I began writing this in a motel in Winnemucca, Nevada, the location of the Martin Hotel, a Basque restaurant we ate dinner at the night before. We try to time our annual summer trip across the country to reach Winnemucca at dinner time. The food is good but the other reason is the family style dining; if you are a party of less than eight — we were three, myself, my wife, and our adult daughter — you end up sharing the table with strangers.
Everyone needs a community. Essentially you're suggesting alternatives to religious community?
And yet, despite your lack of connection, and your choices against it, you still felt connected ...
The problem with chosen communities like this is that they're optional. You could, at any point, decide you no longer wish to be in SCA / folk dancing / knitting club. And so can anyone else.
It is much easier to build community on things that most people find difficult to change, like location, religion, or handicap.
Speaking of communities, they are among the best ways to stop baseless hatred, which my post yesterday was about. https://ishayirashashem.substack.com/p/stop-baseless-hatred
Veganism is a village too. Within a few hours of visiting Mexico City I already made a friend I still know to this day. Within 24 hours I’d met more people than my friend who’d convinced me to visit the city.
Whenever I meet a new vegan here, they inevitably know or know of the guy who organizes most of the big vegan parties here.
It's counterintuitive, but you will know and deal with a broader ranch of people in a small town than a big city. I live at Lake Tahoe. At the local beer bar, restaurant, supermarket, etc., I will know and mingle with contractors, doctors, casual laborers, and wealthy entrepreneurs. If you live on the upper east side of New York, almost everyone you meet will be like you: a lawyer or investment banker.
I just went to Freedomfest two weeks ago. It was very cool meeting online friends face to face for the first time and meeting celebrities that are only celebrities in our little village.
Kurt Vonnegut had the same insight: https://sci-hub.ru/10.1086/705602
I’m reminded of Samuel R. Delany’s introduction to Alexei Panshin’s novel “Star Well”:
“Star Well is a wise, delightful, and well-turned book; and it is something I have never seen in science fiction before. It is the first of a series of novels that examines the proposition that the world is composed of small communities of mutual interest.”
That was written in 1968. I’m not sure whether he and you are talking about exactly the same thing, but it came to mind anyway.
I belong to various little worlds myself, and it amuses me when members of different little worlds find themselves talking to each other because they all happen to be in my collection of friends on Facebook.
Do you ever find yourself in circumstances where your views on climate change generate a sense of community?
I mention it partly because you didn't, even though you've written a fair number of blog posts and essays on the subject. But also the topic is a particularly partisan one, which readily creates tribes and communities - does that sort of thing ever happen to you away from the internet?
SCA sounds interesting. American or European (or other) reenactments?