Anthropological and Psychological Take on Synodality

Anthropologically, John T. Cacioppo explains that humans derive strength from our collective ability to plan, communicate, and work together because our hormonal and genetic makeup support interdependence over independence. He writes, “Whether we know it or not, our brain and biology have been shaped to favor this outcome.” 

Cacioppo further illuminates how our biological machinery of the brain warns us when our ability to survive and prosper is threatened. Hunger is a warning that our blood sugar is low and we need to eat. Pain alerts us to potential tissue damage. Loneliness tells us that we need social connection.

Our response to the warning sign of loneliness is to be found in qualitative, and not quantitative, connection of friendships (Susan Pinker in Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness). For these reasons, connection matters, journeying together matters, and synodality matters. We are innately programmed for belonging. Shame is so painful and debilitating, because we are wired for belonging (Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness).

Based on research, it has been discovered that living with air pollution increases our odds of dying early by 5 percent. Living with obesity, by 20 percent. Excessive drinking by 30 percent. And living with loneliness increases our odds of dying early by 45%.

“I’ve experienced three ‘Covids’ in my own life: my illness . . .  When I got really sick at the age of twenty-one I had my first experience of limit, of pain and loneliness. It changed the way I saw life. . .The serious illness I lived through taught me to depend on the goodness and wisdom of others. . .” (Pope Francis, Let us Dream: The Path to a Better Future).

As we journey together, think on these insights!!!!

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