The definition of true community we subscribe to is a celebration of human differences and the profound healing, communication, love and creation that comes from living in such an environment. It is a philosophy and an experience of living without judgment, expectations and the need to fix one another; true, genuine community is the art and practice of being who we truly are while we honor others doing the same. This creates an environment that specifically caters to fulfillment of primary human needs and is foundational to the emotional aspect of sustainability for the complete human experience.
RESEARCH ON TRUE COMMUNITY
Dr. M. Scott Peck did extensive research on the differences between traditional community and what he calls “true community” in his book “The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace.” In this book he identifies the following as the infrastructure and defining points of genuine community.
- Inclusivity, commitment and consensus: Members accept and embrace each other, celebrating their individuality and transcending their differences. They commit themselves to the effort and the people involved. They make decisions and reconcile their differences through consensus.
- Realism: Members bring together multiple perspectives to better understand the whole context of the situation. Decisions are more well-rounded and humble, rather than one-sided and arrogant.
- Contemplation: Members examine themselves. They are individually and collectively self-aware of the world outside themselves, the world inside themselves, and the relationship between the two.
- A safe place: Members allow others to share their vulnerability, heal themselves, and express who they truly are.
- A laboratory for personal disarmament: Members experientially discover the rules for peacemaking and embrace its virtues. They feel and express compassion and respect for each other as fellow human beings.
- A group that can fight gracefully: Members resolve conflicts with wisdom and grace. They listen and understand, respect each others’ gifts, accept each others’ limitations, celebrate their differences, bind each others’ wounds, and commit to a struggle together rather than against each other.
- A group of all leaders: Members harness the “flow of leadership” to make decisions and set a course of action. It is the spirit of community itself that leads and not any single individual.
- A spirit: The true spirit of community is the spirit of peace, love, wisdom and power. Members may view the source of this spirit as an outgrowth of the collective self or as the manifestation of a Higher Will.
COMMITMENT TO EMOTIONAL SUSTAINABILITY
Peck’s book is required reading for Community Members and we are committed to these emotional self-sustainability aspects of our community just as we are committed to physical self-sustainability. The freedom for people to exercise their rights of individuality, religious views, political views, sexual orientation, and diverse perspectives is celebrated because allowing others to feel free to be who they are is exactly what allows each of us to be free being who we are.