It seems like almost everyone I know is struggling with lack of community these days—either they don’t have it or they do and it’s particularly poor. Why is that?
Community is not an afterthought to our schedules and commitments, it's the foundation that makes those things possible with strength.
It makes me think of the tribes throughout the world where people primarily interact with the same people everyday, day after day. And those people are the people you work and live around.
In modern societies, however, people are—at increasing rates—moving to cities. Cities are wonderful for many ways, but when you pack thousands and millions of people in small spaces and when we start to work far from where we live, we end up coming across thousands and tens-of-thousands of people every day. Whereby it’s truly difficult to know those people, because (as it’s said) we’re wired to be only truly close with a handful of people and that we can only really know around 100 people.
What happens when you’re passing 10 times that many people on your way to work every day, whether in your car, on your bike, walking, or in public transportation? We MUST learn to not feel so strongly about each person we come across. We simply can’t take the work load. It’s impossible. It’s not a matter of want, it’s a matter of capacity. And so we begin to desensitize ourselves against all the people we come across.
We no longer feel full empathy or care for all those people. In a sense, we kinda even forget that they are people. And we continue on our way.
Community is not an afterthought to our schedules and commitments, it’s the foundation that makes those things possible with strength. It’s not for the extra remnants of time we have, but for our dedicated time.
It’s not easy. It’s difficult. Allocating time to be around people…being regularly near them. It’s not utopia, it’s obligation…but it leads to incredible things.
Moreover—without it, we suffer.
With it, we flourish.
This article was originally written and shared on Native Purpose