Newtown, CT, is a town described as being “typically New England”. Having lived in that area for over 5 years in the 70s, I have a true sense of what is meant by this description. And though I don’t, for a minute, believe that the inhabitants of a prosperous professional neighbourhood believed that they had immunity from the madnesses of the world, I do have a sense that they believed that such devastating madness could not incubate from within a community such as theirs. The 21st century global village is indeed a double-edged sword. It offers the osmotic prospect of quantity of communication, but this magnitude of scale brings with it a prospective diminution of quality. I am a great fan of the internet and greatly value the potential offered by Facebook, email, blogs and the like. But we need to take care that more doesn’t become less; indeed meaningless. Isolation brings danger of alienation in both the micro and macro universes; and in the real and virtual worlds. This surely is the quintessential essence of this time of the year – a seasonal opportunity to embrace and meaningfully connect with one another; not only family and friends but also ‘the strangers in our midsts’.

 

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