Whatever happened to knowing your neighbor? Whatever happened to caring about what others lives consist of? As time has moved forward, people have seemed to move inwardly but we still have these mediums that allow us to connect to others. This connection, however, is superficial. A digital image we curate for people we don’t really know. We provide cynical one liners or pictures of what we are up to at a given moment but we rarely are honest of our true status in life. What happened to community?
Communal living is quickly becoming a thing of past times. My generation is filled with people who do not connect with those in the places they live for the betterment of the whole. We are selfish. Many people in my age group expect something personally in return for their efforts rather than share in the broader joy of improving connections with those we live around. Neighborhood barbecues filled with activities for the young ones, laughter, and the introduction to those in our vicinity are rare occasions. We are all guilty of this. This cutting out of real world interaction poorly sufficed by a digital medium, what I write to you on now.
The digital interface has it purpose, to spread ideas across a vast group, but in everyday life it falls far short. We no longer tell stories of our days to people. We type them out, obsessed with the “likes” or views our tales receive. That has become the new scale of popularity. Not the amount of friends you have on your account, but the amount that actually admit they viewed it. This shallow interaction and rating scale of who we are provides limited satisfaction. Lasting content is found back in reality, back in the relationships we foster face to face.
Tonight I sat around a dinner table with my relatives. My father’s side comes from eastern small town Montana. For them, community still comes naturally. They know their neighbors and what their business is. To city folk this may come off as nosey or an invasion of privacy but that is far from the truth. In small towns, yes, there is judgement that is passed, but there is also a genuine caring for those who live where they do. People here are more understanding and willing to help. Community events are commonplace and the norm. My uncle brought up a very good point. If you look at the world today, the societies that have lasted for thousands of years aren’t the most advanced, they are ones with members who have bones pierced through their septum.
In a society that gets more and more advanced as the years go by, we must not forget the basics. Nurture your connections with those close to where you are. Why we must be reminded of this is a major red flag to the beginning of the end of a mindful social culture. It is easy to play the asshole hiding behind a screen. It would be a shame to see social interaction degrade to a point of relentless trolling.