2018-07-12 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

Communities need you

Nicholas Pugliese—Staff Writer Nicholas Pugliese—Staff Writer I’ve spent too much time lately reading local social media groups. I keep an eye on these groups in case something positive is mentioned that warrants a deeper dive for an article, but increasingly my read-throughs warrant nothing but an endless stream of negativity. People in the area are quickly earning for themselves a reputation for being impetuous complainers who never contribute anything but pitchless noise to the community conversation, as frequently seen in The County Press Sound Off section.

We all see ourselves as enterprising individuals. We all want to make something of ourselves and get what we want out of life. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, even though we all see ourselves as a Person with a capital P, fording the river of adversity on a raft we built alone out of determination and elbow grease, we often forget how to carry on civil discourse that brings us all together instead of drives wedges between us. We all have ideas on how to better ourselves collectively, but that doesn’t mean that all of our ideas are good or practical.

We all have the desire for a better, more fulfilling life. But in modern times, the road to that fulfillment is increasingly impeded by distraction and isolation. People often struggle to discover how, exactly, they can achieve the goal of simply living the life they want. But all they have to do is reach out to those around them, to foster their own utopias out of the chaos of modern life. Building a community is exactly what it sounds like; constructing a sense of pride and honor in helping others, and yourself, become better people.

It’s easy to go about each day lost in an isolated bubble of personal concerns, but there’s a certain satisfaction in breaking through that bubble to help out the people around you. Like it or not, you are a member of a community.

Wouldn’t it be better if that community were stronger? If it could help you when you needed it? Well, your community needs your help, right now.

This may all sound like overreaction. A Luddite response to a projected future of even greater reliance on technology and corporations to meet basic living needs. It’s not. It’s simply a desire for harmony. Harmony with that future, with each other, within ourselves. Imagine a future where all you need to do is help your neighbor to help yourself, and all the issues of the time are solved not by whining on social media but by actually getting involved in the community and, since we’re talking about a fantasy future, you can maybe even have a jetpack. Communities are not desperate grabs at an idealized social past, and they aren’t knee-jerk reactions to a fear of not having any small talk prepared when you bump into someone at the gas station. They are well thought-out and planned methods of providing individual agency and ownership in the face of an uncertain future. And that is something we should all come together to achieve.

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