“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition”*…
The idea that American life is increasingly transient and uprooted is a myth: people are moving less, but worrying more.
In 1971, the great Carole King sang: ‘So far away/ Doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore?’ Thirty years later, the editors of The New York Times explained that families in the United States are changing because of ‘the ever-growing mobility of Americans’. And in 2010, a psychologist argued that ‘an increased rate of residential mobility played a role in the historical shift’ toward individualism. It’s a common US lament that human bonds are fraying because people are moving around more and more. Americans fear the fracturing of communities that constant moving seems to bring.
Yet when King sang, Americans had been moving around less and less for generations. That decline was even more obvious when the Times editorial appeared in 2001, and it has continued to decline through the 2010s. The increasingly mobile US is a myth that refuses to move on…
More on this widespread misapprehension– and what it means– in “The great settling down.”
* James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
As we tend the roots we’ve put down, we might recall that it was on this date in 1963 that we lost two greats of imaginative literature:
C.S. Lewis, the novelist The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and others), poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist (Mere Christianity).
And Aldous Huxley, the writer, novelist, philosopher best remembered for Brave New World.
Neither passing was much remarked at the time, as they happened on the same day as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.