We often hear about the importance of community and people’s need to belong and connect with something. But what does community mean to us? How important is it to our individual lives? And what is community? Community means connection through shared experience. It means being part of something much bigger than yourself. Community gives you meaning, purpose and power to be yourself, think of yourself as bigger than your possessions and know your influence. Community is about connections. It’s about connection through shared experience, through shared interests and passions and through shared problems. Community teaches you to understand other people, to learn from them and to rely on them. It teaches you to appreciate people around you and to appreciate your own life.
Community is rooted in the value of community. Human beings evolved to live in community. We are social creatures. We looked after each other, shared skills and knowledge, and helped each other to survive. We depended on each other for things essential for us to live. We formed lasting relationships and we worked together. And we learned that the strength of our community depends on the quality of our relationships. The strongest communities are those based on the deepest and most trusting relationships. The concept of community is the basis for the practice of community.
Community is not just about being a member of a group. It’s about doing things together, being active together, and growing together, both as individuals and as a group. Community is about working together and working with others to do things that are important to us. It’s about creating social infrastructure for ourselves and for our communities. Community is the basis for all social life.
Life without communities was unthinkable. People were defined by their communities. They built their identity, their skills, their knowledge and their sense of self and belonging in their communities. We never would have survived without communities, because without communities people would have been increasingly alone. Humanity developed and flourished because of community. The social and emotional needs that communities provide are an important part of what makes us human.
Community is the foundation of relationships. Our relationships with our communities: our families, our local communities, our country and our world, help us to be who we are. They allow us to know ourselves and to connect with ourselves. They help us to be us. Community is a collective experience of connection and belonging. Many of our communications are motivated by the need to connect with others.
When we communicate online we are communicating with people, not with technology. We are sending thoughts and messages to other people, not to a screen. We are thinking and creating and sharing with others who share our experiences, our problems and our aspirations. We are thinking and creating and sharing with other people. We are being together in our thoughts and our ideas.
And so in the digital age, community is being resurrected. To be in community on the Internet, and in the virtual world, is to be together.