So what is a community? Why do we seek it out? Why do we spend all this energy cultivating it? Why do we need it?
Well, I believe a community is a collection of people or things with a relationship to one another; usually with the aspiration of being greater than the sum of its parts. Two people can form a community, a very intimate one, albeit. And one person alone can have a community of the mind or of passion or of achievement – by collecting and experiencing art, literature, and sport.
When we are born we rely on our family, our first community to provide for us, to keep us alive. We are dependent.
As we grow, our independence grows, too, and I think as adults we have a hard time balancing that desire and pride in providing for oneself, in achieving goals without the assistance of others and yet allowing ourselves to find those on whom we can depend. Why should we? Especially in this day and age of technology and superstores we ought to be self-sufficient, yes?
That need of others is still there, sometimes deep within. And the fact is, we are stronger in numbers. Emotionally, physically, and mentally we grow more in relation to our experiences, and the more people, activities, and geography we include in our communities, the more experience we cultivate, the stronger we become.
I say “more” but I mean it qualitatively as well as quantitatively. A man might visit all seven continents in a year while another has spent a lifetime studying in minute detail the 10 square miles surrounding his home – who has seen more of the world? I leave it to you to decide for yourself.
This begins to explain why we seek out and cultivate communities, and I’ve begun to speak of several definitions of what a community might include.
But what about you? Why do you seek out a community? Do you seek one out at all? How do you define it? What do you include in it? Please, let me know, I’m curious to hear what others think on this.