Vol. I No. 06 10/18/2020
Spare the Change
A reader asked: Why do some newcomers want to change the Berkshires? Apparently the first time the question was posed was in a letter to the editor during the Gilded Age. A local resident asked, why if they like it enough to move here, do new arrivals try to change the Berkshires after they arrive?
Over the decades, either no one gave an answer, or no one gave a satisfactory answer. In either case, folks asked the same question ever since. Here is a possible answer to add to the mix. Perhaps no more accurate but hopefully no less interesting.
"Only the fish doesn't know he is swimming in water."
Some credit an old Chinese proverb, some credit anonymous, and others credit writer David Foster Wallace for this aphorism. According to Wallace, the point is: "a huge percentage of the stuff I tend to be automatically certain of is totally wrong." According to Will Joel Freedman, PhD, the point is "what is taken for granted is not easy to see". That is, your constant surroundings are hard to perceive and even harder to properly evaluate. What does that have to do with newcomers to the Berkshires wanting to change the Berkshires?
They come from very different areas. Ones more densely populated with many more businesses, services and resources; the increased number is a function of denser population. They were born and always lived in these more urban areas. That is their water. They begin, without reflection, to replicate what they knew. The familiar seems not just appealing but necessary.
There is another aphorism, no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. So, sadly, by their coming some folks undo what drew them.