Two Dimensional Strangers

Modernity, and life in an urban (or even suburban) context offers a world full of strangers – two dimensional beings, known and categorized in seconds. It is said that you have only seven seconds to make a first impression. So too do all the humans you see around you – seven seconds. How could they…

Soma

In Brave New World, soma is the government supplied drug that numbs and offers blissful escape from any unpleasantness, whether great or small. Modernity has built up her offerings until it is nearly impossible to avoid dusting oneself with our own versions of soma. One starts with the obvious – the internet. But it is…

Spaces

Spaces in our lives create aeration, room in the soil around us for growth, for us to send roots in all directions, not just one. The roots stabilize us, but without the space, we only grow a taproot. The tiny sideways roots hold us together, stabilize us as a whole, and make the soil itself…

Arrow People

Modernity has an ideal. Young, healthy, independent. Oh, it’s not a secret… the secret is the extent to which this ideal has overtaken. Let’s discuss the modern ideal, or as I call them, the arrow people. Physical youth is not necessary for an arrow person, but the trappings of youth are. Excellent health, adventurousness, and…

Defining the Terms

To speak clearly, one must think clearly. To think clearly, one must know what one is speaking of. Defining the terms is important – especially as I’m going to turn some common use on its head. Community: A) A locale (e.g. town, neighborhood) B) A group of people in your local area with whom you…

Living Systems Require Stewards, not Masters

Living things require stewards, not masters. Why? Because living things cannot be mastered wholly – and attempts that are semi-successful ruin their objects. It is time that we gave up the idea that we can be in complete control of that which lives. Land, animals, societies and ourselves – we are far too complex to…

The Need to be Known

The need to be known goes both ways. We need to know those around us, and we need them to know us. This need is social and emotional, it’s also extremely practical. Let me start with an example of the latter. The other day, as I was driving to the grocery store, I saw a…

There Can Be Only One

We live in a culture where we focus our attention on a very few people, and only those people really “matter”. We gossip about their private lives, we envy their possessions, we sigh at their accomplishments, we strategize over their methodology, desperate to reproduce their success… and yet, they are strangers. They might as well…

New Ethics: Curiosity and the avoidance of Gossip

If we’re going to get back to being serious about community, we need to learn the lessons that have been taught – we need to learn about community killers and create new ethics. We’re going to need to make sure our communities have enough fresh air and sunlight, and we’re going to have to choke…

Letting Ourselves Be Real

I just finished an amazing book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. One of the quotes that hit me between the teeth was: “The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners.   The pious fellowship…