The Parochial Tendencies of Society
Entry 01/11/2015 09:18:19 AM – Mentat 846
As I sit here this morning while I wait for my coffee to brew and debating whether I should enjoy an English Muffin for the mid-morning break, I was struck with an interesting thought as I reviewed a conversation with someone on one of the dating website I have a membership with… That thought being: When did we (as a people) become so parochial?
Men on the dating site seem to be completely uninterested with any sort of communication with anyone outside of a specific driving range (which seems arbitrary based on personal tolerances for driving distances); so much so that they will ignore any comments, notes, compliments or assertions made in their direction. The man I mentioned moments ago is getting ready to make a transcontinental pilgrimage to a city that I had spent some time in has made it pretty damned clear in his profile that he wants to shed not only his possessions but any emotional entanglements old and new for this trip. In fact the primary reason for his conversation with me has to do with my knowledge of the area he’s moving to. Whether it’s going to continue from there remains entirely to be seen; though I suspect it’s going to end as abruptly as it began. Watching the dance of people that I see and encounter (here in the Tundras of New England) they seemed determine to only pay attention to whatever is in their immediate vicinity and often ignore anyone that falls outside the qualities to determine validity (sight and more importantly touch).
I’m not talking about the family we’re born into. Blood is thicker than water and all that, but let’s face it — unless we’re totally alienated by that family we’re born into, we often keep in touch with them regardless of the distances. No, what I’m talking about the family of choice that we create, establish and reinforce when one reaches adulthood and ventures out into the world.
I recall from my history and literature classes in high school, stories from the Renaissance when the postal networks were establishing and how people would maintain both correspondences in love and dalliances as well as the various letters involving friend and equals, swamis (gurus and other religious teachers) and their disciples, as well as teachers and students. Many of these non-romantic letters going well beyond the lessons that brought them together to establishing friendships that lasted as long as those to people closer to home. As for romantic correspondences, there have been books written about them that rivaled the sort of love that comes from meeting someone closer to home. It had become a continued (and eventually established) form of communication for romantic, platonic and professional communication through the expansion into the world and into the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
I have my proof in the treatises of Alice A Bailey that correspondences and written communications had reached midway into the 20th century. Written communications that continued to be there well after the establishment of telegraph and telephone communications in the latter part of the 19th/early part of the 20th centuries. Even though radio communications were here at the time, it’s not really used (which had been more for military and transportation services than for the everyday “Joe”). And yes, even through the advent of the CB Radio fad of the 70s.
Yet something shifted toward the end of the 20th century. With the establishment of the Internet for households of the common man and heralded the dawn of the Information Age, this had a way of opening up the world to everybody and allowing them communication with people halfway around the world as equally and easily as across the street. It had given an extension on an expiring thoughtform that had been created in days gone by. That is to say, there had been a brief revival of the concept of the long-distance love affairs. Of writing e-mails (along with Instant and Real-Time Communications) with someone one found mentally and emotionally attractive across the vastness of miles. Yet somewhere near the dawn of the 21st century that novelty wore off. With the ability to obtain instantaneous information and coupled with the growing skepticism and cynicism (based both on personal experience and word of mouth) that the person you might be talking with might not be where they’re saying they’re from or even who they actually are; the mindset changed into a sort of common sense rule from looking (and perhaps even reaching out) globally to only dealing with folk locally. If there is any such global interchange it is done publicly and casually, much like those of a fan or casual follower with no more interaction than to either sing the praise of who they follow or to respond their approval in the forms of likes, re-tweets or simply watching with words unsaid.
I see that there are exceptions to these new rules. Those folk that have made relationships work in spite of the distances. And while I knew of some folk — straight and gay alike — in the last 20 years work beyond (or perhaps in spite) the distances between them, I seem to have noticed since the inception of the 21st century it’s more the acts of the young. But these of course are only the exceptions. Not the general rule…
So it raises the question… Well several questions as I sit here and review what I said versus the thoughts I still haven’t committed to writing: Is long-distance correspondences (romantic and/or platonic) an instrument for the young?† As we (humans) get older, more weather-worn, more skeptical and of course obtain more baggage along the way, do we lose the necessary naïveté and faith that make such long-distance correspondences possible? Do we become more parochial as we get older wanting our gratification, satisfaction and perhaps even our continued ability to learn something only to be done from a local perspective?
Or it is something more intrinsic? Does the everyday man simply lack the elements of (blind) faith, (long-distance) trust and of course the fortitude of character and determination to making such romantic and platonic relationships (regardless of the distance) work?
If the last supposition (posed in the form of a question) is indeed true, what does that make me? Exceptional?
For even at the half-century mark, I continue to maintain contact with those that are willing to continue correspondences regardless of the distance. Friends that I have never met, I continue to strike up conversations with them whenever possible. In Canada, in other parts of the United States (Florida and California for example), occasionally even farther than that. I continue to put out the feelers for new communications in the hopes that it will flourish into something more than just casual and more importantly — personally distant. I continue to do so, sight unseen… When mood or common interests seem apparent, I am trying to make that connection. By listening and sharing either in earnest or in humour, with insight, with sagely advice handed down to me by my grandmother and with whatever observations and opinions that I form on my own I offer it without hesitation in the hopes that it will build the bridge necessary for friendship to flourish.
If I am the exception to the rule, why does it often feel like I’m on some parapet, soap box or mosque tower projecting my thoughts out into the void and yet no one seems to hear the underlying message? Or worse… With the common sense handed down to me and my inherent ability of working in means and averages (I never went into statistics, but I admit having a modest grasp of it), are the exceptional so isolated that they are all crying out in some form or another and simply not being heard? That there’s just the right sort of distance between these voices that they cannot hear each other?
In conclusion, as I said to Mr. James Radcliffe, so I should take my own advice… I have thrown this stone into the pond with this entry. Now I just need to wait — patiently — for the ripples from this action to reach all parts of the pond.
Until the next time.
† (I’ll exclude professional because money drives that and there will always be that for self-employed individuals and companies.)
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Some of My Mad Scientist Work