7. Metanoia / Μετάνοια / (meh-tah-NOY-uh)
The English idea which mirrors that of metanoia isn’t a very popular one.
That idea is one of repentance.
To apologize is one thing, to repent is another entirely.
Literally meaning “to turn away”, it requires an added level of accountability, implying a change of course.
Sort of like a revolution.
Or maybe a reloveution.
Much of the historical dialogue around repentance comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition, and while I believe it an important one, skeptics may disagree.
That’s fine, but I cannot alter the facts.
And the fact is, many of our collective ideals and engagements with reality (from words and symbols to calendars and cultures) are underpinned by a substructural understanding based in Christian truths.
As you’ve probably noticed, metanoia is another Greek term, and it comes from the root metanoein, which means “to change one’s mind”.
In an age where we’re praised for sticking to our guns, it’s the opposite which proves more valuable over the long term. Being able to change your mode of thinking allows you to participate in discourse more intelligently, engage in a consistent feedback loop of learning, and perhaps… even gain a new superpower.
We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them
I’ll make this last point quickly.
Because now, I think it’s pretty clear that Trump has resorted to troll status in the eyes of many; but what does this mean for civil engagement?
Perhaps a recalibration of norms are needed.
And I believe, metanoia can be of assistance.
Here’s a thought experiment.
Think of how annoyed you are when Trump hits send on a tweet.
Or Hillary. Or whoever. Doesn’t matter.
Now, imagine how “meta-annoying” it is for you to get so frustrated by characters on a screen that have virtually no material impact on your existence right here and right now.
It’s almost as if, you dont have to do that.
Because, if metanoia is letting go of the old in exchange for the new, then our infatuation with a rotten system becomes a serious indictment of our will to improve.
That includes our propensity to tune in and react to the rubbish.
If there’s something we need more of today, it’s the ability to reflect & reframe. To understand things from new perspectives, and to relentlessly move in the direction of truth.
Even if that means changing a few things.