Question: Sociologists state that human beings are social creatures, their need to be a part of a community or a society is basic and fundamental. Lately, the structure of communities underwent multiple crises that made it almost impossible to imagine what community life should be and what it means to be a member of a community, and to what extent communities influence individuals. What should community life be at this time in your opinion?
Answer: Throughout all of history, people were born and lived in communities. Communities were people’s homes, families, and replaced the entire world! It was so in Africa, Asia, and Europe. A community was a small village or a tribe, i.e., some kind of environment that constantly enveloped them with warmth and care.
This attitude people experienced came not only from their parents. It was a part of everybody and everybody belonged to one; there was not much difference between community members, no competition, those who were greater or smaller. However, further advancement was based on the evolution of egoism. As it expanded, egoism increasingly distanced people from each other.
This is the reason why normal community life deteriorated: Some people grew richer than others, some poorer; some fared better, some worse; some were stronger, some weaker.
Lately, our egoism has grown exponentially. At this time, we are experiencing “a leap” that is comparable only to the outburst of egoism in ancient Babylon. Until recently, we still had some community life together within the boundaries of our countries or cities. Medieval towns erected walls around their territories. They had to strengthen their connection to resist external enemies.
At this time, there is nothing like that: I live in my apartment and hide from everybody trying to be completely independent. I don’t even know my neighbors; there is nothing that connects me with them.
In the morning I go out of my apartment with my kids, put them in the car, and take them to a kindergarten or a school. In the evening I bring my children back home; they go to their rooms, close the doors, and most of the time they do not even share dinner with me. This is how our life goes.
At the same time, our overall dependency on nature squeezes and forces us to connect stronger than ever. On our part, we resist this process and tend to break the borders from the inside. These two developmental tendencies create a phenomenon we call a crisis.
Due to globalism, we can provide everybody with essential things. However, none of us really wants to stay connected with others. Thus, our desire to live a good life turns into affliction.
It’s common knowledge that communities have influence over public suppliers, service firms, etc. If we lived in a small town, we would be able to do numerous good things for other residents.
We would set up rigid prices for food manufacturers and vendors as well as for those who sell electricity, gas, and water. The prices would depend solely on us since we would be major buyers. So, we would be the ones who were entitled to demand and set pricing.
If we created one or multiple communities in the contemporary environment, we would compete with the egoistic capitalist approach that tends to take everything from us, wanting to take advantage of us with unconcealed aggression and cynicism. Our current situation allows us to choose whom to address in order to organize our lives the best possible way.
Things can be arranged in a way that communities will be the ones who are in charge of organizing their lives. It means that they won’t hire service or law enforcement firms; rather, they will create them anew. However, the first thing people should do is to establish a closer connection between them so that their unity shapes them in accordance with global nature. It’s not an easy task to achieve.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 10/8/14