Re: Cohousing and Televison: a Classic Clash of Values
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 07:56:05 -0700 (MST)
>  "Cohousing is
> schmoozing-- that's what it's all about."  If indeed, the purpose of
> cohousing is to INCREASE social engagement, and television tends to
> DECREASE social engagement, then it seems that these are two entities that
> are on a collision course with one another.

What is the quality of social interaction if people prefer television to the
interaction? What value does television bring to life that was missing
before? Are all social interactions meaningful? Is schmoozing inherently
good? Productive? Life affirming?

Because of television we have a much greater understanding of people who are
not like us -- people who do not live across the street or invite us to
their houses. We are less bound by local prejudices and freer to make
individual choices. We have greater access to information at a much lower
cost. One does not have to be in the top 3% of income levels and make the
European Tour to know something of European life and peoples, for example.
Without television would the Berlin wall have fallen? Would China be a more
open or a less open society? What would we know of Afghanistan women?

While I love living in cohousing I am anything but a schmoozer -- and was
not before there was television either (remember books?). While my social
interactions have increased and I value those, I'm not convinced that most
meetings are a productive use of time or space. Certainly not more
productive than what I choose to watch on television.

The Amish are an excellent example of the sharp edge of information
restriction. "Close-knit" is a two edge sword. It keeps knowledge in and it
keeps knowledge out. Gangs are terribly social.

The issue is not access to television but how television is perceived and

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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