Paths and Choices:  Local Community  5.0.0

Knowing and understanding our physical place in the world feels like such a strange expectation in an “advanced” modern society.  Often the local community doesn’t exist for us.  Supporting our locally and independently owned businesses feels out of step with the global and digital economy.  We have an unexamined need to fit into the widely advertised sources of power and fashion and celebrity.  So often our lives are lived in a virtual world, and the real world is erased from our consciousness.

The actual, physical world is too inconvenient for us to bother about.  We are even tempted to believe that we can’t handle the responsibility of setting the thermostat in our houses or of looking in our own refrigerators or pantries and then buying our own groceries – to say nothing of cutting, splitting, stacking, burning our own wood or cooking our own food.  We can’t identify our native trees or flowers or birds or insects.  We don’t understand our own weather.  (We think rain or snow falls just to bother our evening commute.)  We have no idea where our water comes from.  The real, physical world doesn’t exist for us.

Most of us have forgotten, or never learned, how to grow our own food or make our own clothes.  Our cars and appliances are designed to be impossible for us to maintain or fix.  Often when our paychecks are deposited directly into our various accounts, we lose track of how the taxes or insurance actually works.  We have automatic deductions to pay our bills, and usually we don’t know where our money goes.  We have vague expectations for these things, but no real understanding of how our taxes are calculated or used, no understanding of how or why the health care system functions, or doesn’t.  Someone else is “taking care” of the details of our lives for us – we assume – we hope.

All this time we become more and more oblivious or helpless or ignorant.  We have lost track of our real places, our real lives, and our real powers.  It is time to pay attention.

Phyllis Ballata

Without Words We Cannot Think

“Glance at the sun.  See the moon and the stars.  Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings.  Now, think.  What delight God gives to humankind with all these things. . . . All nature is at the disposal of humankind.  We are to work with it.  For without it we cannot survive.”  Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)

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