Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.

 

Four Ways to Create a Community

How do you create a community in a world where Sunnis and Shiites slaughter each other, Ukraine, Myanmar, Kenya seethe with ethnic hatred, and our own country grows dishearteningly divided?

  • The Melting Pot is the foundation of America’s faith in assimilation. It seeks to erase cultural and ethnic differences and bring forth a new American. Marxism seeks to eradicate class distinctions in pursuit of the same goal. Such differences have proved stubbornly resistant, and policies to deal with those deemed unassimilable, whether kulaks or Native Americans, too often turned into genocide.
  • The Quilt recognizes the importance of diversity by replacing the melting pot with a single fabric woven from different pieces, each maintaining its own identity while contributing to the beauty of the whole.
  • Walls, topped with glass shards and razor wire, defended by heavily armed troops taught to hate what’s on the other side, seem where we’re headed now. “Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
that wants it down,” wrote Robert Frost, and it’s hard to see how our world can survive as bristling fiefdoms behind bricks and wire.
  • The Retreat offers the chance to create small purposeful communities, often close to the natural world. While such a life seems increasingly attractive, I believe a retreat must be a place to recharge, and not retire.

Globalization seems bent on eradicating our differences by homogenizing the world. It has unleashed, in reaction, unimaginably brutal responses. Our survival depends on understanding that our differences are what make us human.

Levels of Intolerance

Fresh Blood: A Youth Congress?