We are on holiday these two weeks, so this weeks message is brief.
In spite of our efforts to organise things we have found having an internet connection while on holiday complicated. We are staying in a house in Copenhagen, which under normal circumstances has internet, but the telecoms company have struggled to restore it after the recent floods here. I tried a cafe, which was meant to have Wifi, but their connection was down too.
When these things happen, I always wonder if it is a sign that I should just go with the flow, or a challenge to be overcome. Mostly I find the disconnection frustrating rather than liberating.
Going further back in time than pre internet, yesterday we went to a re creation of an Iron Age village, where families can live for a week in as Iron Agers. They live in thatched cottages with bare earth floors and doors only a little over a meter high. They sleep on animal skins laid on bunks of straw. The houses are very dark, the people sleep at one end and the animals have space at the other.
With the houses so simple, most of life is outdoors. Cooking is done on open fires or in clay ovens, the clay dug from a nearby pit. Washing is done in the pond and so on. You would need to get on pretty well with the other families in the community! This remained true from the Iron Age until very recently. Your options were to fit in or to find a way of surviving outside the community.
Today technology enables us to be part of multiple communities unrestrained by geography. We can choose to combine a local community with a variety of other communities. We are also part of a global community.
The Iron Age community must have either been very tolerant of difference, or more likely, strict about conformity. To be part of the community people probably had to fit in and fitting in would have meant contributing to communal tasks and taking a share in the responsibility for the success and survival of the community. Even to live there for a week you would probably, quickly fall in, or fall out. Many of our most fundamental social constructs come from these and earlier times.
Today we appear to struggle to connect all of our various communities together. We struggle to see where competition between communities is healthy and where it is unhealthy. The reality is that through a combination of technology and population growth we have shrunk the world to a single community. We can no longer afford the luxury of competing communities, and like the people of the Iron Age communities we have to collaborate and all take responsibility for the survival and success of our one global community. We need to shift all of our enterprise from win/loose mentality to win/win.
Please also visit the blog to comment
You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com