Over the past 6 months my life circumstances have changed dramatically. Last spring my wife got a new job in Minneapolis. Crookston was no longer going to be our full-time home. For me though, this wasn’t going to be a straightforward move. Now, as the Fall is upon us I tell people that Debra moved to Minneapolis and I’ve moved to the stratosphere. Like the people I read about who live and work in multiple locations, I find myself dispersed, a denizen of more than one place. My view has shifted, and a View from Nowhere is also a View from Everywhere.
I’m still getting used to my new life. But what I also realize is that my somewhat disembodied reality is more and more the norm in our globalized world. When I was in Crookston this past Sunday I talked to half a dozen people who, like me, would be traveling to the Twin Cities within the week for some work or family event. On every plane flight I sit next to someone who works in multiple locations, and two out of 11 students in a seminar I was teaching last week introduced themselves as living in more than one place.
Wendell Berry, the great writer and theologian of place, often decries the lack of a stable place that defines our modern world. He rightly points out the need for and value of stability; how our concern for a particular place is often in proportion to how invested we are in that place. All these things are true.
And something new is obviously happening to humanity. Rather than millions of stable entities who reside in one location, the human population is becoming like so many electrons buzzing around the wires of our worldwide transportation system interacting in both the material world and the world of virtual reality: the computer and the smartphone. Yesterday, even though I was in one part of Minnesota I had 6 meetings with people all over the state: all via the internet. We are becoming omnipresent, existing along both the material and non-material planes of reality.
Those of us involved with the spiritual life make the claim that God is everywhere, inhabiting all places and no place at the same time. This claim is amazing and seems impossible in the face of our normal experience. Yet this dispersion is happening to the human species. We can be almost anywhere at any given moment.
In this second edition of my blog I hope to share my experiences, thoughts, and observations from this new version of A View from Nowhere. Come join me - anywhere!