There are times when the winds that shape the future blow strong enough to be heard over the jabber of everyday life, and this is one of those times. For a while now I’ve been mulling over a handful of often-repeated comments on this blog, and I find that if I look through them, into the landscape of ideas that structure them, it’s possible to glimpse some of the driving forces behind the history of our era.
The comment that set off this most recent period of reflection came a couple of weeks ago. The person who wrote it complained that he’d tried to follow the advice I’ve offered for some time now—“collapse now and avoid the rush”—by trying to organize an intentional community up in the Italian mountains. His project fell flat when nobody else wanted to join. Having related this story, he proposed that other readers of this blog join with him to create “a meaningful, synergistic community.”
I’m embarrassed to say that I lost my temper and yelled at him. In my defense, I’d note that all through my blogging career I’ve been pointing out that the notion of heading off to the countryside to found an intentional community is not a viable response to the crisis of our age. I proposed “collapse now and avoid the rush” as an alternative to that fantasy, not an excuse for it. Thus it was annoying to see my suggestion plopped onto the Procrustean bed of collective chatter and turned into yet another excuse to chase the same overfamiliar mirage. It was particularly annoying because that sort of reflexive flight from unfamiliar ideas happens astonishingly often these days.
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