Shrinking My World

In Gambia, Ismaila Conteh has been given a 3 month sentence for breaking into a man’s house with intent to commit a felony and, in a separate incident, blowing in a man’s face, which is , apparently, assault.

Meanwhile, in Kyrgyzstan, if your monthly electricity consumption exceeds 300kW your rate will go up by 40%.

Why do I know this? How does it impact my life?

So much information is available to me, instantly, that sometimes its hard to filter out what doesn’t matter. Matter to me, that is; I’m sure the Kyrgyz family that has a 40% hike in their electricity bill will think that matters, a lot.

I read multiple blogs everyday, all of which deluge me with interesting news articles and commentary about things I have no control over. However, I react to all of them in some way and its just too much. Time I spend online would be better spent in “meat space” making contacts and dealing with events in my world that I can influence.

For instance, the time I spent looking at Kyrgystani news, I could have checked out a Foxfire book from the library and began learning an old time skill. Blogging won’t be very useful in a SHTF scenario. The internet, while useful in so many ways, has replaced face to face contact and local communities with an online avatar of the real thing. I hate it, but I can’t quit it; its like smoking.

Being somewhat connected to so many people is tiring. I’m much happier when I mind my own business and focus on what I’m doing rather than reading about what 10,ooo other people are doing. I’ve decided I like my world small. I am making an effort to find groups IRL who I have something in common with and who I can learn from. Internet commenters can’t help you when the power is out.

Our shift away from local orientation, I think, is a large part of the societal fracturing that I read about on blogs. There’s not much community where I live, the Dixie Classic Fair comes by once a year, and there are a few poorly attended annual parades, car shows and gun shoes, but nothing weekly or bi-weekly that’s just for the local community to get out and socialize. No promenade or central park where the kids run and the adults talk and picnic. Truth is, there’s not even a space available to do something like that.

I’m not that old, but I grew up when pretty much everything was closed on Sun. and the only stores open 24 hours were a few gas stations. Sometimes, when I’m driving late at night, I remember how quiet it was on those Sundays and I wonder why we thought it was a good idea for stores to open. Can we not go without shopping for a mere 24 hours?

I am preparing an article on community for some time this week or next. I want to explore ideas for rebuilding communities off line. Stay tuned.

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