Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Seeking communities

By Paul Born

"The Seeking Community is organizing around three themes: enjoy each other, care for one another, and work together for a better world. To enjoy each other is build the social capital and resilience between us. The premise of social capital is that resilient relationships are the glue that binds us. If we know each other well enough and enjoy each other’s company, we will be more likely to look out for one another and care about their well-being.

When mutual acts of caring happen, you will most often find a deep sense of belonging. There seems to be a connection between giving and receiving, caring and feeling cared for. Jeremy Rifkin’s book The Empathic Civilization has inspired us greatly. As humans, our ability to share in another’s plight connects us. Empathy is innate and natural.

To combat our fear, we can simply gather with others to first make sense of the worry and secondly, to work together to improve the condition. However, we do not want to organize against others and to allow our fear to drive our response. Instead, we want to unite our altruistic intentions, a process we call collective altruism to better the conditions around us. The joy of working together for a better world in this way opens us not only to others but to each other.

We all have many communities in our lives and that we have a choice about how deep or shallow our experiences of community are. Living in a neighbourhood means you live in a community. Waving to your neighbour as you drive into your garage may be all the community you want—this is a shallow experience. On the other hand, inviting your neighbours to join together with you and each other in friendship is a deeper experience. Community, I say, is not an option, but the experience you choose is."