I have always been taken with the notion of place. Home. Homeland. Country. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. By virtue of birth alone, part of identity is affixed. At least temporarily. It is always possible to expatriate oneself; but can the adopted nation ever truly compare to the reflexive embrace of one's motherland?
Perhaps it is easier to seek a different identity in the virtual world. There, appearance is malleable, and identity is controlled. Forget the false clarion call for liberty and fraternity in the face of obvious material inequity. Where is the freedom in economic impoverishment? In being the less valued race or less preferred gender? Is there freedom in being judged too old (or too young, too ugly, or too fat) to be of use?
Sure, the online world is all surface. But, this aspect of post-modernity is a great potential force: a potential democratizing juggernaut. It is an opportunity to be seized. I don't believe in waxing poetic about days gone by when people talked face to face, and therefore, supposedly enjoyed better relationships and a better sense of community. (Did these halcyon days ever exist?)
Living in a post-modern metropolis, it is easy to be overwhelmed sometimes by a certain sense of post-modern alienation. Yet sometimes I find the dislocation exciting and even liberating. The few bonds that tie me down are bonds I've voluntarily chosen. The possibilities are endless.