Perhaps the best way to understand our lack of social inheritance is to start at the end. I mean the real end. Where do you plan on being buried? Oh, that kind of stuff gives most people the jitters. But I’m not selling insurance. I really want you to ask yourself; where do you want your final resting place to be?
If like most of us you have moved long gone from where you started, that might not be as strange a question as you might first think. There used to be things like family plots. Everyone was there; Uncle’s aunts, grandparents and great grandparents. You could find the whole family history there. It was where the living could go to see their roots. Trace the dates of descendents arriving and departing. How hard would it be for you to do that today? I’m guessing pretty hard.
In, Why We Hate Us, Dick Meyer tells us that some colleges are building special burial vault rooms. Where Alumni can come back and be buried. It was for some the best times of their lives and heading back to the old Alma Mata is just what they would like. Others of us are having our ashes spread across the country in favorite places we enjoyed as adults. It might be a bit hard to find your roots when you go looking for Uncle Ed, when you discover his ashes are spread over Lake Eire, where he loved to fish!
Point being, there won’t be anywhere to contact Ed, or his roots. Ed won’t be buried next to his wife Hanna with clearly marked stones three feet from Grandma Kate who died in 23’. And you thought trying to trace your family tree was hard now. In some cases in less than a generation a lot of the family history will be gone.
Social inheritance & Social capital all revolve around social. Not trying to be morose or flippant. If you have no history and you don’t know where you came from or what went into you getting where you are today; you can’t help but feel alone. And alone means a lot. It’s not the way things are suppose to be. No wonder we are at times, as I stated before we feel as if we are standing on shifting sands.
Aha, so where do we go from here? My suggestion is to call a family member and see how much you two can put together about what links you together. Then begin to build on that with a neighbor. How connected are they? There is an idea out there that states that we are all connected by only six degrees of separation. The idea being that I know someone who knows someone and in only six people that fifth someone will know you. One soon learns that none of us are ever all alone; and that is a great place to start.
I hope you enjoyed this forum of posts about community and social inheritance as much as I did. It’s a subject I shall come back to because after all, an online community is great place to start a conversation you want to see get out to a lot of people; and don’t forget, there is no idea greater than an idea whose time has come!