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Communities for Belonging

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We cannot “create” communities: the word suggests a sudden appearance and/or a force of will. But we can develop them, recognizing that communities are temporary, always changing. Scott Peck has some excellent, specific advice for how to live in a world community in his 1989 book, “The Different Drum.”

To belong to the community of everything, we must learn to be authentic and empathetic, willing to embrace what seems similar and familiar, as well as what is different and strange. We also need to cultivate humility, taking our place alongside all the other creatures. Also, the rich must actually give up considerable of their wealth and power to those who are now oppressed. All this is not easy in a world where philosophy and spirituality have got lost in favor of the politics of rampant capitalism and human dominance.

I suspect that the bulk of the human population do not think of themselves as “members of global societies.” There are still a lot of people that merely exist as best they can, in squalid conditions and with little thought about how to connect to the “living community.” However, many of these people are in fact an important part of that “living community” just because they live very simply, help each other as they can, and find pleasures in life without wasting a lot of resources.

“Communities to which we can all belong” may not be a matter of thinking about it as much as a matter of living into it.  Those who already do that can invite others to come along.

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