After talking to Occupy Wall Street, Bishop Eugene Robinson commented that he felt that there was a collective grief for the loss of community, that somewhere along the way society has lost the sense of responsibility to the whole and of individuals to one another. He said it more eloquently than that, but you get the idea.
It is too simplistic to blame it on electronic media. We can carry our home entertainment centers around with us now. We can create our individual music programs that go with us everywhere. We can watch movies on personal devices. But do we do that to cut off people so that we do not need to talk to strangers in public, or to fill the void of an aching loneliness because we already feel cut off by others? What do we hear in the sounds of our silence that makes us avoid it at all costs?
The loss of community cuts us deeply but the solution is not found by only looking inside our psyche. A big part of what makes us healthy and whole is the connections we have with others. We need to feel that we are known, accepted and loved. We can and should love others. However, we need also to be loved in return.
As I understand Occupy it is this loss of connection that they are feeling. Both financial and political power brokers seem to feel that every man, woman and child are only responsible for themselves. There is no mutuality, no sense of responsibility for one another, no social cohesion.
In the root understanding of ancient spiritual teachings, we could say we have lost heaven. Earth represents the tangible, heaven the intangible. We may be fine in caring for and even pampering our physical bodies and developing tangible things but the intangible connections between all living bodies is gone.
We need to acknowledge our connections to others and that these connections are vital to our well being. We need less rugged individualism and more social contract. We need to get back to US.
That would be heavenly.