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Michael | Bochum

Every age has its concerns, and by concerns I do not solely mean worries. The word to concern derives from the Latin word concernere, which originally meant something like “to sift”, in later usage also “to touch” or “to belong to”. Our concerns belong to us, they touch us, and if we sift our lives at any given moment, we will find these certain issues that occupy our minds and hearts.

Even if I am busy with only a few concerns at a time, I know of the existence of a whole ocean of desires, passions, hopes, fears and choices out there, all potential concerns. And it happens that I feel dropped into the middle of this ocean, without any boat or island nearby, just surrounded by endless possibilities of things to touch me, raised and lowered by waves, sometimes seeing the horizon, sometimes only walls of water. Then all these desires and passions and hopes and choices become hard to bear, simply too much, which can be pretty overwhelming.

If you look at literature, art, films or simply history books, you will find some ever-recurring themes that define our human existence here on earth. Among the most popular are love and relationships, ageing and death, spirituality, jealousy and greed, success and failure or, more generally put, desires, passions, hopes, fears and choices. Sure, there are more, but they can be summed up more or less within these confines. And to be honest, my concerns are pretty much the same.

Realizing my own concerns and talking to other people about theirs helps me to put the vast ocean into perspective. I imagine Bamboo Community to be a space to share our concerns, to learn from each other and to find some clues as to how to navigate this ocean of concerns around us.
I find that the three principles “living simply”, “solidarity” and “contemplation” provide a helpful compass for this.

Simplifying my life means discerning what my concerns actually are, what really touches me (yes, to discern and to concern share the same etymology, if you wondered). Knowing this helps to set my priorities right and to act accordingly.

Solidarity to me in this context means opening up to the concerns of the other, acknowledging her or his desires, passions, hopes, fears and choices – an attitude acquired and cultivated in a community like Bamboo, but to be applied universally.

And contemplation, this miraculous thing? Contemplation is the ability to marvel at the colour of the ocean’s water and the sky above.


Michael Fendel

Michael FendelMichael is a student of Media Studies and American Studies at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. He is interested in seeing and helping things grow, both literally and figuratively speaking, which fuels his thinking about growing veggies, urban development and community life.
Michael has recently taken on the role as Online Community Manager for Bamboo Community trying to help this community grow.