//Friends for Life

Friends for Life

Man texting on phone

We are massively connected in our time in one sense; massively dis-connected in another. We are massively connected primarily by way of modern communications systems: Internet, iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, et al. Within seconds, we can be in lingual contact with almost any other human being on the planet. We are also massively connected today by way of modern transportation systems: automobile, airplane, metro, Acela, et al. Within hours, we can be standing side by side with almost any other human being on the planet.

We are massively dis-connected in our time by way of a slew of factors, including class, wealth, education, expectation, career, neighborhood, belief, culture, experience, gender, race, ethnicity, et al. Of course, this has always been the case. What is new, and ominous, is degree and scale. Many mere differences of the past have grown into gaping chasms over time and never now the twain shall meet.

Unfortunately, being massively connected in the physical sense (by phone, by Internet) can foster an illusion of being massively connected in the emotional / spiritual sense. Many people today, in fact, essentially equate having a multitude of virtual ‘friends’ with having a multitude of ‘real’ friends, the kind you can count on at a moment’s notice to take care of FiFi while you’re attending Uncle Jack’s third wedding. Their ‘proof in the pudding’ in this regard is the number of Facebook ‘likes’ they can boast of.

2019-03-20T15:26:19+00:00March 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|7 Comments


  1. Bill McKeeman March 29, 2019 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    By too-rich I mean too many possible reply threads. Hard to know what topic you really want to discuss.

    So, I’ll pick one. You do not like the Constitution. Agreed it shows the scars of compromise and age.
    You are a smart guy, suggest another, modern, progressive, literate, alternative.
    It could make for an interesting discussion.
    My requirements include stability (can’t be changed before the ink is dry), protect minorities from tyranny of the majority, insure that governmental power is not abused, keep the nation safe.

    Or, alternatively, name the three most egregious problems with the current Constitution.
    What is/are the problem(s) you want to solve?

    /s/ Bill

    • TomF April 4, 2019 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Any scheme of governance that creates a ruling class (of ‘politicians,’ in our case) will ultimately fail.

      We need a wholesale alternative. And, guess what? I have one!

      • Bill McKeeman April 4, 2019 at 11:57 pm - Reply

        I am awaiting your new constitution with great anticipation

  2. Bill McKeeman March 26, 2019 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    I respectfully disagree with many points in your too-rich blog-start.
    But, I will add by own bugaboos just making the problem worse.
    By happenstance my closest peeps are scattered all over the world.
    It is truly wonderful that I can watch my Berlin granddaughters grow.
    That is, my videophone (WhatsApp in my case) allows my granddaughter
    to grab her smartphone, shout hi grampa, and give me a tour of her room.
    There are other examples and counterexamples. My older kin won’t
    touch a computer or smartphone, so I am reduced to snail mail for them.
    My point here is that although they cannot take care of Fifi for me,
    I have not been excluded from many of the exciting family events.
    In the case of folks who are already ‘close,’ tech just makes things better.
    On the other hand, the vast networks of like-minded people adds a new
    factor into society. When the Arabs were wandering in the desert, they
    were easy to control. Then they got radio. And then TV. And now iPhone.
    The consequence is that colonial divide and conquer no longer works.
    They can unite via the internet and Asia Minor will never be the same again.
    Whether that is a good thing or bad thing depends on which side you choose.
    To generalize, a mass movement can assemble in minutes, instead of years.
    Yellow vests in Paris. Antifa in Berkeley. You name it — mobs rule.
    Democracy is a sort of one-person, one-vote system. Except that our founding
    fathers were worried about “flash” mobs, so they designed hysteresis into the
    political system, so that a charismatic leader could not instantly dismantle the
    country by winning a majority and then changing the rules. One only needs
    to read the rise of Hitler, or Chavez, or most any monarchy to see their reasons.
    Lock her up! Off with their heads! Impeach the President! We don’t do that here.
    Law and procedure and constitutional limitations keep fads from destroying us.
    I do not think inveighing against differences makes much sense. Surely you can
    watch Victoria on Masterpiece, or savor the French revolution and see worse.
    The old differences, of race and gender, were real and dealt with in our country,
    Unless you need to pick old scabs for political gain, they are no longer central.
    The ultra rich are taking the heat now. But, really, there are two classes of these
    folks. Creative ones who are responsible for our vast increase in well-being and
    parasites, (I am thinking corporate executives) that ride the wave and skim off
    far more that their worth into private coffers. Bill Gates and Paul Allen and Steve
    Jobs have turned into positive contributors, even with their excessive wealth.
    Perhaps you can argue they should charge less, and make less, but mostly they
    have improved billions of lives. Just because some politicians would like to spend
    their earned wealth does not means we should agree to confiscate it. Otherwise
    we make the prediction of Alexis de Tocqueville come true. Welcome to Venezuela.
    Barry Cook recommends we establish the truth of what we read on blogs, etc.
    Absolutely! Of course! But how? For many getting to the root of propaganda is
    just beyond our time, energy and skills. It used to be the media that took the time
    to look into wild rhetoric and dig out the facts for us. It might takes weeks, or months
    or even years. Look at how Watergate played out. Mueller took two years. But the
    media caught Trumpitis, hating what he says and writes. What civil person does not?
    But that is no excuse of the slanting of every broadcast to look for the worst in Trump.
    And then being wrong, and instead of abject apology, looking for the next opportunity.
    It truly is a disease of the media, and perhaps half of the electorate. The down side
    of this is a follow-on charismatic voice that will flip to the other side, and the internet
    sheep will follow, be the source Russian or just a deranged partisan fellow voter.
    When the talk of is of changing the constitution, we have reached stage two of the
    traditional mob-led takeover into the next dictatorship. And then we have lost all.
    Well, as you can see, the blog-start opened many veins. I’ll stop the bleeding. For now.

    • TomF March 29, 2019 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure what you mean by “too-rich blog-start.”

      Re your comments: The Founding Fathers ‘changed’ the Constitution almost minutes after the ink was dry on the first edition: They added 10 amendments. Since then, the Constitution has been changed several times, though never easily, by use of the mechanism the FF gave us for just this purpose. In my opinion, though, it is much too late to change the Constitution in any meaningful way. It’s time, I think, to dump the whole thing and start over.

  3. Barry Cook March 23, 2019 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Many of us feel connected (either co-located or virtually) by shared interests, activities and/or attitudes. Still others feel connected by a mutual history (cultural, familial, or institutional.). As a card-carrying member of the Society of Hermits, I can stand back from this clustering urge and offer my critique.
    Sometimes, it is beneficial to seek differences rather than similarities in our associations. When we climb over the walls that divide us and meet the “others,” we learn not only the validity and complexity of “their” world – we also discover the shared humanity that transcends the little differences of which we make so much.
    Rick Steves is an evangelist travel writer who preaches that travel opens our eyes to the wider world and changes us for the better. He’s talking about culture shock. This broadening experience doesn’t require a plane ticket; just enter into discussions with an open mind, a desire to learn, and a relaxation of the need to eliminate differences of opinion. This does not mean that you lay yourself open to all forms of persuasion and propaganda – you can observe with defending and still remain true to yourself.
    Final bit of advice (just my opinion, mind you): trust, but verify your facts; don’t define yourself by your opinions.
    Spring is here! Consider it the season for a fresh start.

    • TomF March 24, 2019 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Interesting that the only self-disclosed ‘hermit’-contributor to this blog is also the most prolific commenter.

      We need more hermits!

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