This is just an idea, but I did call my friend Elliot Gunzberg the other day to talk about sitting down and discussing connectedness and community in Brattleboro. Here’s my draft purpose statement for the BCC:
To fight the toxic ideology of hyperindiivdualism and exaggerated personal responsibility with consciously interconnected and interdependent community. To provide a sense of belonging, neededness and entitlement in a world structured by those who would have us believe there is no We from whom they are stealing everything.
As I’ve said before, I think We The People are separated from each other by an exaggerated emphasis on personal responsibility, as if every single person was responsible for creating every single element of the world they need from the ground up without any assistance. So each person has their own cellphone, their own utility account, vehicle, food, housing, healthcare, etc. And if we see someone lying in the street, filthy and destitute, then we can say to ourselves “Well, that person wasn’t responsible, so of course this is what happens. It’s no concern of mine.” This is an extreme position, of course most of us retain some kind of consciousness of the connectedness we all do in fact share — but I think that consciousness is under attack, and our awareness of our connectedness is becoming more of an abstraction with each passing day.
I think hyperindividualism is some sort of social psychosis. I think that in the tribal past, everyone was responsible for the basics of life together, as a social unit. The tribe ate, or it didn’t. And having that kind of stake in each other’s lives has been taken way from us by industrialization, and digitalization, a primal outgrowth of industrialization.
As a result, we’re having a massive breakdown of every kind of sensible connectedness. For instance, the LGBTQ revolution. It is important to acknowledge gender indefinite people as legitimate people possessing the full panoply of human rights, but on the other hand, it’s not good if gender definite people lose their identity as men and women, and no longer feel good about ourselves, are no longer sure whether it’s a good thing that I am a man and my friend is what he or she is. It’s not OK for that to stop mattering.
So I think the atomization of social commons has to stop, and we need to recover some of our collectivity consciousness. For instance, what if we had a walkie talkie system in Brattleboro that everyone in town could participate in. What if it were crowd funded in some way so that it could never be taken away from anyone. Some challenges there — people would need to have the right to block each other. Iiiiiiii dunno. This is just an idea. But something is really wrong, and there’s a big part of the human soul that is being cut adrift in a very unhealthy way, and I would like to do something about it.
You know how for decades “scientists” have been saying that our brains are underutilized? I’ve been thinking that’s because of individualism, and that there’s a greater self that awakens within us when we are connected. When we acknowledge our interdependence, and reject the idea that human beings are potentially absolutely independent, and embrace each other in our minds and hearts so that we know without a doubt who we are and that we need each other and that we belong together – I think then something that’s been missing within us will wake up, and I’m really hungry for that.
And a blog won’t do it. I need to sit down on the ground and see your faces in a circle.