Checkin' out some good perspectives on community, I discovered a collection of essays by Wendell Berry, it introduced some new ideas to me, and clarified others.
Goods and services are being mass-produced in one place, and transported to where they are needed, leading to a global economy. This separates the people and places producing from those consuming, replacing a natural cycle with an artificial one, money being the representation for the energy exchanged. There are some negative side effects that come from this process. When those who produce do not consume that which they produce, there is a loss of interest in the integrity of goods and services created. When those who consume are not associated with the production, there is a loss of appreciation for the integrity of those items produced. Not a loss of expectation for a certain value, but an ignorance of what really went into that product: the land, families, and community which made it possible for such an item to exist. Neither the consumer nor the producer is at fault in this equation. Both produce something and receive money with which to consume what they need to survive.
Is this what life is about? Existing? No. Life is about appreciating existence.
There is more, including some solutions. But right now I have a potluck to prepare for.