Gale Batchelder is a poet and founder of New Leadership Group, an executive search company that specializes in working with non-profit organizations. We met for dinner at the West Side Lounge in Cambridge.
How will we live tomorrow?
“I want to dissect the question, debate the relevance of every word. It’s my nature to take things apart. I’m so concerned about the fracturing going on in our society. Is it from the Internet? Reality TV? Where is mutual respect? Where are manners? I feel like an old person saying this, but how did we evolve to letting it all hang out, to being vulgar as a matter of right?
“I don’t see how we are going to hold together; maybe we shouldn’t. Let’s just let the two coasts become one country, the middle could form its own nation, and the South should just go. We are such a new country – two hundred years is nothing in the span of history. We have been a bold experiment about individualism but maybe it has run its course. Everyone being different is not strong enough glue to cohere us.
I mention to Gale that I plan to visit intentional communities throughout my travels.
“When we think about intentional communities our first impression is that they’re good. But are they? The United States has always had intentional communities, from the pilgrims to MOVE. They thrive at each end of the political and economic spectrum. Immigrants cluster together when they arrive. They seek out the support of others with similar culture, language and customs as they get their bearings. But the affluent form intentional communities as well, that’s what gated communities are all about. Where is the line between a community that provides support to its members and a community that divides and excludes?
“I don’t know. I wish I could be more positive when I think about tomorrow. But I can’t.”