Thinking is a Collective Act

Building Networks of Trust

As the new year has accelerated (we are almost to March, y’all!), I have discovered that many folks are just living with the attitude of “business as usual.” Yes, we are still living through a global pandemic, and many of my fellow Tennesseans either don’t believe the virus is real or think it is propaganda. This has got me to thinking about how we recover networks of trust?

This is my first written piece on Substack this year largely because I’ve been working 7 days a week with very few breaks or spaciousness to even have a thought. And, the thing that I have been thinking about is how everyone is just “business as usual.” I find this cultural moment not only disturbing, but wonder if we will just collectively try to do this on our own, instead of learning that what we need are networks of trust?

If you want to think more about this, check out the Activist Theology Podcast where we talked with Dean Spade on Mutual Aid and Scott Santens on Unconditional Basic Income!

I’ve always thought that thinking together is better than trying to solve our problems on our own, but I know that not everyone thinks like this! I know that the dominant culture, in which we are all swimming in the same water, accelerates what I call a neo-liberal subjectivity. Meaning, there is an acceleration of hyper-individualism and modalities of self-creation that seems to deprive us all from building community and networks that can help hold the virtue of trust. And, I am much more interested in an ethics of togetherness than trying to pull myself up by the boot-straps that I don’t have!

So, I wanted to start a conversation here, on Substack, and recommit myself to the ongoing building and participating in networks of trust. As I’ve journeyed this year in 2021, I’ve been receiving 2 Substack newsletters: Cathleen Falsani’s Look for the Light and Dr. Diana Butler Bass’ The Cottage. These two writers have inspired me for years, and I want to participate in what they are also building through writing: a space to think together and live out our politics in artful & poetic ways. To that end, consider this newsletter at the end of February my confession of being caught up in the whirlwind of a deep hustle and my desire to be participating in the building of the kind of world we long to inhabit!

Onward, —Dr. Robyn.