Friday, September 29, 2006

Cultural Creativity

"Beauty is the moment of transition,
as if the form were just ready to flow
into other forms."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

On the island, we only give the last four digits of our phone numbers. Everyone is on the same exchange, so there is no need to mention the prefix. It is another little reminder that I live in a small community; one that sells the local paper every Thursday at the community hall, where pensioners sit in the sun and read about everything from the increase in property taxes to access to the walking tracks to global warming. If one were so inclined to create a new culture, blending a bit of the old and a bit of the new, an island would be a good place to start.

And don't think for one moment the desire is not there, simmering just below the surface of the
warm beaches, bustling tourism and expanding vineyards. Communities that care open frequent dialogues and look to be inclusive in their process. A diverse and changing demographic makes it a challenge worth pusuing, and one that becomes even more relevant.

It has been a long and chilly winter, and the remnants will still be felt now and again for the next few weeks; but the recent rays of warmth have given us a flush of longer days, and the beaches draw sun worshippers, kayakers, and walkers. The tubulence of the winter sea has given way to calm glassy conditions, with only the drone of an ocassional outboard motor and occupants busily pursuing their maritime pleasures. My neighbor tows his boat down our road with his tractor at the crack of dawn and again at dusk for quick forays out to his secret fishing spots. The local paradise duck family, split up over the winter when their brood flew away, have now re-united and 7 young ducklings waddle around the foreshore. And of course, the lushness of the native bush reveal a host of flora and fauna delivering their unique brand of colorful propagation frenzy each day.

Meanwhile in a parallel universe, those of us flirting with the digital world as well, continue to find all its fascinating opportunities and new developments most intriguing. It boggles this mind to read that a site on the web like YouTube, shows 30 million videos a day. The rise and rise of user generated content on the internet is a phenomena that shows no signs of slowing, and even now has become the new targe of hackers. I certainly have noticed a marked increase in the spam and phishing emails I get since I started blogging. However, that won't stop people from creating and sharing their words, photos, music and videos on the web. The social networking, games, blogs, and news sites all have one thing in common that makes it such a real revolution: they are all interactive. Apparently now, in the age of Web 2.0, those who use this medium for whatever purpose, overhwelmingly want to participate rather than just absorb. It is definitely the beginning of a new communication model, and one that, with all its possible dark sides, will eventuall prove to be a turning point for our cultures, just like the telephone and television, only far more powerful in its reach and impact.

Must get down to feed the ducks now. I am a bit sore from some heavy equipment operation this week, but the olives we planted will no doubt make their mark on the landscape soon, and provide oil in a few years as well. In the meantime, my salad garden needs attention, the trusty truck is off to a new owner, and a great Reggae band is here for the weekend. Wowsa.

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