by Kenneth Justice
~ During our Live streaming discussion last night, Callie made a really interesting point suggesting that television shows like Friends and Cheers have given us a false expectation when it comes to friendship and community.
Could it be that the world hasn’t changed all that much over the past 100 years and that everything that we have perceived to have changed in our culture is only because television has put those ideas in our head?
There is a lot of merit to what Callie suggested, on the one hand television shows have contributed to a lot of false ways of thinking, on the other hand its difficult not to notice that life has indeed changed in many ways.
—) Our parents and grandparents tell us of a time when everyone used to sit out on their front porch in the evenings and visit with neighbors
—) The invention of the automobile caused many of us to no longer bump into our neighbors and friends as we rarely ever walk to the grocery store in this new age
—) The invention of air conditioning means that people stay inside during the summer and are less likely to be outside to cool off in the hot summer evenings
If you’ve read my blog before then it should be evident by now that I’m all about community. Community, dialogue and connection mean so much to me that not only do I visit with fellow bloggers and readers at coffee shops throughout the country, I also invite them to be apart of our live streaming discussions.
I believe that conversation and community are a vital element of culture. Whenever I hear people complain about politicians or complain about “the way things are”, I’m always reminded that the only way to bring about positive change is to begin a conversation.
The easy thing to do is to work all day and watch TV all night. It doesn’t take much effort or focus on our part to zone out in front of the television. Engaging friends, family and acquaintances in conversation and dialogue is difficult because it means we have to listen. Active listening, where we truly engage other people with our entire attention takes more effort than turning on Netflix or watching cable NEWS.
Yet isn’t that what our culture needs; more people who are truly connecting with each other in positive dialogue and conversation? Much of the world becomes more polarized as the days go by. I was at a bookstore the other day and an older woman was carrying on a LOUD conversation with a friend,
“I can’t see how anyone could ever be a Republican. In fact, I think one would have to be evil in their core to vote for a Republican” she said
While I don’t vote Republican (neither do I vote Democrat) I couldn’t help but feel bad for this poor woman’s brainwashed ideology. For her to think that every single person who votes for a Republican candidate is “evil in their core” demonstrates how disconnected she is from other people in our society. Not ALL Republicans are evil, neither are ALL Democrats evil. It’s a product of our polarized and disconnected society that such people as this woman are so demented and biased in their thought processes.
We have become a much too fragmented society; too many people never get outside of their own little subgroups. Its a big world out there and until we learn to get outside of our little bubbles we are going to continue on in our own little artificial facades.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,