We’re drawn to people………

busy streets 22


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

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18 replies

  1. Speaking of being drawn to crowds of people, the photo up top appears to be of Avenida Central in San Jose, Costa Rica, where we as Peace Corps Volunteers were often drawn to while being in San Jose!

    • Dave, you are absolutely correct.

      I took the photo last year while there…..I will be traveling back to Costa Rica in January. I’m currently planning on spending my time on the Caribbean side about an hour south of Limon.

  2. I agree! People of all ages need to communicate better. In my own experience, people stubbornly say “you don’t understand” but refuse to explain themselves, usually because they’re afraid of rejection, or argument, etc. Somehow, we need to be able to find a middle ground and learn to trust each other. In my opinion, it isn’t something easily done on a grand scale, but individual to individual.

  3. Yes, we are herd animals. Like sheep. I admit that as I get older I am less drawn to crowds.
    Good post as usual.

  4. Young people are always texting and using social media to connect. But it seems to me that they are shallow connections that don’t have depth to them. They are so busy “communicating in sound bites” that they really have very little to say on important matters.

  5. I’m the odd woman out on this one. I scurry away from crowds and seek out quiet surroundings. However, I do agree with your statement of people not wanting to be forced into things. This is why so often reverse psychology seems to work. We want to do things our way, not the way of someone else.

  6. I’m with mewhoami… I avoid crowds like the plague (and will probably never get the plague because of it!) However, I do live in the heart of our city but i would say that is for the convenience of things rather than the proximity of people. If The Husband and I didn’t have to work every day in the city, we’d be out of there. The kids would cry, but screw them…

    Great post – very interesting point about the disconnect between generations.

    • Escaping,

      So many small towns have all but died away, and i think that is where some of the problems in the Western World lie. Because many of us like the centrality of a public marketplace, and when the small towns have that it is fun and refreshing.

  7. “We thrive on connectivity”

    Nothing is truer. Sometimes, I can go days without interacting with another adult human and I think I’ll go mad.

  8. this post is a bit of a wonder to me… as always you write wonderfully and make poignant observations. it’s a wonder to me because in some instances i totally agree and in others not so much. i am a social creature so not having much contact with my friends is definitely difficult but i could totally live without a crowded movie theater or restaurant. this may be in part to now having lived in small towns long enough that im getting used to smaller groups or that i just came from vacationing in crazy los angeles and other crowded areas where people pissed me off lol i dunno. i also tend to not like crowds in places like restaurants and clubs because in part, my being so small means they don’t pay any attention to me and it means getting bumped into or drinks spilled, etc., and im not so fond of any of that. i do also agree that this generation gap business is not a good thing. the lines of communication do need to be opened up again and find ways to bridge our differences. i do agree that generally people are drawn to crowds – as with restaurants and theaters it could be an indicator of good food or a good movie. we don’t want to waste our time and money on bad things. regarding the drunk driver… well who doesn’t want to see a fool in action? plus a crowd can mean any number of things and that usually piques our interest, our inner curiosity and we must have answers – people like to be in the know. 🙂

    • Jen, I think that people who don’t like large crowds……still like to be around in people in general.

      that is the charm of small towns with thriving local flavor; you can be connected to the community without having to be lost in a huge city like Manhattan

  9. I love people but hate crowds. I am only drawn to people I know or can find something in common.
    Maybe I am just weird, but I like being in my “cave”, safe from strangers, comfortable in my cocoon.

    • Agata,

      I think it used to be easier for people to connect to strangers…but the way our various cultures have evolved in recent years has made it much more difficult.

  10. True that collaboration are needed for both generation gaps 🙂

  11. You love your coffee, I’ve noticed 🙂

    Re naked & driving… how does that happen???

  12. Thanks for liking my post about the Liebster Award, Kenneth!

    Admittedly, I’m much more of a city person than not, however I can’t imagine bumper cars are terribly fun with just one other person! In fact, I was at a carnival in San Salvador and for one reason or another was the only one driving around.

    In China, you could simply begin staring at something for a few minutes, and inevitably a few others would crowd around. Look at that, it’s nothing! Or wait…is emptiness form?

    Also, as a New Yorker, Queens and the Bronx are quite relaxing compared to those pedestal-hogs Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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