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What's on my mind

My recent entry on hitch-hiking brought in a response from a young photographer who said she hadn''t ever experienced community . . . which both saddened and surprised me. The surprise, because I tend to think of LJ as an exercise in community. In fact, there are more than 700 groups on LJ that employ community (or communities) as one of their interests.

Yeah, it's an odd kind of community, in that it never 'gets together' except perhaps in small and no doubt private settings. But then community has always had a variety of definitions. The sad part, however, is that community is one of the primary things that the so called flower-kids counter-culture was all about. A time in cultural history that comes in for some pretty sorry judgement, these days. But I, myself - the very life I've lived, for the latter half of it - am a direct product of those years and that culture. So I of course think it sad, to hear it said by anyone at all, but particularly by young folks, that they don't know the experience of community.

And then I have to reflect that I really know what that's all about. In the two decades or so that I was part of the wage-earning world, and from among the 60-odd places I must have worked over that time, I met and worked with a lot of people but I have not a single friend to show for it, today. It is simply NOT an environment for the creation of community. From the nearly four decades since I left that 'dead world', I have collected friends here, there, and everywhere, many of whom I am still involved or in contact with. More, in fact, whom I lost to death, over the course of that time, than to the kind of distancing that is so often the case with friends-on-the-job.

So I know what this young lady meant . . . I know what she meant. And my clearest hope is that our society will oneday return to putting a high value on community, take it to heart and begin to experiment with it again. The main thing standing in its way is that we basically compete with each other in the worlds we occupy. For jobs, for lovers, for money, for status, for achievement, for recognition . . . in other words, we live in self-created worlds of scarcity, in the very midst of more than enough to go around. Doesn't that seem quite stupid?


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 17th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
I think that the sense of community is one of the greatest casualties of the post-60s capitalism.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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