Saturday, December 15, 2012


Another paradox that requires a delicate balance exists between individualism and communalism. Oftentimes, people overemphasize one over the other. Some cultures promote a sort of rugged individualism that denies the social nature of humans, while others who champion altruistic community, neglect the fact that if people fail to put themselves first, no member of the community will be strong enough to contribute to it.

Speaking of community, the modern vernacular of this term has morphed into a concept synonymous with a simple group of individuals. Yet, according to its roots (and another book by M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace), it is much more than what we think of it. It is actually a notion that revolves around sharing and involves openness, vulnerability, honesty, trust, acceptance, tolerance, and diversity, as well as - and potentially most importantly - respect. A true community will have respect for all that is shared in common - which is by far more than the ways in which participants differ - and respect for the fact that each participant has a right to their differences.

Communitas supports the individuals in it by respecting their similarities as well as their differences; it supports diversity, appreciates participants for who they are, and helps them be the best that they can be, while not seeking to conform them into some version of what we think they ought to be.

I have experienced this miracle in fleeting moments, and I hope to see more of it more often :)

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