What is community?

September 27, 2017

Community is a well used word and can refer to any group of people with some aspect in common.  However when people say they want to live in a community or want to have more community in their lives they are usually longing for a greater feeling of connection to others than they currently experience.  They are longing for a sense of connection with people, the sense of being part of a family or a tribe.  They want to have an ease with people where they are accepted for who they are, where they can make mistakes, be foolish and still be loved and respected.

Humans have developed complex language and have a significantly larger frontal lobe than other animals.  40% compared to the rest of the brain. As a consequence of all this brain and thought generated we need have needed to simplify and so we talk in a generic way of men, women, black, white etc. and have thus created many boxes or labels and while this has made communication easier it has made connection more difficult by creating false barriers and related beliefs and values.

What is observed is that these boxes allow us to judge and categorise people and it is common to choose who we hang out with, rather than seeing everyone as a unique individual and accepting them for that and learning what makes them tick. For me the number one aspect of creating community is being 100% inclusive.  This is obviously also the most challenging aspect and it does not mean you have to like everyone equally it just means that uniqueness is celebrated.

In 2016 when I was co-focalising the Anilio Centre in Greece we had the interesting situation of someone wanting to come that brought with them a lot of history.  One person in the core management team said if they come I will leave – what to do?  Actually I think we made the wrong choice as the person in question was told they were not welcome and then when they visited as a guest they came to circle and wanted to know why.  The art of not being offended had not stretched that far and so while gave them some of our reasons or stories those of us in the circle had actually not objected to them coming so it was messy and the person who had objected refused to join in.  Oh the pleasures of people living together!

Our uniqueness means we will always disagree with everyone else in any situation about at least one thing. It cannot be any other way if we feel safe enough to be honest.  Acceptance of this and of getting over the need to make others wrong or ourselves right is one of the aims of the many tools used to facilitate a sense of community.

 

It is probable that we are all on many spectrum of many acronyms and types of personality.  The increasing extremes of these diagnosis possibly an indication of our weakening health or our DNA responding when repairing our cells through trying different mutations how to handle each new environmental challenge.  In the last 100 years our bodies have had to deal with injections of mercury and other toxins, mercury in teeth, aluminium, cadmium and other heavy metals in materials we handle and inhale. More recently our exposure to radiation of micro-waves through wifi has gone from small to the experience these days in cities of constant multiple and high exposure.  We have a huge experiment happening across the globe.  Research growing cress close to Modems shows it cannot thrive. How are our bodies going to adapt and evolve without trying new mutations to enable survival of our species.

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