We are a society that values the ability to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” We assume that people should be able to handle the things that life throws at them by themselves or, in the worst case scenario, with their very close, immediate family. But is that really how humans are wired?
Whether you are talking about breastfeeding and childbirth or food security and housing issues or retirement and caring for our eldest loved ones it seems like we all agree that support is crucial. We form support groups for everything from mothers of toddlers to recovering drug addicts. We talk about how vital it is to connect with others. We acknowledge that community is key to success.
Then we, as a society, look down our noses at anyone who has the audacity to ask for help. Why can’t you buy your own groceries? Pay for your own school tuition? Care for your own children? Why should we have to help you? You are an adult. You should be able to be responsible for taking care of your own basic needs.
Certainly things weren’t perfect in the past. History tells some nightmarish stories of institutionalized orphanages, sweatshops, and hard-working people dying of starvation in the streets. At the same time, our great grandmothers thought nothing of simply assuming the other ladies in the neighborhood would keep an eye on their children. Our great grandfathers never doubted that their friends would help them build adequate shelter for their family or harvest their fields. It’s just what you did for neighbors.
I live in a tiny rural town. I don’t even know the names of half of my neighbors and nobody thinks that’s strange. It’s just the way things are.
People who choose to live communally are thought to be strange or on the fringe of society.
I’m certainly no sociologist. Maybe there is some fantastic evolutionary reason why we need to become more isolated from one another. Maybe I’m mistaken entirely and this is a non-issue in our culture. I don’t know, so I’m asking you…
What do you think?
Is our society lacking a true sense of community?
Is that hindering us from living life to its fullest?
If so, what can we do to improve the situation?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!