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Reblogged:Study: Desire for Privacy Alive and Well

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Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. -- Ayn Rand

The following headline from the Drudge Report caught my eye this morning: "Average Person Hasn't Spoken to Neighbors in 3 Weeks -- But Regularly Bash [sic] Them Online."

The above quote by Ayn Rand immediately came to mind, although not because I have anything in particular against any of my neighbors. They all seem like mostly decent people: I just don't have a whole lot in common with them. We're on good terms but mostly keep to ourselves.

The head of the company conducting the research says at the end, "It feels like there's a real appetite to connect with neighbors and our local communities, even if those moments can sometimes lead to passive-aggressive conversations."

Really? Judge for yourself:
While 10 percent miss the community friendliness they experienced during COVID lockdowns, only one in five believe community spirit is alive and well where they live. Another 14 percent would like to be better friends with their neighbors. Just over one in 10 would like to get to know people living nearby more but are unsure how to go about doing so.

In contrast, 43 percent have made an effort to chat with a neighbor about another local resident's behavior. Some of the most common annoyances adults have with their neighbors include inappropriate parking (24%) and loud music (22%). Another 21 percent are irritated by loudly barking dogs, and 16 percent are bothered by overly loud house parties in nearby homes. One in 10 can't stand their neighbor's messy home exterior, such as having garbage lying around, according to the OnePoll data.
We didn't "lock down" for long in Florida, but the pandemic did kill off the occasional neighborhood parties some of the more outgoing people would throw. I miss that, but not enough to kick off anything like it myself.

But back to those numbers. Let's put aside what we're "supposed to" want them to say, and interpret them more realistically. Less than a third of us are Facebook "friends" with neighbors, and that's the highest level of participation for any social media channel. (And social media is far inferior to personal interaction for the purpose of establishing a meaningful relationship.)

90% of people sound like they're good and done with the forced intimacy of "lockdowns." 85% of people are fine with the level of friendship with the people who happen to live next door. About 90% of people don't feel a strong need to get to know their neighbors better.

The rest of the numbers are about a different matter, and make me appreciate both the fact that we have an HOA and the fact that my neighbors all seem to understand and value peace and quiet: For example, the only reason I know my next-door neighbor owns a large, loud, and aggressive breed of dog is that I've seen him and his wife out walking it a few times. Good on them for not letting their dog be my problem!

This is me appreciating good neighbors -- whose habits and activities are so different from mine that we'll probably always be just good neighbors. But I've lived in less-than-ideal neighborhoods, too, and if anything, found I wanted more privacy then than I had.

Tom Lehrer parodies idyllic memories of small-town America in "My Home Town."
I can go out to meet people of my own choice and on my own terms -- or choose not to. That is a wonderful, unappreciated thing that is worth more thought than the vague nostalgia for that Rose-Tinted Small Town of Yesteryear we're all supposed to yearn for, but which I am not too sure has ever really existed.

-- CAV

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