I stole the title from Dr. Robert Stolorow, in his piece on trauma and civilization in this publication. It speaks volumes to me about community. Another word that arises when I see that phrase is “connection.” Maybe even “sharing.” My wife and I are constantly trying to get our children to share, to get along, to be empathic towards one another. These happen developmentally, but it is still our job to guide our children in this direction. Our children, no matter what happens in our lives, will be siblings in the same darkness. They may fight and despise one another, but when it comes down to it, they will be there for one another and fight for one another. This is the type of community and civilization that we need. We don’t need to love each other all the time. We don’t need to agree on all accounts of politics, religion, and knitting, but we do need to fight for one another when needed. We need to share, not just our toys and resources, but our sense of being human.
When I thought of using this as a topic I wanted to focus on the fact that we are getting too far away from community. I am also curious as to what others think about how community is changing, transforming, and altering itself. We now have the internet and it has changed community in many ways. As silly as Facebook might be, it connects me to family far away, and colleagues I’ve never met that share a similar ideology. This has been paramount for me. So what we have always thought of as community-as-neighborhood might not be the only definition any longer. But I do wonder what the effect of headphones and texting has on our sense of community.
Then there is the sense of how we share in each other’s hurt, how we incorporate different ways of being in the world, and how we “get along.” Robert Stolorow addresses the need for empathy and human connection in ‘Empathic Civilization’ in an Age of Trauma. Things do seem very ungrounded in our contemporary society and this leads to a need for safety and connection in the arms of another. My good friend, and author, Shawn Smucker addresses the reality we all face when we must set aside our reality for the sake of our friends in Dying For Your Friends. It is this type of sacrifice that begets love in community.
Lastly, I am showcasing two family members in this publication: my father and one of my brothers. Both men are named David, and both were asked to contribute without knowing the other was asked – they both addressed the idea of solitude in community. My father, Dave McCarty, wrote about an epiphany in Embracing my Introversion realizing he was an introvert after 59 years of striving toward extravert perfection. My brother, David T. McCarty, wrote about his spiritual and communal experience of surfing, an endeavor that brings a mixture of solitude and connection all at the same time. My brother’s piece, The Shared Experience of Solitude, also ends in a beautiful video showcasing an event celebrating the life of a surfer who died of cancer. Please watch!
There is much more to say about community. Probably too big a topic for one publication. I hope you can enjoy the focus that these authors brought to the topic of community.
Note: The photo in the above slider attached to Dr. Stolorow’s article was borrowed from the following site, here.
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