After hearing reports that Sydney was in the middle of the worst flu season in its history, I began wondering about the way we live together, interact with one another and exist in this city. What I began to witness the more I observe the way we, in this city live, was the total lack of shared experience.
Sydney appears utterly devoid of any shared experience. Now what do I mean when I say “shared experience”, you ask? To answer this question I must first explain the opposite of “shared experience”, “self experience”. Self experience is traveling through life absorbed deeply within ones own past, present and future. It’s saying nothing, despite being on a crowded bus, it’s watching TV in a room full of people, and saying nothing and it’s listening to the radio when in a car filled with people, and saying nothing.
Humans are social creatures and yet, we seem totally unable to share the most common of life’s experiences with one another. The daily commute to work brings us next to one another everyday, and yet we say nothing, share nothing, give nothing and receive nothing. Too absorbed in the rush to our infinitely more important jobs, we miss the opportunities given to us everyday to fulfill our basic social nature. Its no wonder that so many of us feel like our lives are dominated by our work. It’s the only time we allow ourselves to interact with others outside of the small collective of pre-established relationships we all have. Our work dominates not just the time in our lives, but also the way we interact with each other.
A city that deprives its inhabitants of their natural social behaviors can be nothing more then a cage. We live in this cage saying nothing, and yet longing for everything. It seems enviable, that locked away in this cage, the only thing we now manage to share is the flu.