Why am I in this project? Because I want to learn everything that can be learnt about this world. And I know this is a really huge goal but, at the same time, is what I feel that I have to do and for me it’s amazing how I can listen to all of you and, because we are from different cultures, you show me a lot of really, really beautiful ways of seeing life and seeing things in general. So, this is the purpose of why I am here. And of course, I want to discover more about myself. (18, Romania)
What marks the difference between a questioning process and a research experience? In questioning, we respond to something that comes to us from the outside world, demanding an immediate answer. What happens when we commit to returning, over and over again, to something essential to us? We could say that to research means to commit ourselves to the deeply human longing of being in the path of knowledge.
In (re)searching, we don’t just respond, with immediacy to any query. We set our will alive, —alight—, as if it were a flame with a question that truly means something to us, that calls us. How difficult it is to commit honestly to a process of investigation when the question does not resonate within us! And yet, life, as Constanza Kaliks told us during out latest (Re)Search in times of COVID-19 meeting, is a continuous process of (re)search:
In a certain sense, every day we are re-searching again, re-searching our own path and in a sense, we could say that life itself is a re-search, a renewed search for being together. If we ask ourselves what is the difference between briefly asking a question and researching, I would say that it is connected to the theme of the last meeting “trust & connection”: The point is to re-connect to a question, a topic, to others, but also to ourselves. So, in this intense living with the question, it means that, by going back and back, searching again and again, we are somehow shaping something, not just visiting something already given, but shaping from the ground on, renewing reality through this search.
After three months of living with different questions posed by youth from around the world, we felt the need to ask ourselves the manner in which we were connecting with these and what the purpose lies in confronting them. Is the point simply to answer them? Is it to seek for something yet unknown, that already lives within us and seems to elude us? Some sort of wisdom, perhaps, that is awaiting our own interest to awaken in the shape of a research question so that it can reveal itself to us.
It is uncomfortable to go again on these deep questions, when I was posing them, people were stopping and rejecting them: “This is too big, really, do we want to open this now?” And yet, aspects came to me unexpectedly, in random conversations, different people using the same world, how did that come now? Why are we talking about this? Aspects came to me and I wondered, were they always there but I wasn’t listening before? Or is it that now I am paying attention and thus attracting answers? (31, Germany)
Commitment to renewing knowledge, courage to admit one’s own ignorance, frustration during anticlimactic moments, willing to connect thoughts to real experiences so that concepts are not dead, —these were some of the experiences that our co-researchers have lived through during this process.
For me, connecting with a question in a way that it turns to research, means to let go of myself, for an instant at least. I have to devote myself to the content of the question wholly, fully, before I can begin the search. I feel that, otherwise, it is simply untrue. It is just me, seeking validation or proving to myself that I know something. But, do I know? I think I can always answer “no, I don’t know. I don’t know that much. But I want to know”. And then, the process begins, and I delve into every day concepts that before meant so little and now shine with a new light: “human”, “body”, “life”: what do they want to say through me? (31, Spain)
Sometimes, unexpected new concepts arise and questions that simply were not sought for appeared. Like for a research couple, who went from asking “what is the purpose of life” to “what is perfection” (Argentina, 19 & Netherlands, 20). Sometimes, it felt like an imposed task that had to be owned, somehow, before it could yield any actual meaning:
It was difficult to find a quiet moment to plunge into the questions, to look inside. However, it was so beautiful At the beginning, there were questions before me and they were like homework because it was like thinking about, “what can I write? what can I say?” And then, I take my time, I take my time and always thinking, while I was cooking, the questions just started to live into myself. And then there was the moment when I was feeling that something had to go outside… I take a paper, and with a colour, words, etc. Something came out… (36, Italy)
We have worked with three questions so far as a group: “what makes a human being human”; “what is the purpose of life” and “where has humanity gone”. These are the questions that lived within the group before we set out on this (Re)Search in times of COVID-19 initiative. Now, we begin to ask ourselves, what can we shape in the upcoming months from this experience? What may come to live in the future from it?
I would say that the gesture of researching is a gesture of going back to the realm of the connection to the unknown. It embraces also a very deep trust, that we are able to get connected to something unknown, and stay connected to something to come – the future. Re-search has the potential to connect the known to that what is still not visible, but already deeply related to us through our interest and longing. (Constanza Kaliks)
We welcome new participants into the process, always. If you want to join, or know a young person who could enjoy sharing a process like this in these special times that we are all living through, you can read more here or contact the team to request further instructions for the next meeting call.