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Cloistered Nuns. Cloistered Workers.

There’s a Carmelite monastery on the edge of a cliff above Mission Valley just a quarter-mile from my former home in Normal Heights. I’ve walked to the monastery many times with family and friends to see their well-groomed gardens. You used to be able to ring a doorbell to summon one of the sisters, who would remain unseen while she gave you a key by putting it on a shelf in a rotating chamber. The key would circle to your side of the wall and you could let yourself into the church.

Shutting yourself off from the view of the world may seem strange to the spiritually undeveloped. But it’s not so different from what we’re all doing in our tech-based, motorized world.

The car, the phone, the TV and their many high-tech cousins have made us very much like cloistered ascetics who forswear life in society. We meet each other less and less as the car has replaced the trolley and the wide-screened TV has begun to replace the movie theater. An Internet connection may be our only social link to the outside world. Being a blogger, I guess I shouldn’t talk.

Consider telecommuters. They may be a good thing since they don’t waste space and they don’t waste gas. Look a little closer and you realize telecommuting depends on two modern trends: The large house and the small family. It’s hard to imagine how you could concentrate on a work project if you don’t have a room of your own and are constantly interrupted by the noisy demands of children.

We’ve got all these home PCs and I supposed they should be put to constructive use. But heading off to work is one of the few remaining activities that gets us out of the house. What happens when even that goes away?

Will we devolve into some other creature as our social skills atrophy? Will we develop over-sized butts and long fingers and learn to reproduce without any sexual contact? At least the nuns don’t have to worry about that. My advice is we need to get out more. Sunny San Diego is an absurd place to develop Vitamin D deficiency.

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