john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Knowing our place

    BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 23 February 2005

    We get told these days that it doesn't matter where we live, because we're in a networked society. We can do our work from anywhere, our mobile phones mean that we're always connected.

    Strikes me as interesting then, that most of the conversations we have on our mobiles involve us telling the other person where we are.

    "I'm on the bus", "I'm outside the office" - location is still important to us after all.

    Indeed, it seems that our supposedly free and independent lifestyles do not satisfy our need to be somewhere. Even the most networked people can experience the sense of being lost, displaced, and homeless.

    "The yearning to belong somewhere, to have a home, to be in a safe place, is a deep and moving pursuit," one writer has said. It's experienced by people from all sectors of society. Without this, anyone can feel very dislocated.

    The loft apartments in Liverpool city centre, for instance, are luxurious but sometimes quite isolated places. So it is interesting to hear that groups of tenants living in some apartments are starting to form associations. The need for community, the need to know our place and share it with others, is natural, good, and very strong.

    For places offer us meaning, continuity and identity. Much as we're seduced by the idea of escape and detachment, however networked we are, however independent we like to be, it seems that we probably still need to know our place.