just watched treme, the new hbo show about new orleans after katrina, and it served to bring up once again, my personal issues with sense of community absence, and that the "general culture" I exist in is rather vapid and superficial. I have wrestled with this issue for a long time, and I'm not sure exactly how to accommodate it. Oftentimes I choose to ignore it, because it tends to fall, among many other things, into the category of "can't do shit about it, so don't stress" which i am successful at for the most part.
I guess what I'm getting at is that I feel as though I'm surrounded by a society that has its values out of whack, and because of this, the cultural vibrancy is practically null. I watch this presumably realistic depiction of a small New Orleans community, people who have, in essence, been left with very little, yet they have these traditions of placing value on thing I also value: good food, good music, and especially, camaraderie, which inevitably involves the previous two items.
And I can't help but feel like this is what so many of the "american romantic" novelists, beat poets, and those influenced by them, might be touching on when they talk about the american loneliness. We are without deep roots, and feel forced to constantly move, change, build, grow, progress. Obviously New Orleans is one of the few gems in our country that was able to cultivate such roots and use them to maintain such powerful connections.
But then I think about the fact that I'm not necessarily a traditionalist, and I don't necessarily like things to stay the same, so maybe I'm finding myself in a bit of a paradox. Maybe its essential to have roots and traditions in order for people to feel that level of deep connection. Then again, there also exists a deep sense of community in groups that feel outside the fold, or who are going against the grain.
I guess I'm not really able to articulate fully what I am blathering about (case in point!) Sometimes I think things like facebook and twitter are bringing people closer, but more often, I feel like its just the opposite. And I can't see myself jumping off the wagon, because then I'm in the dust, all alone. I just feel like we live rather hollow lives as a culture, and its only getting hollower. And I don't know what to do about it, or if I should even try. Or care. Perhaps zen is the truest answer, to "turn off the mind, relax, and float down stream" as lennon says via the tibetan book of the dead. but then i would need to live in the woods. ah whatever, there's no conclusion to be reached. only the abyss of the now : : : : : :