what lasts

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This week I had reason to think about the nature of being part of a group, peer pressures versus individuality, and so on. And today is love day here in Israel, which is quite different from Valentine’s day in America or in England. I was thinking of the great need we have for companionship, and that we really are herd animals, living in groups, sometimes larger and sometimes smaller, but we are happiest with the human interchange, and have reached the greatest accomplishments in history when working as groups. We take it for granted. So much so, that sometimes, when we’re complaining about the noise and the crowding of the city, or about our neighbors, who occasionally invade our privacy, we forget that the alternative, loneliness, can be very difficult to bear.

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a walk through the park

And yet, strangely enough, the ever increasing concentration of the human population in big cities, has not provided a sense of belonging, or being part of the human family. On the contrary, it has given rise to feelings of alienation. I remember reading in one of the books by the fine writer, zoologist and anthropologist, Desmond Morris, that someone had researched a great number of address books in England, and come to the conclusion that most people have fairly regular contact and interchanges with about 300 people, among them, the butcher, the baker, and the auto repairman, etc. His thesis was that we live in a village… maybe a virtual village, even when we think we’re living in the big city. Which also means we’re living in very close circumstances with a lot of people we don’t relate to.

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the old neighborhood of Sanhedria

It occurs to me that there are any number of ‘virtual’ experiences or bonds that give people the feeling that they are a part of some greater whole, a part of a movement of some sort, and that this, in a way, serves as an antidote to the loneliness and the alienation that threatens many. My first acquaintance with this phenomenon was in the mid sixties. Until that time, I had been the odd fellow who appreciated poetry and literature, had no great interest in material possessions, nor in competition sports. I found a few friends who had similar interests, but there were always great areas of interest in which the incompatibilities were more striking than the similarities. And then, all of a sudden, there was a new wave of consciousness. The young people of the time, rejected the popular values of the day. Across the west, middle aged people were aspiring to reach the security of a home and a car and a television set… most of all, stability, after having had a taste of hell in WWII. And the first generation after that world war, didn’t want to just go through the motions, and adopt the life style of their parents. They saw a lot of hypocrisy in their parents’ generation, and they wanted to live more meaningful lives.

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the wash hanging from the balcony

The Beat poets of the 50s had thrown out the challenge, and in the 60s, the thoughts and literature that had questioned the values of the establishment became very popular, amplified by the music of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and a wide array of folk singers who had been inspired by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, who themselves were inspired by literature, philosophy and history. The Beat generation had only attracted a very small minority, but in the 60s, the movement against the war in Vietnam, plus a new found enthusiasm for a ‘widening of the consciousness’, which included the use of psychedelic drugs… all of it together, with a few more ingredients, gave birth to a new tribe… perhaps even an international nation… the hippies, who reached the peak of their expression and joy in that great Woodstock Festival.

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just the way I remember things 50 years ago

For a while there, even I, the oddball; the guy stuck in a corner reading a book, started believing that I was a part of a new generation that would throw out the hypocrisies of the past, and build a new world that was fairer, and more considerate of the poor and the downtrodden. The articles I was writing at the time, published by newspapers and journals in order to demonstrate their loyalty to the concept of free speech, became quite successful, and this too had me thinking for a while, that I was right there, where it was happening; that I had found my peers… That the differences were insignificant, and that what mattered were those shared ideals. Unable to cheer till my throat was hoarse at a football game, I found that I did have a sense of solidarity with the new longhaired rebels.

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there are still public phones

But that came and passed. And though not with the same intensity, I witnessed other waves of social harmony that included many very different peoples, but feeling at the same time, a kinship. Like those who wore the yellow wristband of Lance Armstrong, in order to fight cancer, or those who worked together to ship food to a starving Biafra, or insulted smokers to bring clean air to the public streets and the cafes, or worked to repair the hole in the ozone in the atmosphere over Australia. The causes always brought people together.

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a fruit market on the street

And just as some cause was getting boring, there would be a new cause. And towards the end of the 90s, the technological age of computers and internet brought about a sense of community unlike anything before. If right before the turn of the millennium, we were a bit afraid that all the advantages of this technology might evaporate, the fear itself was soon forgotten, and we found our community in facebook and tweeter, and became ever more attached to our telephones, which had meantime become our computer and best friend… as well as a whole lot of other things for those who have the curiosity to read all of the handbook.

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young man reads to an old man

And so it is with a sense of deep respect, that I walk in the orthodox neighborhood of Sanhedria, located in northern Jerusalem. Despite all the changes that have occurred here in the last fifty years, this neighborhood follows customs that have survived thousands of years. The Sanhedrian Park is located here with its burial caves from the time of the Second Temple. And the neighborhood which was evacuated after the 1929 Hebron massacre began to prosper again in 1948. Walking through this neighborhood, I see much fewer cell phones, and people still talking to one another. For an hour or two, I can forget the modern life style, and be reminded of age old customs. Young and old have their place. And I may be wrong, but it seems like it will last forever. All the pictures in this post have been taken from that neighborhood.

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56 responses to “what lasts

  1. Quite a profound post about community. Through your words, I transported through different points in my life. I grew up in a small town in a rural area during the 50s-60s, but as an adult I live in one of the urban suburbs. Remember the times outside as a kid, but my 25 years in our neighborhood, seeing kids play outside has not been a common scene. Thus today, as people use technology to develop bonds, I wonder if we are seeking community or our we avoiding in-person community? Great post!

    • Thank you very much, Frank, for sharing a bit of your own experience. I think as society becomes more and more organized and standardized, there are playgrounds and sport centers for the young… and so it’s less common to see them on the streets. We have those centers too, but it seems that the young still enjoy the street life. I remember in the 50s reading a SF story that included teleporters, which could transfer a hologram of one’s self for meetings. So many of those ideas have been already realized, if slightly differently. I think the virtual community is a reflection of the deep need of human beings for company.

  2. Your words are like a meditation. Thank you for allowing me to walk alongside you for a few minutes before the start of my too-hectic day. I’m happy to be part of your little community.

  3. Even though I live in the crowded inner city of my city Shimon, I don’t feel a sense of community…I’m sure one can be lonely in a room full of people. Your post through the decades was interesting and thought provoking…and I love the photos – love to learn of and see places I will never see with my own eyes so thank you 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, bodhisattva. I suppose there are many different types of friendship, and many types of loneliness too. We’ve all had the experience of being along among people… a sort of ache in the heart… And in our (somewhat primitive) society here in Jerusalem, there is a type of companionship, consolation, and support that is not based on real friendship… I suppose it’s more like tribal identity. There are young people who don’t even notice it (being all wrapped up in the modern world), until they go traveling outside of the country. Thank you.

  4. You are so right about humans neding to belong and this blog world is the latest community where we intergrate not really knowing the other person but having a sense that we relate on some level!! Hang on to the lovely old neighbourhood!!!

    • It’s meeting and coexisting on a different plane. We may have ‘friends’ at work that we really like, but never share our intimate problems with them. There are so many different planes at which we meet with people… and on each plane we can have meaningful relationships. I think the blogging community is real and valuable even if it doesn’t answer all our needs. Thank you very much for your comment, Lisaman.

  5. A lovely read Shimon. It must be so nice to walk through a neighbourhood like Sanhedria. I really enjoyed your photographs. I have a small sense of what that must be like as when I moved from London to Cornwall and a small village, I was struck by how friendly and chatty people were. How the pace of life suddenly slowed. Even in the Post Office, where before I’d been met by stony faced clerks who avoided eye contact, I found clerks who smiled and chatted to all the customers. I now know the guy who runs the Post Office as Andy. Unheard of before. The village kids who ‘hang out’ as kids do, are respectul of their elders, they need to be, everybody knows each other
    But even here, four years on and with two new estates tacked on to the village, that feeling is fading fast where even strangers are people you can smile at, exchange some comments about the weather with, before waving and moving on.
    There would seem to be a critical mass of people where all these niceties start to break down and people retreat into cyberspace to feel connected. With a cell phone clamped to their ears, people let doors go without thinking someone might be coming behind so engrossed are they in a cyber conversations they blank the here and now.
    I don’t do facebook or twitter. I don’t understand why, when I buy something on Amazon, I have the option to press a button to send an automated message to facebook to tell my ‘friends’ what I’ve just bought. Why would anyone be interested? Since starting my blog however I have found people online in many different parts of the world with whom I have a common interest. I found a community to which I have been welcomed and to which I now feel I belong. I really didn’t foresee that.
    Thank you for sharing Shimon. Sanhedria sounds like a very special place and one I’m sure I too would find myself walking through every now then and like you, would hope it could last forever.

    • Yes, Chillbrook, your description of the village life is very much like the old neighborhoods here in our city… and I agree with you, that there does seem to be a critical mass of people where all niceties seem to break down. In some places, it’s happened so long ago, that people forget that it was ever different. I too, had no idea of what I was getting into, when I first started blogging. It has really been an introduction to a new world. Thank you very much for your comment.

  6. Social media and the world we live in today definitely has it`s pros and cons. I think it`s lovely you still have somewhere you can go where life isn`t ruled by the technology- somewhere you can breath, even if its only for a few minutes before you go back home and become part of the social media universe again.

    • It is good to have the old world next door, Elizabeth. But I have very few complaints about the world of modern technology. I breathe easily here. Though I personally am not really connected to all of the possibilities… I just take what I need. Thank you for your comment.

  7. This is an interesting post. You are right about the human need to belong. That need underpins and drives the way we behave to a large extent. I remember some years ago I was living in New York City for a few months. As I walked down the streets around Central Park, I remember feeling such a huge sense of lonliness. I was surrounded by thousands of bodies, but felt disconnected, not sharing anything intimate with anyone. It was a stark contrast to island life where even if you don’t know persons, they still look you in the eye and share a smile with you. Persons will strike a conversation with you. In the islands its almost impossible to be left alone, there’s little room for islolation. Very interesting reflections. I smiled when you wrote “tweeter”:) Your photos are also quite nice – my first look at Israel – I’ve never been!

    • Thank you very much for coming by. I suppose we’re about equal in our ignorance of each other’s countries. I traveled in north and south America as a young man, but never got to the Caribbean. Now I’ll have the opportunity of getting to know your land a little through your blog.

  8. Thank you for your profound insights and beautiful photographs, Shimon. I especially love the picture of the young man reading to the elder. Sensitive and deeply evocative of the things that last…

  9. What a relief to read of this community staying true to its historical ways. By contrast here I have watched my community swept away on the tide of “economic growth” and technology. The small farm town sold its soul to developers, and the thousands of new residents have no regard for what their new houses, soccer fields, roads and SUVs are grinding into memory. Where main street once held a grocery store, a hardware store, the library and the post office, it is now a strip of bars filled with desperate lost souls drinking way too much, starting way too early in the day. My heart aches for my little town and for the people who are so lost. Soon I will go in search of a quieter spot to live, and perhaps, risk loneliness. Being alone in a crowd is another kind of loneliness, as you you suggest.

    Knowing that Sanhedria is holding true to is a great comfort.

    • Actually, it’s quite complicated. In many ways, the ‘old fashioned’ society loses out by not being involved in some of the advances of the ‘modern society’. As you say, there are those who are victimized by the modernization; who are used at times, and end up with the ‘dirty work’. But on the other hand, those who don’t take part in the ‘rat race’ often miss out when it comes to the advantages. In our country, high tech is a source of high salaries and a higher standard of living. And the younger generation among the more conservative elements, are missing out on that wealth. It’s still not clear what will happen in the long run.

  10. I wonder where the girls were going in their pink outfits. Very few public phones left, I can only think of the one outside our local post office.

    • I don’t know, GB. The way they’re dressed looks quite typical here, and not as if they were going to a party or something like that. In downtown, or the more modern neighborhoods, you don’t see many public phones anymore. And though I do see cell phones in the more traditional neighborhoods, there are still public phones there, and it isn’t as common to see someone using a cell phone on the street.

  11. This was a wonderful journey through times I have also lived and known! I loved the contrast between what is new and ever-evolving, and what is old and remains constant. I also could well-appreciate your comments on lonliness and being alone. I tend to feel far more lonely in social gatherings than I do when I am on my own. At times I wish we could all return to lives that seemed so much simpler. Your pictures were perfect illustrations, and made me want to visit there much. Excellent essay, very thought provoking!

    • Thank you very much, Josie. Unfortunately, when it comes to modern technology, there is that feeling at times, that the means have become the end. And I often hear of people being addicted to facebook and the like. There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the equation.

  12. EmanuelVasconcelos

    Excellent post! Traditional villages or cities have always conserve a great quality of community, real community. But in a lot of modern societies people just see this immense sea of expanding people, geography, economy and technology, moving towards them in such a fast and aggressive way that, even if they want it or not, they start to become more and more individualistic and alienated while living in a society… ironic.

    • I don’t really know, Emanuel, but I have the feeling that the individualistic people are such by personality. Both in the old fashioned, and in the modern society, there are a few that are individualistic, and don’t get carried along by fashion. As to feelings of alienation, that is a different story. It seems to me that modern society has a much larger ‘alienated’ sector, who nurse their loneliness watching TV or internet entertainment without really finding personal satisfaction.

  13. Your photographs are so beautiful, you almost took me too in this walking moments… I am so romantic, so nostalgic one dear Shimon, and I love villages and to be a villager… and I feel myself as a villager, I am not a citizen even where I live in…. 🙂 Everything changes so fastly and I can’t catch anything… maybe I don’t want to catch too! As always it was so nice to read you, I love and loved again. Thank you, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • Thank you very much, Nia. I know that you and I have a similar affection for the simple life. And I have to admit, that I often feel that I am left behind by the technology… especially when it comes to social connections like facebook. It is a matter of choice, I suppose. Glad you enjoyed the post. It is always so good to hear from you. Thank you for your comment.

  14. There is so much to take in with your thoughtful, lovely post Shimon…I will probably need to return and read it again. I would be remiss though if i didn’t thank you for sharing your walk with us. I am drawn to that which remains unchanged by time and space, perhaps because of the surety it provides in this world of uncertainty.

    • For me, the attachment to the old fashioned world is twofold. For one, this is my own personal background, and I have always felt a certain emotional tie, even though I’ve participated in the modern world, and been attracted by the western society. At the same time, the values of this older world seem more realistic to me, more solid. Whereas the most idealistic values of modern society seem a bit naïve and unrealistic. But as I’ve said, I enjoy the art and literature of the western world, and the music I love (Jazz) is pretty much unknown in the old neighborhood. So I guess you could say I’m straddling the fence.

  15. Nice thoughts. As a long-time loner, reaching out has always been hard for me, yet it’s so necessary.

    • Hi Jordan. I think even loners take advantage of some culture, as well as being influenced by the life style of some larger group within the society. Even the use of language allies you to some society. As you say, we are motivated in part by necessity. Good to hear from you.

  16. What a great post. I live in the middle of nowhere and can go weeks without seeing another person other than my husband and often wondered why I got cranky until I had a dose of “civilization”. Now with the computer and instant access to the world it seems much easier but I’ve noticed its even easier to shut the world out altogether.

    • Glad you liked it, Linda. I can definitely understand what you’re saying here. Because though I’ve been a city boy all my life, I’ve always had a great longing for the country life… and sometimes even fantasized about staying in a monastery. I think there are others who’re torn between social life and solitude. It helps of course when you have a family… thank you very much for your comment.

  17. J. Randall Stewart

    I appreciate your point about the community we take for granted, and even scorn sometimes, not realizing the benefits because they have become so common place. Solomon once said that the wise man’s mind is in the house of mourning, not the house of pleasure. I take that to mean that we find the value in things as we contemplate what life would be like without them, even the value of life itself. I like your point about that. Thanks for the reflections.

    • Very interesting that you bring that up, Randall, because this is very close to my personal point of view. But the way I take it, is that in the house of mourning, we try to bring consolation to the mourners, and try to relate to life with wisdom, whereas in the house of pleasure, we often lose our heads in sensual abandon. But of course, Solomon said there is a time for everything… so we would be wise not to isolate ourselves just in one aspect of life. Thank you very much for your comment. It is always good to hear your thoughts.

  18. I have lived in both worlds too, Shimon. I never felt more alienated in one than in the other. I believe that social isolation is personal. I have found companionship and security in both worlds, but I am inclined to appreciate the freedom outside of the small community. Progress and enlightenment come with change and adaptation. We can appreciate the old ways even as we embrace the new. My progressive elderly mother used to smile and say that the good old days weren’t as good as folks liked to remember. She was excited about the opportunity for exchange of ideas and information in the “new age”. I think our attitudes about community depend on our personal sense of self and our confidence to participate in the world community. These are exciting times.
    The photographs are wonderful as always.

    • I can say the same as you do, George, that I haven’t felt more alienated in one than in the other. Nor did I feel social isolation. Moreover, I found freedom in both worlds. But I’ve identified more with the values of the old world. I’m not at all nostalgic. And I enjoy the technology very much. Thank you for your kind words about my photography. It always interests me to hear your opinions.

  19. Lovely post. I enjoy and use all of the new technology, yet it seems often to distance me from the people around me. We can now choose our neighbors – from all around the world – and ignore the ones next door. When we are forced to learn to love our neighbors, or at least live peaceably with them, we grow as human beings. What happens, I wonder, when we relate only to people like ourselves.

    • Like yourself, I’m quite enthusiastic about the new technology, though I don’t use the social networks. But it seems to me, that the friendships formed on the internet are often like dancing with someone at a costume party. We know about them just what they choose to share. But living alongside of real human beings, we have to learn to take the good with the bad. It seems a deeper experience. And to tell you the truth, yearstricken, I haven’t had the experience of finding many people like myself, so I can’t really imagine what that would be like. But here and there, in my home town, and in cyberspace, I have run into people that touch my heart and soul… and I’m very grateful for that.

  20. A beautiful post, Shimon! A walk through a neighborhood—and though time as well.

    My family lives in a good sized city, but because of our son’s autism, our world is fairly small. Patty, Sam, and I move through many people during the course of the day, but we really don’t interact—directly—with very of them at all. Technology helps with this—interacting through the internet/blogs has allowed me to enlarge my world while still be able to attend to my son—but it doesn’t replace the need for face-to-face contact.

    Again, I enjoyed the post—and the way you inspire thought.

    • I have read a bit about your personal history on your blog, which I found very moving. And so I know that there was a disruption in your life at an early stage, in which you didn’t get the support from your family that one would normally expect. But one of my complaints regarding modern society is the standardization of living conditions. If a child is born a little different, or has an accident, he is shunted off to an institution. As we grow older, we usually find ourselves in an old people’s home, or ‘protected’ community, and the especially gifted are segregated too, for their own protection. But in the traditional society that I know, everyone is included, whether they have gifts or limitations. Old people are often part of the community till they die. I believe that it’s healthier. Glad you enjoyed the post, and I’m always happy to hear from you, George.

  21. What a wonderful post! I write about a lot of the same things as you did (and still do): I pray that my generation can be the one to create a fairer world with less suffering and sadness. But with the advent of smart technology, it is getting easier and easier for people to spend less time together. I am strongly convinced that my generation can not achieve this better world if we do not interact with one another in a very personal way. Technology is a wonderful invention, and it can be employed for the good of all, but human contact and personality is the fuel which drives peace and love.

    • Hi there David. I’ve had a look at your blog, and I find it very interesting. You’re a young man, and I have great respect for your desire to create a fairer world with less suffering. A half a century ago, I thought that such a world was around the corner. But in the meantime, it seems to me that social changes are much slower than technological progress. Still, my hopes are with you. And of course, we agree that human contact is very important. Thanks for coming by.

  22. fivereflections

    very interesting post – although we spend less time together, technology allows us to share with each other through our computers all over the world without traveling through border stations, listening to propaganda – hopefully this helps to educate us to appreciate each other and promote world peace instead of ignorant judgement…

    • My hopes are with you, fivereflections. But I have to tell you as an outsider, a citizen of another country, who speaks another language and was raised in a very different society from yours, that I have done some traveling in this world, and I have the greatest respect for your country. And I consider the US one of the most democratic and free nations of this world, but I am appalled by the amount of propaganda they shower on the rest of the world in the name of ‘advertisement’. It seems to me that there is a cultural bias found in every culture… and I’ve heard some of the most beautiful idealists make ignorant judgments about peoples and cultures they do not know well. And speaking as one mature man to another, if you’ve ever been married, you probably know that world peace is more a wonderful dream than a possibility that we can actually expect. If we have problems living in peace with those closest to us; those that we really love, how much harder it would be to reach true peace with strangers. But as I said, I’m with you in hope. And thank you very much for your comment.

  23. Lovely post. The breakdown of community in our towns and cities is something we all regret, I think. When we lived in a small village in Italy, (where a sense of community still exists in the way it does not here in the UK), we felt the benefits of living within a community, but by contrast there were times we were all to sharply aware of how much we were removed from it, we did not “belong” although we were always made to feel welcome. I think herein lie the benefits of travel and technology. People have the opportunity to connect with others who share interests and passions in a way that was never possible before, to forge global communities. It’s a powerful thing.

    My “community” is fairly disparate, I suppose, part local, part global. A hotchpotch. One thing I found hard about living within a small community was that, whilst I relished the connection, the familiar, and the sense of belonging, there were many closed hearts and minds. The same cannot be said of people I have met through blogging, for example, but I suppose I cannot really know them in the everyday sense. They are not part of my day-to-day, the drama of my life. For that we all need close human contact, shared experience.

    As an aside, I would say that there is a rebuidling and rebirth of community taking place in this country. It is happening slowly, but I wonder if we might eventually come to sort of middle ground of appreciating the best that local, and global living have to offer. This is what I am hoping for!

    • I agree with you, Emily, that the global community has many advantages and positive characteristics. Especially for the artist, or the exceptional personality within his own society. And it seems to me, that like yourself, many of us belong to more than one community. I belong to more than one community in my home town, and now an internet community has been added to that. Unfortunately, I have to admit that even among the people I’ve met through blogging, there are many who have prejudices and preconceptions. And added to that, differences in attitudes that would probably make things difficult if we were to meet face to face. For instance, I am a smoker. And I think I’ve met some really beautiful people who wouldn’t care to sit in the same room with me if I was smoking. I’m glad to hear of the rebirth of community life in your country, because I think it a very positive development. And like yourself, I believe we’ll eventually reach the middle ground of appreciating both real life community and the virtual. Thank you very much for your comment.

  24. Another beautifully written and thought-provoking piece Shimon. I believe, as humans, we all strive to fit it; to be part of a community – yet each new generation believes itself to be different, newer and more unique. Fundamentally though, we are all humans just trying to find a selection of like-minded people to enjoy the company of.

    I also love the last picture of the young man reading to the old man – very beautiful in it’s own way. Your pictures are always a wonderful insight into the world around you – I always look forward to them! xx

    • What you say about each generation, Jen, is part of the difference between our two cultures. I think, because I studied in the west, it affected me too. But many of the young people here (especially in the more traditional neighborhoods), see themselves as a part of a continuum. That is, they do want to live their own lives and do new things. But they believe and feel that they are supported by the culture and the accomplishments of previous generations. Thank you very much for your kind words regarding my photography.

  25. I love your photographs. I think that there are many dimensions of sharing, and all are as important as the other. Your descriptions of the past show a wonderful way of connecting-we all have similar stories. I do feel though that the world has changed and we have found equally lovely ways to connect through the internet. This new way for me is better than the old because we connect where there is common ground, we stimulate each other in ways we didn’t before, and we don’t have to deal with the ‘horrible’ bits of the personality!!!! Thank you for a well thought out post and for your lovely photographic vision of your innermost thoughts.

    • Thank you very much, Yaz. I’m glad you enjoyed my photography. Perhaps I am very lucky in that I have a lot of common ground with the people in the old neighborhood, even though I have great appreciation for the ability to meet very beautiful people here on the internet. I love personality. I suppose there are ‘horrible bits’ too. But we do sometimes encounter the dark side of human personality in cyberspace as well. Thank you for coming by, and for your comment.

  26. What a beautiful exchange of commentary…among familiar strangers who call themselves friends in a virtual way…and who still manage to touch our lives with their words. It might not be an ideal place, this web-world, but there is comfort here…where learning and tolerance can still thrive.

    • Thank you Scott for pointing out the positive… and this is truly a positive development, that we can find like minds and like hearts in virtual forums and on blogs, and converse with respect for one another, even when we don’t agree. I am very grateful for the fruits of technology. As you can imagine, I imagined myself quite a revolutionary in my youth, and have since discovered that I’m more conservative than I thought… but I do find so much to celebrate in this new world of ours.

  27. Reblogged this on thinkingsinglemum and commented:
    Thinkingsinglemum readers: this is one of the integral issues with being a single mum, so me and my friends say! I will explore how single mums find/ struggle to find a companionable balance in life, when they are parenting alone.

    • I agree with you, Sally, that a well knit community could be of great benefit to a single mother. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to a small community, but I do think it’s much easier to raise children in such circumstances.

  28. As someone who was raised in a small town, Netanya, many years ago (when it really was a small town) I can attest to the fact that lonliness is internal. As a child and a youngster I felt lonely, as I still do today. And yet, there are times when I’m part of a group and community in los Angeles, this immense metropolis, as I sometimes did growing up. There are people who never feel alone, and then there are those who struggle with existential aloneness most of the time. The rest of us fit in between.

    • I thought that you might have come from my country, because of your name, Rachel. What you say, is quite true, from my experience. As is commonly said, we are born alone and we die alone. I do believe, though, that there are layers of awareness… and though I too felt very much alone while growing up, on certain layers, I felt the strength and help of the community. I also spent some time in Los Angeles, about fifty years ago, and found people of like minds that I was able to communicate with, and whose company I enjoyed. Loneliness itself is a very interesting subject, connected to one’s expectations, and what one desires in life. It would make a good blog post.

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