingrained, organic, true expression of our prayerful natures. With the saying of children’s names something akin to ritualistic incantations – the subconscious repetition and counting out of deep blessings.
Anyhow, the thought has stuck with me since, adding a layer of more nuanced appreciation to a bit of linguistic bumbling I’ve always found decidedly charming, as both speaker and summoned.