Monday, June 28, 2004
Why is this a good thing?
Most of the world's religions say that we are constructed by God to be social beings, designed to form relationships as individuals and groups. Catholicism, for example, specifically says this is a higher good that all should aspire to. The Catholic church also has the principle of Solidarity – similar to the Buddhist and New Age ideas that we're all connected – which says that we have the responsibility to care for our fellow men, women and children. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, said, "Tug on anything at all, and you will find it connected to everything else in the universe."
Sprawl says we all have the right to an acre, an SUV and a color TV, and the responsibility to get that for ourselves. That is the ego speaking.
We have developed the idea that the Little Cabin in the Woods is the American Dream. We should remember that Thoreau didn't actually LIVE in his little cabin at Walden Pond, but just went there for contemplation. His house was a short walk away in Concord, Massachusetts, one of the centers of Transcendental thought. His ideal was to balance his contemplation with talks with his neighber Ralph Waldo Emerson. Our idea that he wanted to be a hermit is revisionist history.
Most of us don't have the temperments of Emerson and Thoreau, and are even less suited to be hermits. If it weren't for tv, we would be bored to tears in our sterile subdivisions.
As it is, as all sorts of studies show, we are losing our social capital. Part of the fallout from this are events like the shooting at Columbine High.
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