When something is said to be “ethereal” it often connotes a slightly derogatory meaning. As in, “It’s a bit out there.” Or, “It’s not very down to earth.” As in, “That was fun, but now let’s get back to the real world.”

I’ve come to learn that such derogatory comments are a bit presumptuous. Just as American comedian and actress Lilly Tomlin once quipped, “Reality is only a widely shared consensual hunch.”

The real world, if defined as “if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t count,” has always felt a bit limited to me. As if, something outside a spreadsheet formula is simply frivolous. Can’t be, right?

I got a bit curious the other day with this reference to “ethereal.”

  • the mysterious substance once thought to suffuse the universe and be the medium that propagated light (and later, radio waves)
  • the material that suffused the realm of the Gods
  • something being communicated from place to place, yet with no precise location of origin

Ahem, this human to human work of connecting and learning in groups ought to be a bit ethereal, no? Creating containers for propagated light — I’ll buy into that.

Sounds a bit like “emergence.” Sounds a bit like “field.” Sounds a bit like “culture of connection and learning.” Sounds a bit like, “I’ll have a bit more of that please.”

Here’s to the welcome of ethereal. And to the continued learning that any of us have to support just a bit of mystery to go along with those good spreadsheets.

I’d suggest we, individually and collectively, could use a bit more light.