Physical distance does a lot. If it’s small it forces interaction. If it’s large it allows for ignorance. Today, our connected nature allows for the feeling of close proximity, and indeed events across the world affect us all. But our connections are mediated. We are not connected because we are physically close, and this makes a huge difference.
Close proximity forces issues. We all have to deal with our neighbors to some extent. It also forces relationship. If we’re always around people, we inevitably get to know them.
But what if proximity is disallowed? What if we can’t get close to the people we are supposed to relate to?
They become distant, figments of our mediated imagination. Whatever we are told about them becomes true. Even whatever we try to learn about them is essentially second hand knowledge.
If we actually desire truth and reconciliation we must recognize its not going to happen while we’re negotiating with each other from across tablets and walls. We need to walk with each other – to see each other’s lives – to at least have the opportunity to encounter the commonness among us.