The return of the village

It occurs to me that back in the old days, when we all lived in villages, everybody knew everybody's business. All their business. The bad thing about this was that there was an undercurrent of shame — or at least the fear of shame — to everybody's daily lives. You did what was expected, because there was nowhere to hide. (I grew up in a very small town, and while it wasn't exactly like living in a village of olde, it was still pretty claustrophobic that way.)

The good thing, though, was that people had a sense of responsibility. They knew their actions had consequences. They knew that the rules and the shame were there to put the brakes on rampant selfishness and sociopathic behavior. You felt bad, you bloody got over it. You didn't run away from your responsibilities, or act out in hurtful and destructive ways, just because things got tough.

I just noticed some photos up on Facebook from a particular party I'd been to. I was in a couple of them. Nobody asked if they could post a photo of me. Just...there they were. If I had been doing anything stupid, there it would be, irrevocably, passed from screen to screen to screen with a few careless clicks, searchable to anyone who knew my name. Bad news? Invasion of privacy, culture of shame reborn? People living in persistent pain because they find the thought of getting help humiliating? Or good news — the rebirth of responsibility with the fall of anomymity?


At 11:45 AM, Blogger Satima Flavell said...

There should be a FB rule that you can't tag people in photos - they should only be allowed to do it themselves. That would save at least some embarrassment!

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Houston Dunleavy said...

*Rushes to Laura's FB profile to see if there is anything embarrassing* ;)

Of course, you can always untag, though, as is often on the internet, the damage may already have been done. There was a TV commercial last year wishing to advertise the speed of Telstra that featured this very thing - how quickly everyone could see someone in an embarrassing photo before they could take it down.

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Houston Dunleavy said...

Whew! All good on FB ;-)


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