January 12, 2018 – January 14, 2018
Ten years. We've been doing this ten years ... This thing called New York Encounter.
There's a natural parable which all human feats follow: They begin, they grow, come to maturity, and then they end. Our own life is like that.
When we started in 2009, we didn't know what the future – if any – held. We knew, though, that we wanted to live the present intensely. That is what we still want, that is what we invite everybody to, and that is the breath of the Encounter, today as it was ten years ago.
An 'Impossible' Unity
We naturally yearn for unity and long to be part of a real community: life blossoms when it is shared.
And yet, we live in an age of fragmentation. At the social level, we suffer profound divisions among peoples and religions, and our country is ever more polarized along ideological lines, corroding our unity. At the personal level, we are often estranged from our communities, family members, and friends. When we discover that someone doesn't think the way we do, we feel an embarrassing distance, if not open hostility, that casts a shadow on the relationship. As a result, either we become angry or we avoid controversial issues altogether, and retreat into safe territories with like-minded people.
But the disunity we see around us often begins within ourselves. We are bombarded by images of what we are "supposed" to be, but they generally do not correspond to who we really are. In fact, our truest self seems to escape us. The full scope of our humanity, with all its vast and profound needs and desires, may suddenly emerge, elicited by memories, thoughts or events, but usually quickly fades, without lasting joy or real change. And unless our relationships are rooted in the common experience of such humanity, we don't even have real dialogue; we just chat, gossip, text or argue.
In the end, the unity we long for seems impossible.
But what if it is possible? How can it happen?
"You know it well: you can't manage a thing; you're tired; you can't go on. And all at once you meet the gaze of someone in the crowd—a human gaze—and it's as if you had drawn near to a hidden divine presence. And everything suddenly becomes simpler."
Join us on January 12-14, 2018 for a weekend of public discussions, exhibits and live performances to explore these questions together.