Thoughts on Community (fwd)
From: Cohousing-L listmgr (fholsonmtn.org)
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 11:01:07 -0500
Hal Mead, Secretary, Chicago Cohousing Network h-mead [at] nwu.edu
is the author of the message below but due to a problem it was posted 
by the Fred the list manager: owner-cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org
********************  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS ***********************

Here are some thoughts I would like to share with other cohousers (and
anyone else).
I read The Small Community in 1984 (originally published in 1942 by Arthur E.
Morgan). The ideas expressed in this book are profound and  have changed my
life. I probably would not be involved in cohousing if I had not read it.
(The Small Community is still in print).

Hal Mead, Secretary, Chicago Cohousing Network

                      THOUGHTS ON COMMUNITY*

ORGANIZED SOCIETY GROWS OUT OF COMMUNITY AND CAN THRIVE ONLY SO LONG AS THE
SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY PERVADES AND VITALIZES IT.

As a pile of lumber, nails, and paint is not a house, so just a collection
of people is not a community (though many people use the term in this way).
True community results less from formal organization than from common
traditions, culture, and outlook. It is an orchestra, with which each
member plays their part, often improvising, but with an overall harmonizing
result. In relatively impersonal city life a person may work with one
group, study with another, dwell with still another, yet share life deeply
with none. In true community many activities are shared with same people.
This unified living results in deeper social roots and more unified
personalities.

A person is not a normal social organism by themselves, but only in
relationship with others. People live best in integrated groups of limited
size. They crave community life, not simply social life. The impulse to
create and participate in community life is so deep seated and so strong
that where it finds no opportunity for expression, grave injury to
personality may follow. 

The greatest of all social aims is that of developing the qualities of
character and intelligence which will lead each person of their own
volition to play that part which is best for society as whole. Such an
attitude would vastly
simplify the process of social adjustment.

ENLIGHTENED CHARACTER IS A UNIVERSAL SOLVENT TO SOCIAL EVILS.

The roots of culture are not in fine arts, technology, and political
institutions. These are the flower and the fruit. The roots of culture are
underlying drives, motives, habits, and purposes. It these are socially
sound and vitally alive in good social soil, then the fruit will appear. If
these underlying elements are unrefined, weak, then the fine arts, the
technology, and complex organization can not long endure.

IN THE LONG RUN THE BASIC CULTURE OF HUMAN SOCIETY CAN MAINTAIN ITSELF AT
NO HIGHER A LEVEL THAN THE CULTURE OF THE SMALL COMMUNITY. YET THE SMALL
COMMUNITY HAS BEEN NEGLECTED, EXPLOITED, AND DESPISED, WHILE SOCIETY HAS
PAID A VERY HIGH PRICE FOR THIS NEGLECT. TODAY SOCIETY IS DISSOLVING ITS
CELL AND TISSUE WALLS AND AS A RESULT IS LOSING THE POWER TO PRESERVE AND
TRANSMIT ITS BASIC CULTURE.

Should people of serious purpose realize the extent to which the local
community is the seed bed of civilization, the source of basic character
and culture, as well as the medium for their preservation and transmission,
then, within their communities, they would be sowing  the seeds and
cultivating the growth of a better future. 

*From  The Small Community by Arthur E. Morgan-- edited by Hal Mead

Cohousing is creating these communities now!


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