Is smaller better, then?
I spent the last few days in what is sometimes called ‘an isolated northern village’. And it was isolated and northern: the most isolated village still accessible by road the internet says. A long where from everywhere, it seemed to me. At least it seemed that way until I had been there for a few days – then I realized it was a great deal closer to a lot of things than the places I often spend my time. Closer to nature, closer to each other, closer to the spirit.
There is something about ‘isolation’ that allows one to appreciate the surroundings more. Less distractions? Fewer irrelevant demands? People here talk about the sense of ‘significance of self’ which overcomes you when you are deep in the woods and experience the profound silence of nature uninterrupted. And there is also something about being in an ‘isolated village’ that allows one to make quicker, closer connections with others. Less distractions? Fewer irrelevant demands?
I can’t really say I know what it is but it seems to me there is a correlation between how many people there are in any given place and how much people are able to connect with one another. Fewer people, greater opportunity for connectedness. I also think there is something about escalating paranoia and group size but I don’t want to go there today.
I was in this village for 3 days. At the end of the 3 days, I felt like I was beginning to make a few new friends – people I wanted to stay in touch with. At other times in my life I have lived in neighborhoods where, even after a year, I did not know anyone at all.
So, what’s that about, eh? Is it because in remote villages I feel more alone, isolated, insecure and therefore needy for connection? Is it because other people, too, are needing connections? I don’t know.
I’ve also noticed this about other people when we have gone together into small communities. They, too, seem to connect more quickly, get taken in more readily.
On the other hand, people in smaller communities are also more connected with one another – so, do they feel a greater sense of belonging and security and, because of that, feel safer in connecting with others (like me) who come into their group? And do the people in larger groups feel less connected and, therefore, less safe. That ‘rings true’ for me – it makes sense as well.
It is as if people who are ‘better’ connected are also ‘better’ able to connect with others.
Is that possible, do you think?
I just know that after a day or two in an ‘isolated’ northern village, isolation quickly slips away and is replaced by a powerful, and peaceful, sense of connectedness, like I could ‘belong’ here.
And moving our focus from ‘place and people’ to ‘time and people’ ... it dawned on us (little more than a week ago) that we have been producing CYC-Online every month for ten years! It was way back in February 1999 that we put out our first tentative and very amateur attempt at a regular edition of new and older writing in and around the field of child and youth care — which would be accessible world-wide and at no cost.
Today there are more than 2750 documents in the CYC-Online collection (apart from a further thirty thousand* files in the rest of CYC-Net!). For this reason, this month we are adding to the front page of each issue a new feature which allows you to search for CYC-Online articles by title, by subject area, and by author. This development is in its beta stage, which means it is up there for you to use and try, and to comment on in terms of its usefulness. Any improvements you would like to suggest will be helpful to us, and should be e-mailed to us here for us to consider them.
It has given us much pleasure to produce this monthly on-line journal, and we owe thanks to the many people who have allowed us to use articles, generously given time to writing articles, especially to those who have contributed on a regular basis over the years, and also to those who have contributed financially to help keep this project alive. With your help, it has all been a success, and we are enouraged to continue into the future.
Thom (Montreal) and Brian
* This number includes all of the archived files which make up CYC-Net — the text files, images, logos, cartoons, technical programs, etc.