by Kenneth Justice
~Have you ever noticed that we are often drawn to crowds of people?
Last night, looking through my window I noticed a ton of my neighbors standing outside on the street corner. I couldn’t help but scuttle outside to see what was going on. Turns out an older dude had gotten sloshed and driven recklessly through the neighborhood. The police caught up with him and arrested him; when they pulled the guy out of his truck he was totally naked! It was quite a hoot, and thankfully the drunk driver didn’t hurt anyone.
Had I not seen a crowd of people standing outside I might not have ever found out what was going on.
~ Have you ever noticed that we are often drawn to crowds of people?
I’ve walked into restaurants with friends and finding the restaurant to be entirely empty; my friends have made comments like, “This place really blows, look how dead it is in here!” There were a few times where we decided to go to a different restaurant; as though we somehow thought the restaurant didn’t have great food merely because the place was so empty.
There are some times in life where you want solace; when you want to get away from people and have peace and quiet.
Yet more often than not….we are often drawn to crowds of people.
–) A crowded movie theater (filled with polite people) is exciting to watch the opening of a new film; the buzz of excitement in the crowd is infectious.
–) A crowded concert theater adds to the excitement of the music as the musicians are often energized by the buzz of the people.
–) A crowded stadium contributes to the excitement of post-season baseball or a soccer World Cup game.
Throughout the world, more people live in towns than in distant rural areas.
From the very dawn of humanity there is ample evidence of our predilection toward building cities and towns. There is something about living, walking, and breathing in close proximity with other humans that conveys to us a sense of safety, excitement, and connection.
We are social creatures, and while we love having moments to ourselves, quiet times when we are all alone…..there are very few of us who are able to sustain healthy emotional lives if we are completely cut off from others.
We thrive on connectivity.
Some people attempt forms of communalism as a way to achieve some sort of heightened sense of community and connectivity; more often than not these communes tend to fail…..BIG time. A dear friend of mine (who is quite a bit older) was apart of a communal-type community back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Just as so many of those types of communes experience; over time the leaders of the commune exerted more and more control over the participants. Shortly before my friend and his wife left the community a rule had been enacted in which all the participants were instructed to take their vacations at the same time every year; total conformity on all things was mandatory and those who didn’t conform were guilt-tripped into believing they were in sin.
While we humans love community and connectivity…..we usually don’t like it at the expense of our freedom and personal autonomy.
“forced” community usually doesn’t work.
“forced” connectivity usually tends to have problems.
Whenever we can somehow ‘naturally’ capture a sense of community we tend to gravitate towards it more often.
Remember when you were younger and your parent or teacher said, “you need to go play with Billy right now; that’s an order!”. Having been ‘told’ to play with Billy you were less likely to want to play with him; had you not been forced to do it you might have developed a more natural connection.
Humans tend to hate being ‘forced’ to do things.
Especially when it comes to community, connectivity, and relationships.
The friends we cherish the most tends to be those people who aren’t our friends ‘because they have to be’….but because they want to be.
A large gap has grown between the young adults in Western Culture and the older adults……
–) Young people feel disconnected
–) Young people feel disenfranchised from their governments
–) Young people feel that community is a thing of the past and they want to try to recreate it
–) Young people aren’t too fond of the community and connectivity that currently exists in various Western countries.
Young people are dreaming of something more………
But I suspect that unless the young and the old work together in repairing the problems within society…….then things will only get worse
Unless both groups learn to communicate, learn to bridge-the-gap….then I fear our society is doomed to keep repeating the mistakes of previous generations.
And having said all that, I really need a coffee right now.
Categories: Culture & Society