Community, connection, and conformity

Community, connection, and conformity.
This series is about the whole issue of working together with other people.
We clearly can’t do everything alone.
We can’t live a happy life alone.
And yet sometimes other people can be such a problem that we’d rather just be alone.
It’s this endless challenge that is such a central part of human life.
A lot of the way we look at things, we look at individual achievement, individually taking care of ourselves and making individual choices.
But we can never make choices that are entirely independent.
We’re always in this kind of a community situation.
And we have other people that depend on us, other people we depend on, even if it’s at the very minimum, just a few people that we are friends with, and we can ignore everybody else.
But it’s hard to really separate from the community around us.
It’s hard to take away our need for community in one way or another.
Even the most independent people still need to have this kind of community connection.
So how do we manage this conflict between making decisions for ourselves and being part of a larger community? There’s so many challenges involved with it.
Because you know, you can go the full team player route and just be part of a team and let other people guide you and just follow along, and then you can get full community immersion, you can get all your community needs met, but you better hope that it’s with the right community.
And if you’re not able to make choices for yourself, then you’re entirely at the mercy of the community, and the people around you get to make all those decisions and you just follow along.
So if you can end up in just the right community and be very lucky about it, then that can be good, but otherwise, you’re really just entirely defenceless, and whatever the community does you follow along with.
And that’s the extreme of conformity.
And it does solve the the community problem.
It solves the need for social connection, at least partly, but then it leaves us just at whatever the crowd wants to do, we’re stuck with.
So clearly, it’s not ideal to go in this full conformity mode, and we want to be able to assert our own will, make our own choices.
Because it’s not like the community is sort of all-knowing, and they know exactly what to do, and so I simply follow them.
Well, communities make mistakes all the time.
They can go in all kinds of bad directions.
So if we have any opinions for ourselves, any judgments about what we think is right and wrong, well, that’s up to us individually to make those judgments, and then it’s up to us to maybe make a decision that goes against the community.
But then we are going against that social cohesion, the social fabric, the social unit that we need to some degree.
And if we push too far, if we go against the grain to go against society too much, then we can be socially outcast, and society can turn its back on us, and we can be left isolated and weak.
So I think we all make this balance throughout our lives.
And as much as we can say, you know, ideally it seems like simply deciding what’s right and wrong and not being bent by the popular will, that seems like a good thing, and yet in reality, we all make concessions just to be able to get along, because we need to get along.
And so where do we fight for what we believe in, versus make the compromise, because community itself is something we believe in? So this is just an endless balancing act between these different forces.
But ultimately, the details of that aside, we do all need community, I believe.
And one of the main reasons I started this project is to build a community, to find and assemble community, to be a place where people can talk about these things.
People who are interested in these issues, people who are trying to live a more meaningful life, and people who want to help each other live better lives: that’s what this is here for.
And so with all the problems with community and conformity and social cohesion and all this, we also have some ability to make our own society, make our own community.
We can find the people that we get along with, the people that we have shared interests and values with, and then we can help each other.
And so that’s the biggest thing of all for me, is I just want to find a way to make this happen.
How can we help each other? How can we find ways to support and inspire each other for each of our lives? And this project is an attempt to begin that, and I wonder where it will go next.
So I’d love to hear your feedback from the community.

#community #connection #conformity

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