Friday, February 17, 2012

Thawing, technology, and place

Everything seems to be thawing. Yes, streets, cars, bikes, doors, walkways, the city in general, but also my mood. It's like my iced over attitude is slowly being freed by the sun. Other people seem happier too, I don't think it's just me. The feeling on the street is more sunny, and not just in a physical way.

It's weird to see a city painted in such rich, warm colors look so cold in the Winter. Without the sun making it glow, yellow just looks dirty. But the past few days have been full of light and rays. Everything is illuminated again. And people are out reconnecting with each other. It's like we all came out of hibernation and we can't wait to tell someone about it.

I've been thinking a lot lately about place. Specifically physical place. I think the internet has tricked us into thinking we don't need geography. You hear people say, I work from home. So home can be anywhere. But I'm beginning to feel more and more that humans have an intrinsic need to be connected to place. Physical place. We need to feel a sense belonging in actual spaces, in real communities. We need to have frequent interactions with those who livebreath, eat, sleep, shop, playin close proximity to where we live.

Connection has become too disconnected from geography. I think it has cheapened what it means to be connected to someone.

And don't get me wrong. I am the first to admit that I love Facebook because it keeps me in touch and connected to those who are far away. But there is something so much more in talking to them face to face and being in the pictures posted to their profiles, rather than just clicking through them.

Cyber-connection has also made us introverted. There's no need to make friends in new places because I can keep in touch with more people than I could ever have time for that are an ocean away. Plus, let's face it. Making friends is hard, and we like the friends we have. The problem is that the cursory, cyber-interactions are becoming so frequent that we forget how enriching and deep real interaction is. It's like getting high-fives all day when what you really need is a hug.

Take church. We have the technology where I could Skype into all my Sunday meetings, worship in English with people I know and love, see faces, hear voices, more fully understand the lessons that are being taught. But The Church says, No. You worship with those you live by. Because physical space matters. Our bodies matter. Handshakes, and hugs, and singing together, and turning the pages of books, and looking each other in the eye matter. Geography matters. It's strange that spirituality relies so heavily on physicality.

I'm not sure why I'm thinking so much about this lately. Perhaps its because I'm finally feeling connected to this place. Or maybe it's because I think of more and more things that I'm missing back in Utah. Or maybe it's a combination of both.

I guess, what I'm learning is that while you can be rooted in several places, you have to be primarily invested in the place where your feet hit the pavement each day.


Morgan and Holly said...

Thank you for this post!! I love that you wrote "Geography matters". As a big geography nerd, I completely agree.

Linae said...

oh paige. how i love your inspiring nature. i will resume blogging this weekend.. and since i've been thinking about similar things i'll sure come back to it.. thank you!

Jessie said...

paige you have such a way with words!! loved the post. and i totally agree. living in nephi has been challenging for me and some days all i can think about is getting back "home." thanks for the reminder! :)

Alicia said...

Love your blog. I actually found you because of your househunters show. How cool that you live in Italy. I watched it with my husband and said, "Ben, let's DO THIS!" Way to be adventurous.

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