Vonnegut and intimacy
From: Kevin Day (daykeviksg1.harvard.edu)
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 08:30:50 -0600
>
>This brings to mind a quote from Kurt Vonnegut along the lines of:
>
>"We all evolved in communities where everyone we met on a daily basis
>was someone we were *related* to. That explains why modern urban
>life makes us so crazy..."
>
I couldn't help but chime in with my own favorite Vonnegut quote when I saw
this posted by John.

"Human beings need all the relatives they can get."

from SLAPSTICK (or Lonesome No More!)

I thought it was a very cohousing sentiment, and reiterates what John was
getting at.  And not only don't we have relatives around us, but we have
largely lost many avenues for interaction with our neighbors (due to
suburban design and the rise of dual-earner families).  I think the
cohousing movement reflects a public mood that has really started to mourn
the lost sense of community.  But with housing mobility down in the last
couple decades, and greater emphasis on local governance, I really see the
possibility that the trend away from community may finally be starting to
reverse.  Too bad cohousing seems to be such a difficult and painful
process, at least for some people (I may be biased because I've been talking
recently with people whose efforts had failed).  Here's hoping that the
public sector realizes the benefits of cohousing and can eliminate some of
those obstacles - I know many are working on that, including myself, and
maybe we'll succeed and give everyone as many relatives as they could want!

(By the way, I highly recommend the book, if you don't mind a bit of wacked
out sci-fi humor with a communitarian bent.)

Kevin W. Day
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
daykevi [at] ksg.harvard.edu

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