Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fences and Good Neighbors:

25 April 2013

If contemporary American life suffers most from one particular lack, it is the evaporation of a sense of shared community. In this essay on Good, Annie Leonard speaks to a way of restoring some functioning level of community:

The evaporation seemed to begin during the rise of television in the 1950s. Computers and the Internet and social media have contributed to this loss, by increasing the shallow artifice of pretense: now we have “friends” instead of people whom we actually know, and on whom we can mutually depend.

In recent years, we have distorted such terms as “friend” and “like” with greater, casual facility. The words become as meaningless, in their original senses, as the transient relationships they now commonly portray. We now measure our friendships in terms of quantity—the number of “friends” we have on facebook; the number of “followers” we have on Twitter.

We change jobs more-often than ever before in human history. Our children no longer follow along through their school careers with the same class they begin with. We move more-often: across town, across the country.

Meanwhile, the quality of our offline relationships grow more and more to reflect the transient and superficial nature of the online versions.

Small wonder at our willingness to disregard the opinions of others, and to dismiss partisan counterparts, rather than to find ways of benefitting from the differences that all sides bring to the communal “neighborhood.”

It was “Good” to read Ms. Leonard’s brief essay on establishing community with one’s neighborhood.

(($; -)}
One person commenting on Ms. Leonard’s piece provides a link to the Fellowship for Intentional Communities, an organization that supports types of community involvement that Ms. Leonard shares with her neighbors.


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