Rick Wamre: Facing each other makes it more difficult to run away

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Circle up

By the time you read this article, we will either be just days from, or days following, one of the greatest migrations in human history.

All of the millions of people on social media who have promised to move to Canada if their presidential candidate loses should be getting ready to cross the border right about now.

What will this mean for the rest of us?

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I guess things will be more peaceful here, and we’ll have more room to stretch out. I suppose our traffic problems will diminish, since so many cars will no longer be on our roads.

Who knows: Maybe the Trinity Toll Road will finally be deemed unnecessary since there will be no need for a Downtown bypass route anymore.

Surely, social media will become the place of bonding and peace we thought it would be when we started spilling our secrets to each other so many years ago. And the government will begin operating efficiently, too, and we’ll all be proud of it again …

Yeah, right.

Let’s try this again.

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In church the other day, the pastor spun his sermon around this phrase: “We need to live in circles rather than rows.”

His contention is that when people attend church, they’re typically sitting in rows, and they’re listening but not personally interacting with the pastor or each other.

There’s nothing wrong with living in rows: It’s efficient, and it tends to maximize space utilization since straight lines are easier to pack in as opposed to circles.

But when we’re sitting in rows, it’s harder to interact with each other. We can speak with one or two people at a time, but everyone must twist uncomfortably to engage in lengthy conversation. So typically we don’t. We just sit there, facing forward, fairly oblivious of what’s happening to our left and right.

Compare that with a circular setting: We sit facing each other, and whether we like it or not, interaction is more immediate and almost inevitable. When you’re staring right at someone, it’s hard not to get a better understanding of what she or he is thinking, and it’s hard for that person not to see our perspective more easily, too.

In rows, we can speak past each other. In circles, that’s just about impossible.

In rows, our individual perspective can become isolating, and sometimes it can seem a lot more reasoned and reasonable than it really is. In circles, it’s easier for others to speak directly to our concerns, and it’s easier for us to understand their concerns, too.

In this country, thanks to social media and its unending gulping of our time, we tend to live in rows. That’s why so many people think it’s OK to talk about leaving the country if things don’t go their way.

Somehow, we need to figure out a way to circle-up and take another shot at this thing.

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