Communities and Stories are the greatest technologies ever invented
J. Westenberg 🌈

In a Perfect World, Maybe . . .

Great tech? Sure. But then there’s reality to consider.

“And it’s been this way ever since we first realised that we were warmer, safer, stronger, bolder and more likely to survive together rather than apart.”

“Stories are how we’ve passed down our knowledge through the ages, from year to year, discovery to discovery.”

Family: the Original Community

This is an uplifting commentary and the responses seem to share your optimism. Please forgive me for inserting a bit of pessimism here.

Yes, I agree that local communities are, for the most part, supportive but even they require a homogeneous population. You mentioned the homeless hero in Manchester. I contend that it wasn’t until he proved his worth that the greater community recognized him as anything more than an annoyance.

“There was a lot of homeless people that stayed there and helped and that’s what we done.”
Steve Jones, Manchester’s Homeless Hero (image and imbedded caption courtesy of:

This is an excerpt from the interview that brought Steve Jones, the homeless hero, to prominence:

There was a lot of homeless people that stayed there and helped and that’s what we done. And obviously when we seen children like that with blood… having to pull nails and stuff out of their arms — ”

The notoriety that interview garnered Mr. Jones resulted in a life changing windfall for the man. So far he’s received an apartment rent free for six months, food, and new clothes. Two crowdfunding campaigns have raised a total of $85,000 on his behalf. All this for the one man who happened to get interviewed by the media.

The problem with that? Why only him? What about the other homeless people he mentions in the interview? And, if $85K can be raised in just a few days for one man, why is it so difficult to find funding for a shelter for multiple men, women, and children? Where is the community spirit then?

So, yes, community is important, it can and does offer benefits to its members but woe to those don’t “fit in”: the minorities, the disenfranchised, the marginalized.

Regarding the importance of stories, I want to believe that the ones that are passed down are true and reflect the best a community has to offer. But in today’s social and political climate, I’m not so certain. In a country where Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is on the Arkansas legislative docket to be banned from public schools and has already been banned in Tuscan, AZ as part of its overall ban on Mexican American Studies; where Black Facebook users are banned because of their use of racist terms while white supremacists and members of the alt right movement aren’t despite their use of racist rhetoric (@ The DiDi Delgado); and, yes, in a country where right wing speakers are prevented from appearing at our colleges and universities out of fear for their safety, I cannot help but wonder whose stories will survive . . . or if any will at all.