Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Knowing people

One does what one gets recognition for. This is why a job is so rewarding; even a bad job. If you do it with reasonable effort, someone notices every single day. You are around people who do the same thing, so you know that your efforts are not only appreciated, but also understood. It is also one of the things that makes internet communities so compelling-- you can find groups of people that share your passions both generally and specifically. There is no sense of the kind of patronizing "support" one gets from friends and family members (oh, Xan's making art, that's so important to her, here's a hug); you don't need hugs or specific praise to know that these people approve, support and understand what you are doing.

When we were young, we found these communities live, by creating cooperative efforts. Galleries, critique groups, activist efforts, community gardens, neighborhood associations, play groups. I wonder, given the ease of finding communities on line, and the safe barrier of anonymity, if people still do this to the same extent.

I find on line communities nearly addictive-- I know if I post a comment or make a journal entry or put up a picture here and here, someone who shares my interest in or love for this thing will see it, and maybe even tell me why they liked it. I don't need to hear from them directly; I can tell from the page views if people have looked at. An irresistible combination: love and statistics.

I think this is what motivates the near-frenzy of young people to get away from their parents. A parent's approval is suspect, and tainted. The approval and support does not spring from shared passion or understanding, but from the uncritical stance of love. It cannot help but feel belittling and condescending. Your parents' pride excludes them from your community.

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