This article sent to me by a friend, prompted this response from me:
Good article. Came at a poignant time for me, as I am
also reading Naomi Klein's No Logo. Both raise the same
question in my head. Is the alternative vision somewhat
Luddite and anti-technology? Is poverty inherent to a
technologically advanced society? Because
anti-corporate, anti-globalization arguments, though
not explicitly, tend to point in that direction. Not
that I am saying that is bad. I remember reading Thomas
Jefferson saying that for a society to remain good, it
had to remain primarily agrarian. But is that true??
I dunno. Just my questions. I am sure the Naomi-goddess
will make everything clear by the end of the book....
And then today I came across Joel Mowchenko's blog. Uh huh, just what I figured, let's take it back to the land people...
Of course, being in Japan, it might be finding some land that proves to be the tricky part...
Coming from a Mennonite heritage, I can see where at times withdrawl from the world goes to such an extreme of non-engagement that the community ceases to have any relevance to the world, or influence therein. But I can really see where such a community, if linked to some sort of community venture going on within an urban centre, could be really redemptive (salvific even!!). Two short weeks in urban Japan are reminding me of the extent to which the city is a glorification of man and all his conquests. And my hunch is that isolation in such an environment eventually does some sort of violence to the spirit (there is something about the massive, though obnoxiously loud and despairingly plastic game arcades here that drives this point home to me).
So Joel, hurrah for your venture into rural community. And though I know I don't know you from a hole in the ground, my advice would be don't forget the poor in the cities...