Friday, July 13, 2007

Community is a web... its not solely a physical web!

Our social fabric is in danger of being ripped to shreds as we swap electronic connection for personal relationships. The very nature of community depends upon us being connected to one another. Being civil means, or at least used to mean, valuing our relationships beyond our immediate circle of family and friends. If upon leaving home we immerse ourselves in idle chatter on the phone, listen to music nonstop at volume levels that preclude hearing the world around us, read every piece of e-mail sent since the last time we checked, or hunt for bargains on the Internet, we miss the chance on the way to work to make new friendships, renew old ones, or simply say hello to a stranger. A community is not merely a collection of individuals. It is a web—the kind with a small "w"—of interconnectedness, and this web cannot exist for long if each of its constituents is concerned primarily or exclusively with itself.
Ethics and the iPhone by Bruce Weinstein, PhD

OMGoodness... Its the end of the world as we know it!!! but hey... wait a minute... I feel fine!?!

The concept of community is changing... Here's a fab example of this::
When members of the Lotus Esprit online forum website heard, they donated money and time to fix it.
Let me get that straight... hmm... members of an online forum. Online... remote... electronic... and yet a community in its truest... most real sense.
"I can't even begin to thank all the people who were involved. It just restores your faith in people and shows that there is good in everybody," he said.
Community is about connection... no longer solely physical connection... Its rubbish to say the world is going to end (OK... I paraphrase) because of tools such as the iPhone that can help us connect further with our community.

Maybe the very people the iPhone user is chattering idly with is his / her community? I have 54 friends on Facebook... (again I am not boasting here but stating a fact) I consider them just as important a part of my social fabric than my next door neighbour... who, btw, is new to the street and I haven't had a chance to speak to him yet (Olly has though).

Maybe they are more important to my social make up? I have the email and mobile number of people in parts of the world that I may never go to... and yet I don't know the surnames of some of the folk in my cul-de-sac.

Don't get me wrong... physical connection is extremely important. Church works best when people come together... but to say this is the only way to build community is naive in my humble opinion.

Community is a web... its not solely a physical web!

Oh and I can do most of what the iPhone can do already... and I still manage to say "hi" to my neighbours when I walk to work.

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Anonymous said...

This is a very complex subject and many studies have been carried out escpecially regarding babies & infants & the elderly - I agree there are many electronic + etc ways to communicate today. We can communicate in silence only with eye contact with someone- people have done this where language was a barrier etc then there is music & art etc touches our senses & can enrich our Human spirit. Prayer - we can reach people in diff countries etc can enter prisons, Hosp etc, but & there is a significant but we are designed by God to touch & be touched physically & to communicate intimately with one another we need each other and the human spirit thrives on close friendships & the feeling of belonging is so vital to our existence & fullfillment this is important & cannot be replaced by other methods of communication. There are all kinds of effective modern means of good commincation but nothing can quite meet the need of the human spirit like intimate human conpanionship without this the human spirit can easily loose hope & despair takes over. This is such an important subject and we are only scratching the surface. Today people have lost the sense of community infact British society is breaking up because we can't communicate - we have broken homes - broken marriages more people living alone than ever before where commincations have collapsed but that does not renegade other forms of communicating but they should enhance not replace God given needs to be loved & love in a physical community where people are valued & affirm possible.

weareallghosts said...

Fully agree that they should enhance what we have. Community is like marriage... you don't arrive at it... you work at it. Our politicians are discovering this to their cost. You can't throw some tables and chairs at Glasgow and create a European city.

I do believe, however, that we can downplay the value of remote connection... its extremely valid and not a new phenomenon. How many letters from famous people are cherished now? Hey... Paul was pretty much a pioneer for this - he was in prison or traveling when he wrote the masterpieces we have collated now in the NT.

Personally... I'm more concerned with texting. Before I went on holiday I received an email in my work for a person in text. Crazy.

However we talk... the key is that we do talk.

Thanks for your comments. Encouraged and encouraging!



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