Tuesday, November 06, 2001

I took the job

I took it. I took the job. I think it is going to be very nice. I met some of my co-workers and they seem like good people. The director was out the day I visited after accepting.

It is a nice place in part because it is small. One frustration with my other job was the incredible amount of red tape and run around. The organization was too spread out, spread thin, and miscommunication was the rule of the day. It was dysfunctional. I have always had a soft spot for working at camps. I cound never afford to do it now, (emotionally or financially.) The power of the residential camp setting is in many ways a phenomenological one.

At camp, both campers and staff can see the world working. In many cases, our communities have become so large as to be meaningless. Everyone is disconnected and it is hard to see how we are all connected. At a residential camp though, this is all different. A residential camp is a small community where everything is clear. You see the person who cooks your food. Heck, in my case we shared a dorm room. Everyone's roles are clear and the setting is managable. It is possible to get a grasp on what everyone does. As far as staff goes, it is relatively easy to get everyone together for a meeting without resorting to memos and schedules a month in advance. Every day phenomenon can be viewed as part of an understandable whole.

In contrast, in the communities where most of us live, our food comes pre-packaged by anonymous strangers. We often insulate ourselves in our homes only coming out to drive to our far-off job which seems totally unrelated to our neighbor's job. Phenomenon in this situation are viewed as unrelated unexplainable untraceable events. Our technology is a good allegory to our cultural situation. Let's look at transportation. If I take a simple one speed bike and slip the chain off of the axel gear it would not be difficult for most anyone to look at the bike and easily see why it will not move. It would also be pretty easy to fix. Flash forward to a volkswagon bus. This is a major step forward in transportation technology. It was also the last car made that could be fixed by a person with a screw driver, wrench and a book. In today's cars. If it won't run there could be a million reasons why. Odds are the average person could not look at the car to determine what is wrong. Even if they could determine the source of the problem the solution would most likey be difficult and expensive.

Our communities are the same way. How did this all start with my new job? My new job is much more like a bike than a modern car. With a small staff it should be a place where everyone works together and the sense of commmunity is on a human scale.

Scale is what it is all about. At some point people need to decide what scale of society they want to live in? Our current "communities" are not human scale, they are car and to some percent, airplane scale.