It seems that in recent years we have been going through one tragedy after another. The perception of the past is always sugarcoated but objectively since 2020 the world as a whole has changed, for the worse. Every day it seems that things are getting worse, in different areas: climate crisis, wars, attack on the international liberal order.
It may be my age advancing (45 next April), it may be that we have had some highly stressful times in our family this year, it may be that the level of suffering in the world is too great to be able to be processed, so for some time now, I’m not ashamed to say, I have been somewhat withdrawn. Sure, I follow the news and take an interest in the topics I care about most (like Taiwan), but I don’t feel the need to always expose everything, I don’t feel the need to deepen everything, I don’t feel the need to have a definite opinion. I have no solutions, I have no recipes, I follow what interests me and take note of the news. I have carried several such stupid ideas over the years that I honestly think the world can do without my indispensable opinion on the fact of the day.
I have found that I like to stay in my Small Place, both metaphorical and real. My metaphorical Small Place is that corner of the internet where I’m at peace, where I read interesting things about even irrelevant but beautiful things. It is that place where I spend a lot of time, for example, selecting the artwork I put up daily on Mastodon at @EastAsiaArt@istanza.ch (@arteastasia.ch is the version on Bluesky). My real Small Place is where I live. After twelve years here, I can say that the mountains that surround us have managed to make me feel protected. Living in the province, far from the centre, can be a disadvantage if one is not curious enough to expand one’s horizons. But if one is open-minded enough, one’s Small Place can be a great place. I like being here, I like reading the local news, I like having an opinion on the cheese festival, I like being involved in the small things of my small community. Bellinzona has about 43K inhabitants, the Canton of Ticino has about 350K. These are the numbers of Small Switzerland. In my Small Place I don’t feel isolated at all, I’m connected to the rest of the world but can be disconnected if I want. It is a wonderful luxury.
Mine is not disinterest in the affairs of the world but more a found interest in things that are good for me. I’m insignificant and, as a white heterosexual male in his 40s, it is time for me to mostly listen and learn.