Proximity Without Community

Proximity Without Community

Could it be that surrounded as we are
By thousands of our fellow human beings
Yet our heart cries out for companionship?
We have proximity but lack community

While sitting on a crowded tube train
Hundreds of heads clamped by earphones
Fingers tapping on smart phone screens
Perhaps community is in the ether?

Even while jostled in the rising lift
Our personal space acutely threatened
Proximity enforced upon us
A community manifestly silent

In the age of individualism, solo performance
highly valued, the allure of the selfie over all
Of course nominally we admire ‘team spirit’
But community consists of elite teams

In the pursuit of comfort and privacy
More than ever live as single occupants
So we become a community of persons
Living in proximity but in a soul-less community

In work we may be surrounded by others
But our freedom is regulated, our productivity calibrated
Together we are enslaved in the joint endeavour
But that common bond is very tenuous

And so we bob along like corks floating in a tank
Proximity demands that we impinge on each other
But in no way are we united in community
Perpetual drifting along together in independent flow

Ken Fisher

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