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We need filters and playpens. There are waaaaay too many humans out there to potentially interact with, and we need filters. Unfortunately, most of us end up using stereotypes as filters. Bad juju. Filtering by values leads to sameness of viewpoints and lack of diversity; real community needs diversity to challenge us and make us accept differences. We need PHYSICAL limitations, restrictions on our mobility. An example; traveling by air is nice but impersonal. You are never stuck with anyone for a long amount of time, and it's over pretty quickly. Greyhound takes a LOT longer, and one tends to talk more to people at bathroom and meal stops. (I LOVE GREYHOUND SO MANY GOOD STORIES) This is a chance to build a rapport. You subconsciously recognize that you are going to be with these people for a looooong time, so you don't mind spending that time getting to know them. Not so with planes; I'm annoyed when someone tries to talk to me during a flight because we don't have enough interaction to be that familiar.

Physical filters keep us interacting with the same smaller group of people over and over again, rather than a continuous stream of new people. Think about the computer game The Sims 2. What people continually walk by your house, giving you a chance to get to know them? Your neighbors. When you go to a community lot, who do you run into? Your neighbors. Over and over again, you encounter the same people, giving you a chance to raise your relationship score and Make WhooHoo in the clothing booth. Wait. Overextending the metaphor there. Point is. We rarely have this frequency with anyone but our work mates. Not even our FAMILY gives us this encounter frequency when we move out.

Etc, etc, but I'm tired of standing and I might be able to sleep soon, so that's it.

--

We are all operating under the illusion that we have enough time in our lives to complete everything we want to do. This is a falsity. We don't have close to enough time. I feel there is so much work to be done towards understanding this world, that were I to encounter an untimely death, I would want to be reincarnated (with a way to download all the previous knowledge and understanding I had accrued in the previous life) even given all the shit I'd have to go through again. However, I would only want to go through it again were I given the GUARANTEE that I would remember all the knowledge from my previous life ("OK, where was I...oh yes, the biological empathy limit of the human brain and the resulting social consequences...").
remix3: (Default)
"We human beings have a great need for one another. As described by the West African writer and teacher Malidoma Some, we have 'an instinct of community'. However, at the end of the twentieth century this instinct to be together is materializing as growing fragmentation and separation. We experience terrible ethnic wars, militia groups, special-interest clubs, and chat rooms. We are using the instinct of community to separate and protect us from one another, rather than creating a global culture of diverse, yet interwoven communities. We search for those most like us in order to protect ourselves from the rest of society. Clearly, we cannot get to a future worth inhabiting through these separating paths. Our great task is to rethink our understanding of community so that we can move from the closed protectionism of the current forms to openness and an embracing of the planetary community."

This succinctly states all I've been trying to get out. I feel so inadequate. In one paragraph...*shakes head*

The assembly line is a perfect example of what modern society does to us. Instead of thinking, acting human beings, we become cogs in a machine, numb and seeking further numbness. When our god is efficiency, we cease to matter. We are no longer the focus, efficiency is.

I think I'll go down the south waterfront this evening and see how that artificial community functions in the evening. It's effectively a gated community set right outside of downtown intended to replicate suburban living for richies who want to live downtown.

I don't think I'm smart enough to solve this problem...

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December 2009

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