COMMUNITY: WHAT IS IT?
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WHAT IS COMMUNITY?
“Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
What does community mean, and what does community do? At the base, community is about relationships, so it is never static and has infinite expressions. What makes for a healthy community, and what makes for a dysfunctional community? Let me share a few simple thoughts and opinions on this very broad topic.
On a micro level, we may say community is essentially a family that lives together since there is a continual exchange of emotions and energies. How each relates to each other impacts the collective, even if only two or three are involved.
As Thomas Edison noted, even the cells in our body are a community, where 70 trillion cells all do their part to keep us alive and stave off attacks by innumerable invasions by viruses and diseases. They do this despite all of the fears we conjure that debilitate and interfere with our body, even while it does its best to serve us with what is highest and best to maintain our health. It’s a good thing they all work together and remain intuitively entangled with every other cell in the body, such that they all work cooperatively. That is an optimal community.
Out of our skin, however, things get a bit dicey when it comes to sustaining a harmonious community. That’s because the ego has a way of promoting itself over everyone else’s interests unleashing the forces of fragmentation, disintegration and destruction. It is in service to self rather than service to others. Community can’t exist without mutual service to one another. Yes, the ego has its place but must be subordinate to the law of love that seeks to bind the whole in perfect cooperation.
By analogy, love may be considered the centripetal, inward directing force, while the separate ego is centrifugal, flying away from the centre since it remains separate and alienated rather than integrative and cooperative. The ego does not care for relationships unless they serve it; rather than it serving others. It is essentially self-absorbed and tends towards narcissistic behaviour.
With this basic and perhaps simplistic philosophical understanding of what underlies community, we may look at examples of what supports its cohesion and what leads to its destruction.
On a macro scale, the world constitutes one large collective of smaller collectives of nations, cities, villages, communes, eco-villages, kibitzes, churches, schools, sports and hobby interests governed in various fashions, though not always by consensus. Many of us belong to several collectives, laterally and hierarchically as communities within communities.
Ideally, we may say that community exists to support its members, but what about those who don’t exist within its circle? Is everyone else excluded? Inwardly looking can lead to fear, pride and animosity toward those on the outsider as enemies since they don’t share the same values. It’s common for the collective ego to become entrenched in their myopia based on culture, race, tradition, language, etc., by disregarding the legitimacy of other histories and perspectives.
Religious wars throughout the ages are infamous for this, as are factions of opposing politics. Communities united in fear and hate won’t survive in the long run. They can’t because they are diseased with inherent entropy. If their cohesion is based on ‘them and us; they are tainted with fear and hostility and are not sustainable, no more than the USSR and Third Reich could survive.
Therefore, a community can provide a sense of belonging, but it can also be hazardous when it has sufficient resources to annihilate its perceived enemies. Communism and fascism are only recent examples of military tyranny that have subjected much of the world’s population in the name of ‘community.’
To avoid descending into this travesty, the human race must freely act, not selfishly but cooperatively, if it wishes to be happy and content. On the other hand, a community can find strength and security in defending itself against hostile aggression from without. Nevertheless, this, too, is conflict, contrary to what a community is supposed to look like in peaceful harmony.
Many might see this situation as impossible to resolve, but only as long as the collective human consciousness remains unevolved. See How Conscious are you?
When a critical mass of heightened spiritual awareness occurs, humanity may move into a new era of Christ Consciousness, or as some may say, the Age of Aquarius, where divine transcendence prevails. Will there ever be heaven on earth? I don’t know… let’s find out. But how?
When we come down to it, communities are based on a touchy-feely thing of the heart. Where there is love, there is integration… the glue of the universe. Where love is absent, the ego phantom dominates like darkness from light. As within each of us, a healthy community requires a unified mind and heart.
All the dynamics of communities cooperating as a more inclusive global commune are based on mutual respect for diversity. The mind is not to be trusted since it is inherently judgmental. Yet, in service to the heart, that being the portal to the soul’s divine essence, the unified heart and mind can usher in the new Millenium, literally or figuratively, as preferred.
See Union of Heart and Mind https://digitalbloggers.com/book-reviews/union-of-heart-and-mind
On an individual basis, what happens when you feel no community supports or reflects your values and affections? Rather than feel alienated and alone because we're not, It's our responsibility and choice to find your gang.
I use the word ‘gang’ intentionally for a reason. Several decades ago, while I was involved in the Student’s Union at my university, I attended a conference in Washington state where one of the speakers was an off-beat but fascinating character by the name of Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney, Jr.) For detail on him, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wavy_Gravy
He was a hippy before there were hippies and remained true to his ideals. I’ve always remembered him saying, ‘get your gang together.’ He was right; rather than sulk in loneliness, we need to get our gang together to identify with those we shared ideals and passions. And so Wavy Gravy did, setting a new trend, complete with creatively painted VW buses spreading his happy tidings of a carefree bohemian lifestyle of love and peace.
Now, “getting your gang together” is easier than ever with social media. Meet-Up groups are one of many such means to find others who share your passion and create community, be it for a month, a year or a lifetime.
In conclusion, here are the lyrics to an old classic that captures some of these sentiments.
The Youngbloods, 1966
Love is but a song to sing
Fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us her.
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment's sunlight
Fading in the grass Come on people now
If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
QUOTES ON COMMUNITY
The topic of community is a vast area from a sociological, psychological, political, and spiritual perspective; I have hardly touched the surface. The following quotes, however, provide some scope to how broad this topic is and how many books could be written on some of these paths of thought.
We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race. Cicero
This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Dwight D. Eisenhower
The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members
Coretta Scott King
... our purpose in founding our state was not to promote the happiness of a single class, but, so far as possible, of the whole community. Our idea was that we were most likely to justice in such a community, and so be able to decide the question we are trying to answer. We are therefore at the moment trying to construct what we think is a happy community by securing the happiness not of a select minority, but of a whole. Plato
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Martin Luther King
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. Mother Teresa
The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. Mitch Albom
The key to the happy life, it seems, is the good life: a life with sustained relationships, challenging work, and connections to community. Paul Bloom
A true community is not just about being geographically close to someone or part of the same social web network. It's about feeling connected and responsible for what happens. Humanity is our ultimate community, and everyone plays a crucial role. Yehuda Berg
The body is a community made up of its innumerable cells or inhabitants. Thomas A. Edison
We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community. Dorothy Day
Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness. It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. Kurt Vonnegut
One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing. Jean Vanier
If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear. Gene Roddenberry
One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone. Shannon L. Alder
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia
For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other. Millard Fuller
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. George Bernard Shaw
But many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape. Bell Hooks
Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite. Jean Vanier
Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 8:20
SUMMARY OF ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE NOVEL SERIES
This is a series of seven Elysium Passager novels regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips, who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.
After experiencing a near-fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding of life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed or could believe.
An engaging and sometimes surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality, and our ultimate destiny.
The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of adventures.
To read a sample press review at https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/05/prweb15515775.htm
ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: READER REVIEWS
The following comments are excerpts from among the first readers, including a number of Amazon five star reviews. To read the full reviews, go to READER REVIEWS on www.elysiumspassage.com or directly at https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/reader-reviews
"A delightful mix of fantasy, reality, conjecture, and humour; Mr Meyers draws the reader into the story with a gentle narrative that captures the imagination, leaving one anxious to get to the next page drawing you into his exceptional world.”
"Quietly, gently, and without imposition, the Author unfolds the pages, creating an intricate, interlocking bridge spanning the chasm between mind and heart. Renewing, refreshing, restoring. In my bereavement, it was vigil and light…."
“Excellently written with an exceedingly deep understanding of this world and the next. The characters are very well written and engaging. I can't wait to complete this book!"
“Takes the reader on both a philosophical and spiritual journey, a journey that at times is both disquieting and tranquil. James, a British Philosopher, can be irreverent and caustic, traits that should have left me cringing but instead made me laugh out loud. Elysium’s Passage is a fun, enlightening and remarkable book.”
“This is a masterful fantasy, becoming a real possibility, as the reader is drawn into the story. The Summit leaves you anxious for the next book in the series, yet also leaves you totally satisfied with the world you have just visited. Genius! An exciting yet calming experience that is not to be missed."
"There was hardly a page on which I did not find at least one sentence worthy of hi-lighting for future reference. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, James, whose personality and passionate verbal exchanges with the other characters kept me coming back for more. I am reading the book for a second time while I wait for the next one in this series to be made available."
“N.G. Meyers has clearly put a great deal of research and thought into what the afterlife may look like, and I like his perspective. It’s an altogether welcoming and exciting vision. The book gives one a great deal to think about and a reassuring confidence that the end of our lives is truly the beginning of life in the next. I highly recommend it."
"I am really enjoying your book, it’s fantastic! It is so incredible and diversified that I can’t really explain it to other people, so what I say is just read this book. Thank you so much for the blessings that you’ve given the world!"
“The humour interjected into a serious discussion makes me laugh out loud. Totally unexpected....l may be in the presence of at least a master, if not a genius. A fair ride into reality... seeking that which is unseen, yet absolutely real.”
“An engaging story of adventure embracing man's deepest desire to search for meaning and purpose, N.G. Meyers takes the reader on an adventurous, thought-provoking journey. This book has substance. It is a perfect blend of adventure and fantasy combined with spiritual philosophy. It ignited my imagination. The author magically weaves a good story laced with wit and humour together with deep philosophical wisdom. This book has it all!”
“An evolution in thought is triggered by many fresh philosophical themes which could inspire readers to re-think their reality and former ideologies that have dictated their lives… the author fires readers’ imaginations to view what could be possible when spirit vacates the body.”
“This is the book spiritual seekers have been waiting for. For me, it granted a great read as well as increased inspiration to live every day with a heightened sense of purpose. I highly recommend it.
“The Summit is capable of hooking readers and luring them to search for Book 2 to discover more about Dr Philip’s surreal trek into the mysterious unknown universe. This thick book is well worth the read and to share…”
“Mind-blowing statements and speculation (‘…everyone is a non-physical thought form conceived in the Mind of God, preserved for all eternity because God’s thoughts never die…’). Many will find Meyers’ journey up the Mountain intriguing—and possibly even life-changing.” (BLUEINK REVIEW)
“In its effort to grapple with fundamental questions about the meaning of life, it raises questions that have echoed throughout the ages, including about where we come from, where we are going, who we are.” (CLARION REVIEW)
PENDING PUBLICATIONS IN THE SERIES
The following titles in the Elysium's Passage series are projected to be released as follows:
THE ASCENT summer 2022 now available on this blog site
THE SUMMIT winter 2022
QUANTUM LEAPS spring 2023
SURREAL ADVENTURES summer 2023
MYSTICAL ROMANCE fall 2023
HE ELIXIR spring 202
THE RETURN sometime in 2024/25
CONTACT INFORMATION & SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/neil.meyers.1 or www.facebook.com/elysiumspassage/
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YouTube: Elysium Passage Channel
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