The past fifty years have demonstrated how small the world really is. We all live under threat of the same atomic storm. The continents have been homogenized by data and technology. We have learned we are part of one another.
This awareness of interdependence has done much good. The world, however, is even smaller than some would have us think, and, unfortunately, the art of defining that space for oneself has been lost. It is considered back-to-the-landish for any layman to read the sky; reading one's own environment is almost unheard of.
Educators currently mourn the death of cultural literacy in this country. The source of the problem could be the loss of a personal strawberry patch. The classics can only thrive in the moral equivalent of a walled, personal subsistence garden that has its own familiar and peculiar sun, clouds and rain.
Is this Romantic, reactionary noblesavagism? I don’t think so. The twenty-first century will be another Age of Faith. Filtered, censored, preinterpreted information is already Revelation.
We have allowed ourselves to be colonized by our own vacuous overculture. Mass civilization has created a derivative, barbaric solid-state wasteland challenged only by scattered pockets of friendship, fantasy. In this neomedieval wilderness, the microlimate, which can only be identified by myopic observation and reconstruction of habitat, may be the last safe castle.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of early fall. In the meantime, define your own space, forge your own path.