In Common Community

Communities are as much about inclusion as exclusion. Via links of commonality we form our communities, but how similar are we to our commune neighbors? Often we use single factors to establish our community: religious belief, racial makeup or financial status, while complex, are far too vague to symbolize commonality. Many of our communities are made up of incredible diversity, variances in perspectives that leave us linked by only minor features and vulnerable to disagreements.

How do we decide what determines community? At what point does a trait become important enough to determine human relationships? Security is the common factor in all relationships and by extension all communities. We group with others for our own benefit. Clustered we are more secure and protected from factors that could destroy the individual. Strength in numbers comes as we can gather more food, utilize diverse skills or simply exist as a larger mass of humanity. The benefits of community come not only in the ability to gather and do more but also just exist as a cluster larger than another. Significant power comes simply from larger mass.

Assume we cluster and begin to function as a united entity. How successful this “we” are becomes dependent not on the strength of our bond but in our ability to navigate our differences. Links are not comprehensive and we will certainly be less similar than we are similar. What really matters in determining our success is the strength of our connection and desire for the greater good of the whole. Herein lies the role of sacrifice and risk: in order to reach a level of success higher than we might as a lone actor we cluster together, absorb the risk in doing so in order to achieve something more. This is community and the high risk/ high reward at play in all potential bonds.

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