As I write this post, I do so on a hand held smart phone. It’s not hard to see in our digital world how easy it is to pontificate, to bully, to offer opinions and ideas, to tell others what they should be doing when we know nothing about them, to judge others. I see it all the time on every blog and forum. We talk big about forming community and how important it is to do so, but I wonder how many of us are actually doing it. And, in full disclosure, I do it to; I’m as much a sinner as anyone one else.
What‘s the hold up? Are we too busy? Does our significant other not share the same concerns? Do we not want strangers in our house? Are we unsure about how to go about it? How do we find these others with like minds and spirits? Are we embarrassed, thinking others will think we are strange or crazy? Do we think our home is inadequate in some way? Are we insecure about speaking in front of others? Being challenged On our viewpoints and ideas? Do we not have the power to break away from our own inertia of habits, social isolation, social conditioning, and hyper individuality? I’m guessing for each of us it’s a million different reasons
For myself, I’ve had several ideas: starting a gardening group, a cooking group, starting a home rosary prayer group, a progressive dinner club. None of these say preppers only apply. But, each opens a door to gather folks together that starts with a foundation of folks who just might share similar values regardless of political persuasion. I’ve noticed that gardeners and canners share many wholesome values even if they are Republicans or Democrats. I find the same similar high value character traits among religious people whether they are bleeding heart liberals or more conservative in nature.
Community isn’t about finding people that are carbon copies of ourselves, but people who have the capacity to care for others; to put others alongside themselves. To be there for others when others are in need. To be givers not just takers.
In our increasingly selfish, narcissistic, winner take all society, it is getting tough to find high value people, but they are out there. Just look at Canada. The media would have you believe that Canada was completely lost to the narrative of the managerial class that you’ll own nothing and be happy while you sacrifice your life, your children and your freedoms to the State. Oopsie! Not so fast. Viva la Canada, and Trudeau runs and hides from working class truckers who have no weapons except maybe their fists.
By the way, I didn’t start any of those ideas for groups. I’m moving. Maybe I’ll try again when I’m settled into the place I’m going.
Peace and Love — Br Tom.
I was looking over the Forum and wanted to reply to this great post again Tom. This is CD. You know we created NRS as a means for personal therapy, showcase our resilience, hopefully inspire some folks, and potentially find like minded ones to share our land with. I do not know if this last part is remotely feasible in the current system. I find people have way to much baggage they do not want to deal with which would negatively impact any chance of people working together. The deliberate denial of the importance of mental health is pretty eye opening. Then we have a pervasive culture of narcissism that really hinders any progress in community formation. I know CM has differing opinions on this subject than I do. Having said that, we both believe it's important to build important life skills, obsess about food production, and let the rest of the pieces of community fall into place. I also believe that if it's meant to be, He will bring the right people around to make it happen. All we can do is keep building resilience in our own lives and He will take care of the other parts.
Hi Br. Tom,
What a beautiful and equally thought provoking piece! I feel it is cheap to say yes to all your questions considering the breath of this post. Perhaps we are all prey to the divisive powers of our social manipulation. These powers try to convince us we are alone, that we can only be with clones of ourselves, and then there is the cultivated narcissism that follows.
As you are suggesting, the organic growth of community appears to be the only authentic way to truly form these critical networks. The digital is no substitute for the authentic when it comes to forming honest to God connections. Still, when someone is isolated, the online connections are a positive step in the right direction. There will always be positive and negative feedback amongst people no matter the cause and that is okay. For us, it is a learning experience, to workout our emotional intelligence and spirituality muscles. Like you said, we are all sinners doing the best we can.
Personally, I couldn't agree more with the gardening group experience. No matter the background, there is something special about connecting with plants that dismantle barriers between previously antagonistic groups. Highlighting those passions can really make a great difference in building community.
Your post comes at a great time as I was listening to Charles Hugh Smith on SilverDoctors yesterday. Charles was saying that if you do not feel comfortable with the people in one area it is better to move. You can not change the community but you can change your location. In Permaculture, Bill Mollison, instructs us to go where we are wanted, plant a tree where it will grow. This aligns with what you are doing.
Perhaps forcing community is not the best course to take! The natural development of community is the only authentic way forward. Creating a space for that to facilitate that-exchange ideas, be challenged, be creative, inspire change is what we are attempting to accomplish with NRS.
As iron sharpens iron we always enjoy your thought provoking posts. We look forward to hearing more about your new place as you get settled in and the new networks that you and your partner will be cultivating!