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Copyright © 1997, Jay Ligda.  All rights reserved.  Published by Humans in the Universe and Jay Ligda.

Community

      It takes more than simply a church, a neighborhood, a fraternity, or a club to create true community.  Real community exists where the individuals involved can communicate with true honesty with each other.  In current situations, communities are made up of individuals that are afraid to be honest about their thoughts and feelings with each other.  This is due to a lack of honest and understanding support.  A reason individuals fail to grow in awareness is from the lack of support.  The presence of true community is the cure for a lack of support. 

      In his book The Different Drum, Scott Peck outlines the factors that make a group a community.  The first is that it is a group of all leaders instead of one leader or no leaders at all.  All the members are responsible for the direction of the group, and decisions are made by consensus.  The second is inclusivity.  Groups that exclude people do so because they are afraid their ideas will be challenged.  In these cases groups are "actually defense bastions against community" (61).  Real communities cherish the differences of opinion, therefore, they transcend the fear created by differences.  And so the group creates an atmosphere in which the members feel safe to be their selves without the fear of being open, vulnerable or afraid.  "It takes a great deal of work for a group of strangers to achieve the safety of true community," says Peck, and once they do they know they are in an environment where they "will be listened to and accepted for themselves, years and years of pent-up frustration and hurt and guilt and grief come pouring out" (67).

     Community not only provides the support that can help us develop human values, but it also creates a powerful decision making body.  Because all its members participate as leaders, there is no one dominant opinion.  Because of the amount of honesty, the group does not fall victim to "group think," where members adopt the opinion that they feel would be accepted by the group.  This diversity enables a wide range of options to be explored before a decision is reached.  The result is a more complete and realistic solution to problems.  This phenomena of more powerful solutions being reached by a group is known as synergy.

by Jay Ligda

(This work is a all or part of an original work first published/written for Humboldt State University, I.T. 492:  Senior Project., May1991.)


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References

  • Peck, S. (1987).  The Different Drum:  Community Making and Peace.  New York, NY:  Simon & Schuster.

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