Musings from George

Our place in the world
October 15, 2005, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

At the June Gnomedex session in Seattle, I had the chance to get away from work and really just think about blogging and about how people communicate. Online community vs. face-to-face community. The thing that struck me is that the selection criteria, and the reason that you belong to different communities, is very different online. By definition you belong geographically to your neighborhood, you have to vote where you live, you join the club or lodge that includes your home. Online, you are free to join a group based on whatever criterion (or criteria) you choose to use — fetish, passion, heritage, product ownership. How do we choose where to go, and where to spend our time?

Another thing I think about is a blend of karma and legacy — how will people remember us (if at all) when we are gone? My father died young (47), and was remembered by the community for his leadership in acquiring hundreds of acres of open space through bond issues while serving on the local community governance board. The community placed a huge rock at the entrance to one of the parcels, and placed a bronze plaque on that rock with a dedication to my father. I sometimes wonder, what is my rock? What is anyone going to remember me for when I am dust, quiet, gone? What is yours?

Rambling thought number three is about charity. I volunteered today at a community event (helping to sell glass pumpkins, which benefits artists and charities), and ran into some of the exact same people with whom I fed the homeless last month. Very different causes, geographically close, but telling … the same few people helping out at all of these events. What is it that motivates a few to do so much, and so many to do nothing? One of the many lists I read bristled at one member’s complaints that no one seemed to care about Hurricane Katrina’s victims any more, showing charity fatigue…and I have to admit that the urgency seems to have diminished because people are no longer in live-threatening circumstances. Yet many lost their homes, and in many cases everything that they owned (odd fact that the median income in the US is between $40 and $50K for a family of four, and the total assets owned by the median family is about that much…and is mostly in their home. When you lose your home, and it is your only asset, what do you do?)



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