FAQ Memberlist Usergroups Register Log in
Profile Log in to check your private messages Search

Do we have a community?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic     Forum Index -> General Discussion
Author Message
Nem



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 2141
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:58 pm    Post subject: Do we have a community? Reply with quote

Something I've been thinking for a fairly long time but occurred to me in a particularly stark fashion tonight.

Draw a picture of some random bit of street - flip your pencil around so you've got the eraser: Now then. Start scrubbing out the bits where people who don't know each other already are unlikely to meet and talk.

What are you left with? Companies - companies bring in new people a fair bit. Schools. The occasional club. And miles and miles of blank paper. White voids where the soul of a nation perhaps, once upon a time, went.

You get people out of school and onto welfare - and the nature of that will only increase as the efficiency of production increases; there's only so much stuff people need or want... (I personally have as much as I can imagine needing or wanting and any wealth I gain from here on in is primarily concerned with assuring my current standard of living. I'm comfortable, I have access to as much information as I want - what else IS there?) And then... how do they take part in anything? What's really left?

Been struggling to come up with an answer for that for a while now. And for the life of me I can't think of one that bodes well for us. You start asking questions like 'Why would people hurt others' - and interface it with that.... you end up shifting the emphasis - why wouldn't people.... What goes in that blank space. And if you can't come up with an answer. Well, 'oh dear.'

So the question I have for you is this, if it wasn't clear already: What do you leave standing when you take your eraser to society? What do you see in the blank spaces of others? ... do you think we really have a community, as such, or a collection of niche enclaves playing the role of an integrated, diverse, society?
_________________
Never forget,
We stroll along the roof of hell
Gazing at flowers.
- Issa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Tyris



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 877
Location: Beneath a vast mound of curly hair

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What integrated, diverse society? Has there ever been one? Can you actually have a society that is both integrated and diverse?
_________________
You can't look dignified when you're having fun.
Dubbed "Tetris" by Asa... apparently.
Keeper of Nanashi's ghostly blue visage and Felucca's hypothetical ejecting nose-cone.

"It's a sad thing when a man loses his cookie." - Nem
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
Tinalles
Site Admin


Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 1630
Location: Grand Forks

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a question and an observation.

The question: what is a "community", exactly?

The observation: A huge amount of your analysis relies on people living in major cities where anonymity is feasible.

In a town of a thousand or fewer people, the whole question of where strangers meet each other suddenly becomes nonsensical, because the only strangers are newly arrived, newborn, or just passing through. Newborns and new neighbors will get to know everyone in pretty short order, because novelty is always interesting and people will go out of their way to meet the new folks. People just passing through are essentially irrelevant to the life of the town.

Yet it wouldn't seem reasonable to claim that such a place is not a community.
_________________
Keeper of The Remnant Minuon (cognomen Lucy, the Eaten One) and the Emissary Caeli
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 3532
Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, you're assuming people don't want to meet each other. I meet people on the street, at the bus stop, in the supermarket (though less so), on the bus, in synagogue, in homes... (granted I'm not very social, so that's about the extent of my interaction)

And by 'meet', I mean 'encounter and acknowledge'. I might not know their names, but they're people and I connect to them. They might be strangers in that sense of the word, but that doesn't mean we're isolated.

Is that what your question is about?
_________________
Self-styled Forum Grandmother, because I hand out nicknames and hugs whether you want them or not. ^_^

Keeper of the Library and the Gateway to Haven

Nem: "It's the sort of face you just know is getting ready to poke you with something sharp."
BS: "...then insist you eat a brownie."
__________________
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended...
Give me your hands if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tenshi



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 2594
Location: Star Stuff

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I see what you're trying to say, Nem. If you look at society in general, no matter the size of the population, it's fairly easy to see that there is a gulf between intimate personal interactions - that is to say "friendships" - and the normal day to day. In fact, we just had some reading for an English class that spoke to the author's dissatisfaction with that. The author of that piece used a fairly good example, a death in the neighborhood. He commented that the neighbors knew the statistics of the family: where they worked, what the family consisted of by gender and age, and other surface bits of information. What they lacked, however, was a deeper understanding of who those people were. What made them unique as individuals, as human beings.

The same could be said of most people, however. At least it feels that way to me, but I find myself thinking similarly to you. I look at a city, and I see loose collections of strangers and small groups of friends. The networks of friendships, friends of friends of friends if you will, is a very interesting visual. I recall seeing a video that made a three dimensional map of friendships over a decade or two, that was fascinating as to how interconnected things were or were not.

To answer your overall question about whether or not we have a community, I'd like to think we do. We have a gathering of people who are mostly rather like-minded, and we have similar views on the world (or at least similar values on how to treat others). We've found worth and likeability in one another, despite broad differences in location or lifestyle. We've come together in times of grief, surely a common thread among communities, and we've celebrated milestones in several lives.

There is something to be said for what Asa and Tinman mention, though. Smaller populations, or populations willing to step outside of their comfort and make contact with strangers. Even greeting people on the street that you already know is somewhat lacking, in some more recent experiences. On the other hand, I can sympathize with the struggle to want to reach out whilst walking down the street.

It's something I've thought on at length, that contact and communication. It's a life a bit more free of cynicism, I think. Rather enviable. ^_^

But, yes. I think that Earthsong is a community, and on top of that one I prefer over many of the easier-by-location ones I could belong to.
_________________
. Dubbed "Usagi" by AsA .
Keeper of the Siderean Swords

"If by chance some day you're not feeling well, and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done, and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled."
Red Skelton
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 3532
Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Earthsong is definitely a community. If you ask "Who are my friends?" the Earthsong community is the first thought in my mind. Granted I don't know where the majority of you live, or what your real names are, but if we lived in the same neighborhood, you're the people I'd want to hang out with at the ice cream shop Friday night (well, Thursday night, but whatever).

And to me - maybe it's because I don't look for deep relationships from many people - I draw strength from the tendrils of contact that come from smiling at people on the street, saying "No, I don't know when the bus is coming," making eye contact with my seatmate on the bus. Because we live in a large, farflung society, we can't expect to be in everyone's back pocket. Or I don't, anyway, and I'm not disappointed when it doesn't happen. There's also an element of MAKING your own community. If you see too many 'gaps' in your community, narrow your focus and find the people you do contact.

It's the same kind of thing you have to do on a university campus. There are too many people with too many different focuses (foci?) to feel integrated if you make the whole place your baseline. You have to narrow your parameters and choose the people who share your interests, or live in your building, or follow your bus route. Build your personal community from the inside out rather than the outside in.


And I sense that I'm still going to be the voice of optimism in this crowd. ^_^;
_________________
Self-styled Forum Grandmother, because I hand out nicknames and hugs whether you want them or not. ^_^

Keeper of the Library and the Gateway to Haven

Nem: "It's the sort of face you just know is getting ready to poke you with something sharp."
BS: "...then insist you eat a brownie."
__________________
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended...
Give me your hands if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic     Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum



Elveron phpBB theme/template by Ulf Frisk and Michael Schaeffer
Copyright Ulf Frisk, Michael Schaeffer 2004


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group