We often say “live elsewhere”, and “elsewhere” means “far away”, which means the ideal of life beyond reality. But in fact, life is more nearby. “Nearby” is a relatively fixed and real life range centered on the individual. Everyday events that take place in schools, communities, homes, and workplaces make up the little world of each of us. “Nearby” is also a specific person. They are our classmates who study with us, colleagues who work with us, family members, friends, neighbors, etc. They have real life temperature and rich life details. In the frequent friction with the neighborhood, the relationship between people becomes close and deep.
The distance is the unknown and the poem, which is written into the song, written into the book, and emphasized in the beautification; the nearby is the here and now, we tend to turn a blind eye. But when we re-understand the neighborhood and build the neighborhood, we will find that the neighborhood is so beautiful.
we’re ignoring the neighborhood
In the past, we lived in an era without the Internet and “used to be slow”, and the convenience and happiness of life came from nearby. I have fond memories of my childhood: Faxiao and I take two bus stops to the swimming pool every weekend; the stationery store at the back of the school can buy all kinds of popular and practical stationery; I know the neighbors well Auntie rides a bicycle home from get off work and will appear at the entrance of the alley on time at 6 pm; my mother and I go downstairs and turn right and walk for 10 minutes to reach the lively and familiar vegetable market. The fat aunt who kills eel is very quick.
At that time, the children fled from Dongjia to Xijia. Today I eat at your house, tomorrow you stay at my house, and they often get together to play those “old” games: throwing handkerchiefs, hopscotch, taking pictures, catching stones, “Eagle”. Catching chickens”…
Adults also love to drop by, and as soon as they sit down and talk, they forget to go back to cook time. After dinner, everyone would gather in twos and threes in the yard to do homework. Here, a few aunts were talking about gossip about which couple had quarreled again, and whose children were growing too slowly; Talk about astronomy and geography, and analyze the international situation in a while. The wind is breezy in the summer night, and the sound of cicadas is heard.
Gone, such a scene.
Now each of us holds a mobile phone and puts our heads down to express our opinions on various social platforms, but we rarely have time to invite friends out to sit and chat about each other’s recent situation; In the vegetable market, we lie on our bed and open the food delivery software in our mobile phone; we know the hot events in another country thousands of kilometers away, and we have been in and out of the elevator with our neighbors in the same building for 3 years, but we are still only stranger.
Our specific and warm neighborhoods tend to be digested. Social software, live shopping, navigation tools, food delivery services, short video products… The invisible tentacles of these mobile phones have replaced the nearby life we need to explore and experience: we buy things on e-commerce platforms, use takeaway software for meals, and use them when we travel. The taxi app calls a taxi, and the driver will come to our downstairs on time. We enjoy this huge sense of convenience, wrapped in it, moving forward without stopping, and the need for the neighborhood is less and less.
We used to say that “a distant relative is not as good as a near neighbor”, but now the problem is that we do not know where the nearest neighbor is. We’ve even forgotten, or don’t even notice the vicinity.
”Disappearing Nearby” is a concept put forward by anthropology professor Xiang Biao. He believes that modern people do not have the ability to immerse themselves in the surrounding world and form a narrative, and only care about the two ends and not the middle. What are the two ends? It’s the micro-self near and the grand world at a distance, with our surroundings in the middle. When you ask a young man, “Where is your community in this city? How is your relationship with your neighbors?” “University”, entered the world’s top 500, he is very clear about the ranking of world universities. Xiang Biao believes that there is nothing wrong with transcendence itself. The problem is that after transcendence, he forgets to look back at the world around him.
To ignore the neighborhood is to lose a living life
The disappearance of the neighborhood has its inevitability. It is not only the backlash of online social media, but also the result of the development of modern industrial civilization.
Fei Xiaotong, a sociologist, believes: “The unity of blood and geography is the original state of a community.” China’s rural settlement form is such an acquaintance society. With tacit codes of conduct and customs, people have taken root in this local civilization.
But after all, people are not plants, people want to flow. From the rural society to the modern society, blood and geography have become inconsistent. From the agricultural land planted in the spring and autumn harvest to the commercial apartment buildings, the nature of the community has changed, and the acquaintances around have become strangers, replacing contracts with trust. The way of life no longer applies and people become more concerned with their own interests. However, when the urban development accelerates, the old city is transformed into a new city, the space where people live changes from fixed to fluid, and the fate of the original urban fireworks and community human feelings being diluted is global.
Generational differences are also a big reason for nearby disappearances. Although there are many “Internet addicted seniors” among parents, they still focus on real life. Big data shows that the age group of “Zhaiyi” is mainly concentrated between 18-34 years old. Affected by life pressure and otaku culture, young people who grew up with computer technology prefer to live alone. They refuse to feel the benefits of collective life, refuse to communicate with others, and even reject others from entering their hearts. “Social fear” is everywhere, and has even become a fashionable personal label.
With the rapid development of science and technology, young people have obtained the conditions of “household”. If food, clothing, housing, transportation and spiritual life can be handled by a mobile phone, why do you need to go out and fight with physical people?
At the beginning of the 21st century, the philosopher Žižek said that the Internet is giving rise to an illusion of “pseudo-participation” in the public sphere. People’s emotions, actions, and communication can be completed through a single screen. The satisfaction brought by this virtual action hinders the emergence of real action subjects.
The Internet has changed our way of life, and the virtual world is trying to replace the real world. “Next-day delivery” and “30-minute home delivery” are becoming more and more popular, but efficiency is king is also a double-edged sword. It allows us to enjoy convenience and efficiency, but also makes us lose the in-depth experience of physical life.
The review and word of mouth list determines which restaurant we will go to eat, the number of transactions on shopping websites determines which clothes we will buy, and the algorithm of information flow determines what kind of content we will read.
Where have you been nearby? Our needs haven’t changed, it’s the way we connect. The neighborhood has not disappeared, but has been transformed into the “nearby” of various software big data. When life is occupied by digital neighborhoods, we don’t bother to care about the physical neighborhoods, and we change from participants to bystanders. We believe in software more than another person, and collective life has become something we want to throw away, so while we complain about the lack of warmth and belonging in the city, we go home immediately after get off work and shut the door.
In the vicinity of digitization, time is cut into pieces. In the past, our time was a long stream of water, but now we pursue the pleasure of “instant”. We lose patience with waiting, we get angry because the delivery guy is 5 minutes late, and we give bad reviews to the seller because the clothes we bought are delivered 3 days later, we don’t have to build trust with them, so it’s hard to generate Empathy and reflection are also declining. Fragmentation of time and the pursuit of a sense of instantaneousness will bring about rapid ups and downs of emotions. People will suddenly be very angry with one thing but will soon be distracted by another event and turn to another emotion. Such emotions are too late to be transformed into thinking and action, and people become anxious and confused in this cycle.
If we don’t interact with the real world for a long time, it is difficult to develop the ability to empathize with those around us, and in such a situation, loneliness is increasing day by day.
Embrace the Real, Refactor the Nearby
The famous social psychologist Shirley Turkle once discussed the issue of “people and technology” with the audience in a speech entitled “Loneliness in the Social Age”. She believes that over-reliance on electronic products deviates from our original life circle. Real communication and dialogue are indispensable, and it is impossible for machines to replace human beings to bring true comfort and love to each other.
Talking face to face with others, we feel not only words, but also voices, movements, and emotions. Sometimes a smile or a hug can bring great comfort to people. Even the collisions and frictions in life, such as talking to the elder sister who sells vegetables because the loofah I bought is not fresh, and arguing with the neighbor downstairs about walking the dog, are all life-to-life exchanges.
True feelings must be attached to a specific person. The reason why the neighborhood is important is because the neighborhood is our most important people, parents, friends and neighbors. We can’t ignore these precious people for the sake of the distance; we have our lives nearby, and live a hot and steamy life. Our self-awareness and our understanding of the world are more reliable; ignoring proximity leaves us dangling our feet in loneliness, anxiety, and confusion.
There are cracks in everything, and that’s where the light comes in. And when the cracks of loneliness are torn open, what shines in is our longing for the neighborhood. How to refactor nearby? The world tends to be flat indefinitely. We are all deep participants in the dual life of online and offline. The distance and the nearby are not mutually exclusive. There is no need to oppose the two, but to establish a balance between the two.
We need to change our consciousness and re-understand the relationship between the individual and the collective, the near and the far. Emphasize the self, but the self is also the collective self. Don’t be too immersed in the dimensions of the self. We should not only read the news to understand the sufferings in the distance, but also stand at the moment and care about the joys and sorrows of the people around us.
Get actively involved in public life! Go to offline lectures, get together with like-minded people to listen to the world of others, and feel the collision of different thinking and experiences; go to organize community reading clubs, bring your favorite novels, and start a martial arts game with your neighbors Spiritual debate competition; join the industry committee, be a volunteer, run for the building manager, contribute to your community and your neighbors, and feel pride and happiness in altruism.
Pu Songling once said: “There are no happy things in the world, and no happy friends.” Rebuilding good interpersonal relationships is also the key to a happy life. In addition to chatting in the WeChat group, don’t forget to invite friends to your house regularly to have a drink; eat less takeout, go to the vegetable market on weekends, and compliment the boss’s newly permed hair; go to a nearby snack bar to sit down for breakfast , and chat with the boss about business and life.
Spend more time with your family, get to know and understand your family again. Learn more about firewood, rice, oil, salt, sour, sweet, bitter, and spicy. In the afterglow of the setting sun, I was arguing with my mother over whether to fry tomatoes first or fry eggs first.
Nearby is where we live, the way we come and the way back. Returning to the neighborhood is not to obliterate the distance, but to care about the distance and at the same time to play with the myriad aspects of microscopic life. On the side of the Tuojiang River in Fenghuang, there is Huang Yongyu’s handwriting on Shen Congwen’s tombstone: “A soldier either died in battle or returned to his hometown.” The green cursive script is unrestrained and unrestrained, showing a more poetic narrative of distance and close-up.