Community Belonging

Many who talk of community talk about “belonging”, which is a sense of shared identity, a feeling of acceptance and perhaps understanding. You can go along to a party and for a brief moment have a feeling of “community”, but then you have to go back home – where is the community then? Do you have to wait until the next event appears on the calendar? That’s been my experience in many Neopagan groups, where likeminded people get together outside of their normal routine, have a great time discussing “meaningful” things, doing rituals, attending camps and workshops, but then they have to go back to our normal routing – the bills won’t pay themselves, will they?

But this belonging doesn’t often sustain itself beyond the events that produces it, there is no commitment beyond that feeling of “belonging”, whatever that may be. Which conveniently stops short of conflict appearing, which invariably happens in community. You go along for a weekend camp, get the benefits of “good feeling” which you can take back to work with you and not have to face the possibility of conflict, and perhaps that is why some many “communities” don’t develop beyond a sort of Sunday Christian phenomenon, because they don’t want to face the conflict that lies behind the “good times”.

Sustainable community takes more than a weekend of “belonging”, it involves facing conflict and working through it, coming to a consensus, and cooperation and compromise that sometimes mean putting aside personal interests, and commitment to a project that doesn’t rely on personal interests alone.

The theme of “co” is no accident, and if there was no “co”, then community wouldn’t be(long). 🙂

Synergy

This concept is such a wonderful concept. Put simply the effects are more than the sum of components in a way that reductionism cannot account for.

The properties of water cannot be predicted by neatly looking at the properties of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen and then adding those properties together, water is something completely new and different from its component parts; when we study the earth’s geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere as distinct from one another then the activities of the whole cannot be fully understood; when people consciously cooperate with each other the creativity that is produced is more than all the creativity they can create separately.

It is creativity that generates creativty and thus takes on a life of its own. It cannot be seen by pure reductionist thinking but only by a holistic vision of things.