Last time I have asked you not to do charity anymore, as it prevents us from having a real solution, but I truly hope no one listened to me. (at least that is one hope with a good chance to come true…)
Of course we still need to do charity, until that utopia of mutual help and support actually comes, and it will, sooner than later. We still have to think charitable thoughts and donate when we can.
But what I am asking is to be smart about it. Efficient. Beneficial for all sides and for the long run.
And the first concept I want to bring here, is one that is running around the world for a couple of years already, and seems to be too simple and clear to be just a buzz word, a trend, a green coat of words over nothing.
The concept is social localization. Or local socialization, up to you. And it is a concept that sprung up in the brainstorms of the alter-globalization movement. Well, lets face it , the alter-globalization movement is actually anti-globalization. They thought it sounds more PC . we are not anti, we are alternative. Fine with me. Be a pussy if you want, we will take care of these details later once we get started.
And this is exactly what social localization means, instead of looking outwards into that immense structural chaos they try to convince us is a "village" why don’t we look at our own real village.
We lament and cry about troubles in the other side of the world, but neglect to see the suffering and problems we have in our back yard, and the simple help we can give to the people who are around us, our almost immediate circle of supporting actors in this play of life.
A friend asked me to recommend an orphanage to donate the income of a party she is having soon. A nice hi-so party which can gather a modest, but still serious sum that would be directed to some charity or another.
After I gave her a couple of contacts to the wonderful people who run and work these orphanages here in Thailand I made a suggestion.
Maybe, instead of sending money somewhere, they will look for what help can they give right here. Under their nose. Maybe the cleaning lady is struggling to pay her daughters college fees and a small tuition fund can change both of their lives? Maybe the guy that brings in the water bottles every week can't pay for the medicine for his mother? There are so many stories out there, and even in the lives of our friends and relatives, that are too private or just not sensational enough to get the help they deserve.
Without being cynical I will use this example, a person who is hit by a truck in the village square, and has no money to pay for the hospital bill, will find it relatively easy to arrange some kind of public support and donation. A person who has a non-terminal disease that keeps him in bed all day without being able to get money for food and rent will have to rely on one or two kind hearted people, maybe relatives maybe old time neighbors to support him for months until he recovers. Why is one case different from the other? The impact of the story.
Maybe it is time we knew more of the stories in the lives of the people around us? Get more involved? And I am not talking about gossip and talking behind people's backs. I am talking real involvement.
I am sure some of you remember the days when if someone for example, was accepted to a very high level university, when he came back home with the test results the whole block would rejoice. Suddenly neighbors come in with some cake, people dropping by to congratulate, to share the happiness. As they also share the sorrows.
We have lost all that in our blind sprint to the future, chasing the global, the universal, the subatomic, the nanotechnology, communicating with quasi-friends we will never meet in other places of the globe, without actually exchanging any useful information that might enrich either side of the chat in any way.
We need to go back to the nuclei. To the core. Global communities are made of smaller communities who in turn are made of even smaller communities, to the fractals of our social life, down to the neighbor level.
The official slogan of the ecological fight is "think globally, act locally". You can't change the ozone layer over new-Zeeland, but you can help with recycling and education for healthier habits in your own town. Your own neighborhood.
It is time to take the same formula, and apply it to our social life as well.
Look around you. There is SO much to do, the only question is where to start.
My answer? Right Here.
Hello. My name is Boaz.
Nice to finally meet you.
cup of tea?