WHAT HOLDS A COMMUNITY TOGETHER?

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Chapter of the book: The Sacred Matrix

Photo: Youth group at a building site in Tamera

After a hundred years of failed community experiments since Monte Verità in Ascona (which also failed), one is justified in asking: What holds a community together, what stops it from failing, and how is its power increased?

First of all it needs a strong idea, a concept, or a goal, which is more than a personal desire for contact and a feeling of home. Some examples would be building a peace garden, establishing a children’s republic, a school of transformation, an encompassing energy project, an art centre, a media and communication centre, etc. The more its concept corresponds to an objective necessity, the more it will be supported by the universe.

Secondly, it needs good methods to deal with human conflict. It needs a mental-spiritual concept, which remains effective even when human relationships threaten to break down.

Third, it needs a few responsible people, who have the strength to stand up for the community idea even when many things go wrong. It needs an unusually strong staying power.

Fourth, it does not need any top dogs or territorial thinking; instead, it needs cooperation among those who have taken on the main responsibility. A prerequisite for the creation of any community that has taken on a larger task is a permanent circle of responsible people, without secret competition for power and position.

Fifth, it needs a clear infrastructure. Every member should know their place and their task. Like every organ in the body, every person has a special function within the whole. Once a certain size has been reached, it is important to have a precise division of labour and a clear assignment of leadership functions.

Sixth, it needs a leadership structure that is free of domination, consisting of persons who are natural authorities, because they have the corresponding human and professional abilities, and because they have the group’s trust. The character of these persons must be so mature that they do not misuse their position for self-interest and power. People with the old power structure are not suitable to function as leaders, even when they themselves immediately want to take on leadership roles. Future communities should neither have an authoritarian nor an anti-authoritarian basis.

Seventh, it needs the professionalism of their members. For the whole to develop, it needs a direction and a will that is not influenced by the momentary feelings and moods of the members. Freaks and hippies were often quite nice people, but they could not create functioning communities.

Eighth, in order for trust to grow, all important processes and decisions must be transparent. Especially in the areas of sex, love, authority and power, money, and economy, it is necessary to create transparency using suitable methods (such as self-expression or forum) and clear communication. Otherwise, the community will soon fall victim to hidden conflicts.

Ninth, it needs sexual vitality and liveliness. It will otherwise become rigid, ideological, or boring. In the past, communities either fell apart because of the Eros or else they suppressed it. Community and Eros were two opposing concepts. In reality, a free and honest Eros can only develop on a communitarian basis. For this to occur, the normal hindrances must be overcome in an appropriate way.

Tenth, it needs the re-commitment to the human basic values of neighbourly love, hospitality, trust, and mutual support. It needs the connection with the issues of humanity of our times and with the universal source of life. The more general human validity and meaning it has, the more power it will receive. The task then grows, the will strengthens, and new possibilities become visible. Behind every project – be it a peace garden, an art or a technological centre – there is a life concept, which becomes more encompassing the longer we work.

And last not least, it needs authentic songs, feasts, and rituals. For every community that develops and grows in a healthy way there comes a time when it celebrates its own feasts and finds its own rituals. This is when thankfulness and celebration naturally transform to a festive form of life. Suddenly the community finds songs of its own, its own icons, mantras, and signs that focus its power and joy of life. At some point, every community of the future will begin each day with a kind of joint celebration.

4 thoughts on “WHAT HOLDS A COMMUNITY TOGETHER?

  1. Idea – there is enough money, food and water on the planet.

    Thank you for your interest in my/our thoughts.

    Sincerely,

    About Creativity ( online name )

  2. Please read:

    COMMUNITY BUILDING STAGES
    One of the foremost authorities, researchers, and authors on the topic of Community building is Dr. M. Scott Peck. In his book, “The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace,” he identified 4 clear stages to successful building of True Community. We call this “Community” with a capital “C” and these are the four stages Dr. Peck outlined:
    Pseudocommunity: This is a stage where people pretend to have a balanced and open friendship with one another, and cover up their differences, by acting as if the differences do not exist. Pretending differences don’t exist, and pseudocommunity, can never directly lead to True Community; so the goal is to maintain open communication and a commitment to celebrating diversity so people can spend as little time as possible in this “pretend” stage of community.
    Chaos: When pseudocommunity fails to work, the members start falling upon each other, giving vent to their mutual disagreements and differences. This is a period of chaos. It is a time when the people in the community realize that differences cannot simply be ignored. Chaos looks counterproductive but it is the first genuine step towards Community building.
    Emptiness: After chaos comes emptiness. At this stage, the people learn to empty themselves of those ego related factors that are preventing their entry into Community. Emptiness is a tough step because it involves the death of a part of the individual (ego). But, Peck argues, this death paves the way for the birth of a new creature, the Community.
    True Community: Having worked through emptiness, the people in Community are in complete empathy with one another. There is a great level of tacit understanding. People are able to relate to each other’s feelings. Discussions, even when heated, never get sour, and motives are not questioned.
    This is why we are committed to True Community. It is the place where people shine the brightest and the most profound healing and growth emanate.
    “In genuine community there are no sides. It is not always easy, but by the time they reach community the members have learned how to give up cliques and factions. They have learned how to listen to each other and how not to reject each other. Sometimes consensus in community is reached with miraculous rapidity. But at other times it is arrived at only after lengthy struggle. Just because it is a safe place does not mean community is a place without conflict. It is, however, a place where conflict can be resolved without physical or emotional bloodshed and with wisdom as well as grace. A community is a group that can fight gracefully.” ~ M. Scott Peck
    MAINTAINING TRUE COMMUNITY
    Maintaining Community means recognizing that Community building is a socioemotional development process with specific stages, and committing to go through those stages as necessary to return to Genuine Community. This process becomes easier and more fluid each time as stages of pseudo community and chaos become more recognizable and undesirable with time spent in Genuine/True Community. Even more profound is that with time, while the issues that can cause a True Community to slip back into chaos become more and more complex, the rewards of higher states of consciousness and deeper connection are also greater and greater.
    “It is like falling in love. When they enter community, people in a very real sense do fall in love with one another en masse. They not only feel like touching and hugging each other, they feel like hugging everyone all at once. During the highest moments the energy level is supernatural. It is ecstatic.” ~ M. Scott Peck

    I wanted to share this (above) with your ( Dieter Duhm ) community, Sincerely About Creativity.

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