“The monologue means nothing to me” Elliot Smith in Can’t Make a Sound
I thought this was such a thought provoking insightful line in one of Elliot Smith’s songs. Something I’ve been mulling over this past year is this whole modernism clash with post-modernism. While, admittedly much of it is over my head, I do agree that post-modernism has brought to light very honest and real holes in modernist thought. And I think post-modernism has much to teach us. For one thing, I’m grateful that it’s bringing more relevance into the structure of community. In brief, modernism worked in propositional truths and understood things at an individualistic level, while post-modernism pushes against that with a communal understanding of truth and reality. So truth is shaped and born out of a community, rather than something someone else once believed.
So with that said, I think Elliot Smith’s line is the cry of our generation. Many of them want to be engaged with, not just told what to do. To them, monologue means nothing and dialogue means everything. I offer no solutions or prescriptions, but merely wanted to pose a thought that I hope will bring fruitful interaction with this emerging post-modern generation. And maybe I’m missing the whole boat here and we’ve all moved beyond post-modernism onto something else, in which case, I’ll catch up with you guys later…
Can community be achieved virtually?
It’s been something I’ve been pondering as I have been thinking about the redemptive purposes of Facebook & other social networking sites (and the redeeming value of the internet, in general). My conclusion? I’d like to think that real community can only happen in honest relationship with others. Now, if this is achieved through honest relationships in online communities, then I think virtual community can be achieved. But I doubt that this would hold up very long, because there are too many walls that one could hide behind in these virtual settings (not to say there aren’t any masks one could have in face-to-face interactions, either).
All that to say, I’m not made up in my mind about all this stuff yet. But I thought it was interesting enough to throw it out there. I’m interested in what other people think.
Can community be acheived virtually? Ought the Body of Christ seek virtual communities as a viable option?
I just watched Into the Wild. It’s a movie based on a true story about an Emory graduate that leaves his prestigious college degree, large savings, & the promise of a bright future in search of the truth of his existence. For Christopher McCandless, truth lies in the wilderness of Alaska. If you haven’t watched it, I’d recommend it.
Honestly, it spoke loudly to my natural desire for rebellion against all that is status quo & my innate urge for exploration. I think all men (and some women) will appreciate a movie like this, because it’s at the heart of who we are. We are restless creatures in search of adventure to define our reality. (As an aside, I think this is why X-Games have become so popular in our age. We’re attempting to break the boundaries of sports to find a greater reality of human existence.)
Anyway, the point of this post was an insightful line highlighted in this movie. After a long journey of trying to “find” himself, Christopher comes to the end of the road, squarely facing death cooped up in an abandoned bus in the middle of Alaska. As part of his memoirs and last etchings into his life’s writing, he scribbles, “Happiness only real when shared”. What a profound statement! In an attempt to run away from society and all the cultural pressures to conform, Christopher sought truth & clarity in an ascetic life in the wilderness. But on his deathbed, he comes to a haunting epiphany. There is no happiness if it cannot be shared with another.
That is the reality of Christian life. We are to share in this life together. It is called the Fellowship of Believers. We are the Body of Christ. True joy is shared. But this world’s message is entirely different. It says that we are individuals. We are all on our own journey to find ourselves. We are alone. But in this age of radical individualism, I’m convinced we are to live in counter-cultural community. Let us be the body of Christ that shows that “happiness is only real when shared.”