London’s, sense of community is synonymous with its function. It appears in any number of facets throughout the city. Just about everywhere you look, there is a community forming, merging, engaging, sharing, and exploring life together. This is a global community, representing a unique global city, in a league of its own. One of my favourite observation decks to view this this social marvel, is in a London park on a sunshine-filled Sunday.
A less tethered sense of community is represented, unbound by social utilities, and or, social statue affirmation. A zero-sum game, for all sharing the communal space. Enjoying the blessings of our virtuous earth. Relishing in the gift of fresh air – forgetting the pollution for just a moment – sunshine, and grass beneath our feet. Savouring moments with loved ones, canine companions, and alcohol dependencies. Within this community, you will find an endless multitude of social factions, all existing for unique purposes. The peaceful convergence, and coexistence of the varied parties, lies in the amalgamating factor of the shared environment.
Many of the smaller social factions represented in the park, are ones of religious entanglement. An ideal, which I have previously held dear. A catholic childhood, garnered tangible experience with the benefits, and detriments of ideological indoctrination. Granting understanding of how immersion into stringent worship routines, can alter perspective, and manifest as a notion of confirmed value within a community. Illusionary, or not, the experience surely varies case, by case.
Something worth highlighting, is Australia’s growing population of citizens which do not identify as religious. According to the 2016 census, thirty percent of the population does not identify with any religion. Fifty-two percent of the population identifies as Christian; however, this is a number which has seen a steady decline. Having previously been reported as eighty-eighty percent, in 1966. Although, the census boasts an ever-changing multicultural, and ideological face of Australia. The figures remain unconvincing, when living in the depths of a truly global environment.
London, has real triumph in multicultural harmony. Yet, embedded in this society, is many ideological communities. If you were to void this society, of its convolution of morality drivers, should you see a dissolvement of its communal codes? Would it be audacious to suggest: the lack of participation in tribal rituals, by the Australian population, plays a part in our intolerance? That is an intolerance which is so internationally notarised, that since landing in the UK, I have listened to several global citizens – including a South African – question, what lies at the heart of our inherent racism.
It does seem outlandish, and trivial, I must admit. Although, highlighting the lack of community participation is important. A global city like London, promotes, and demands engagement from its citizens. However, the quiet life of suburban – or, acreage – Australia seems to promote isolationism. You only need to look at the voting maps for Brexit, or the 2016 US election, to get an idea of how important community is to political ideals.
Could we blame our country’s political, and moral divide, on our decline in prayer? Perhaps, substituting service mass, with our reclusive worship of personal technology? Reducing our hours of social interaction with the wider community, while technology redesigns our information athenaeum. Has this distorted our previously standardised information resources, and, our circles of social interaction? Could our country’s sprawling population, be unknowingly suffering from socio-political side effects due to our envelopment in antisocial behaviour?
Personal technology, and social media. These same interfaces, have played key roles in recent political movements. Most notably, in Australia, the Keep Sydney Open movement. This was a movement cultivated on social media, engaging with the community to rally support against the New South Wales, lock out laws. Since this movements conception, there have been several successful rallies. A demonstration in October 2016, saw a turn-out, of up to ten thousand people. The movement is also arguably responsible, for Premier Mike Baird leaving office. And, were successful in pushing for the laws to be put under revision, and subsequently somewhat loosened.
With similar left-wing, and right-wing political movements generating support and participation through social media, here in the UK – Britain first, and Anti-Tory. You begin to think, perhaps, technology has become a vital component of political engagement in the Twenty First Century. Although, this only furthers the point, in which I am driving at. The stream, the feed, the constant interaction with isolationist proxy communication. Is it potentially doing more harm, than good, to our sense of global community, by generating isolated social factions? Could the emergence of these technological interfaces, across the sprawling landscapes of Australia, or, the USA, be held accountable for our current political, and moral divisions?
If this is the case, the question, is: how could you supersede current ideas of community, and initiate greater communal participation? Striving to replace former social edifices by utilising, but, not relying on technological advancements. While promoting morality to the masses, with not an inch of divinity purported. Could you cultivate great change, through community engagement, educating with only a dogma constant of humanism, and a shared world approach? Could such a thing ever take wind, and reimagine humanity as it stands today? A utopia, too strange to consider with authenticity.
Unless, you happen to catch a glimpse of it on a nice sunny day. Out in a park somewhere. As the children play, and the couples embrace, with only a few phones in front of faces. Literature still displayed proudly in hands, and technologies cold grip, only weighing on those who choose not to disengage. Leaving all of those with eyes wide open, to sit, run, and participate harmoniously in the glory of the day, within our shared space.