The economy must be doing better. There were nose prints on the glass. Windows don’t get smudged by people standing back. Something convinced them to be curious enough to lean forward.
Last week I taught my ever-changing seminar on Modern Self-Publishing. I won’t go into the details here, but the quick version is that the publishing industry is undergoing the same changes that we’ve watched in independent movies and music. The class continues to change because the technology continues to change. Digital technology is changing many industries, including the arts, and yes, art is an industry; it just isn’t as efficiently or boringly managed as most corporations. The class was fun, I do enjoy teaching, but the timing could have been better. Langley’s Welcome the Whales parade literally passed me by while I stayed inside and taught. Reports are that it was fun. The video certainly showed a crowd. Oh well, at least I got to see it on YouTube.
It was hard to ignore the crowds as they passed the class room windows. Luckily, living in a tourist town is a wonderful education in people watching. This is a small town island and I could tell that most of the people wandering by weren’t familiar, weren’t locals, and were welcomed back. The tourists were in town again. There’ve always been a few, but during the last few lean years, the few were more likely to stroll by instead of wander through the shops. Last weekend many were more curious. They pressed their noses to the glass. They even walked into buildings that weren’t shops or stores. They were exploring forgotten realms. One walked into my class as if we were some art performance. Maybe we were from her point of view. I didn’t mind and invited her to stay – for the nominal fee of course.
Ah, but gas prices are up. The conventional wisdom is that people won’t be traveling or buying as much. I understand convention. I agree and think it is wrong, but in a good way.
People may not travel as far, but there are years of pent-up demand. They are getting out. Travel will be simpler and more local.
They may not be buying as much, but I think they are more conscious about what they buy.
If we all stayed home and bought nothing the planet may say thank you, but our civilization would suffer, at least temporarily. Besides, the buying isn’t as important as the community and one place community has always collected has been the market.
The effects of the Dismal Decade are fading. Aspects will remain, just like we still live with the implications of the Great Depression and the Civil War (aka War Between the States, The Northern Oppression, etc.). Our history shapes our future. That shouldn’t be news. It may seem that we never learn, but evidently we do. Sometime along the line we realized the benefits of the steam engine, the end of slavery, the Internet, equality for all, farming, and our interconnections.
There is always an argument for revolutionary change. This may be the time. Maybe we’re ready for it, maybe not. To me it is obvious that the recent economic turmoil changed many lives and attitudes, but it is also evident that many habits remain. I think the retreat to old ways of consuming are about to become anachronisms though. Bigger, faster cars, brighter bling, fancier gadgets, are becoming the goal of fewer, those that are still conspicuously rich. I find it interesting that the elite, the rich that are getting richer, are the ones most likely to reside in a more exclusive, and more energetically defended, shrinking enclave within our society. The rich that are getting richer are fewer. The number that are poor are increasing. At some point that imbalance corrects itself. Hmm, I think I just walked myself back around to revolutionary change.
I don’t know where we are heading as we leave the Dismal Decade behind. Our societies have always embodied some injustice, at least in retrospect. The only way injustice may be eradicated is a sudden global awakening of the global consciousness. Prayers for that have existed since prayers extended beyond asking for help in the hunt.
We may not have attained unanimity, but significant numbers of people are becoming more empowered and more globally aware. The digital effects on media are allowing expression at historic levels. Blogs like this never existed except as journalism subjected to excruciating editorial review which caught lots of typos, but filtered away passion and voice. Digital community is allowing an awareness of culture, imbalances, needs, and answers that are largely unfiltered by authority figures. Resources are more likely to find the right place to be applied, whether it is tents to disaster victims, or the light of discourse applied to ignorance. People are communicating without waiting for permission. They are becoming spontaneously curious.
Overlooked wisdom my finally find receptive audiences. People who steered from the mainstream to find the source and the fundamentals of consciousness may find crowds following their path. Frugal folk may be surprised to find that, their struggles, their forced or chosen resourcefulness, may be seen as a valuable resource and the focus of engaged curiosities. I hope that local farmers and artisans aren’t dismissed because they’re just down the road. An expert is anyone from out of town, but not really. Experts live amongst us and are us. Finding such resources close is wonderfully convenient.
Curiosities, noses on windows, are getting people out of their houses, into their neighborhoods, and into other lifestyles, communities, and cultures. Occasionally we’ll smudge the glass a bit, or surprise someone by walking into their space, but I think the benefits far outweigh the costs. Really, it doesn’t take much to clean a nose print off the glass. Let’s lean forward and learn from what we see.