Normal Accidents LO12078

Edwin Brenegar III (
Sun, 19 Jan 1997 20:58:00 -0500 (EST)

Replying to LO12048 --

Joe raises an important issue concerning the relationship between
technology and community. The Amish have developed a rather sophisticated
approach to measuring the impact of technology. Unfortunately, outside a
community like that, technology has much more an individualist focus.
Modern technology are adult toys, so to speak, and have their strengths
and weaknesses.

My question concerns how we measure community. How do we know when a
community is healthy. I have arrived at the conclusion that a healthy
community involves at a minimum three communal conditions. First, that
people find a people, place, history, and/or a set of values in which they
find a genunie sense of "affiliation." Secondly, that they experience a
genuine sense of acceptance, dignity, respect and love, "affection" or
real, mutual caring for one another. Thirdly, that people find themselves
affirmed in what they individually have to offer to the community as a
whole. Whether it be their wisdom, money, physical labor or participation
in collaborative efforts to build their community, they find their
contributions and lives affirmed and appreciated.

Now, if assuming these are some basic conditions for a healthy community,
what types of technology are needed to enhance each person's experience of
participation in that community. I remember years ago, there was this
view perpetrated that TV would become the next great town meeting place.
Well, I think that prospect has not proven to be realized. But what we
are engaging in through this mailing list, could well become just that
sort of meeting place, though on a global scale. Ironic, isn't it, that
we could well find greater community with people on different continents
than the person in the next office, or next house on the street.

Finally, in our home we have made a conscious technological choice not to
subscribe to cable TV. It was hard to lose C-SPAN, CNN and ESPN, but the
quiet and time for family community interaction has been enhanced as a
result. The Amish may be on to something.

Thanks Joe for your provocative musings. Keep it up.

Ed Brenegar
Leadership Resources
Hendersonville, NC 28791
704/693-0720 voice/fax


Edwin Brenegar III <>

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