Monday, June 9, 2008

Diving for pearls. . .

Like pearl divers, who learn how to hold their breath for considerably longer than the average person, we modern humans have learned - however unintentionally - to live without the necessary element of community. However, as any pearl diver can tell you, the need does not go away. 

Unfortunately it seems that we've forgotten that we have this need for community, and in the process, forgotten what community is. You can see the frantic attempts to fulfill this essential hunger - in the creation of internet "tribes", Special Interest Groups, sport clubs and other new variations on the theme of community. What it comes down to is that we are desperately hungry for real connection with others. And our modern culture has evolved by ignoring and attempting to replace this fundamental need with personal achievement, individual recognition and sovereignty. While these may all be good things in and of themselves, they also keep us from realizing that we cannot do it alone. 

It is past time for us to rediscover the recipe for real community. It will not be a return to the way things were. We can't go back. It will need to be a movement forward, informed and inspired by what we once had, but honoring who we have become. Rather than returning to a sense of tribe in which the individual is submerged in the whole, we will need to explore how to create a real sense of connection and integration between sovereign and equal individuals. This will mean going through a lot of work - together. It will be more than swapping emails, IMs and blogs. It will mean getting sweaty and dirty working together on something of value to the whole group. It will mean going beyond the range of comfort for those who you share this wholeness with. It will mean living in proximity and committing to maintaining that proximity, even when it becomes difficult. It will mean working THROUGH difficulties together. 

Only by going through the necessary stages of development together can a group hope to become a whole. It seems to me that more and more of our rugged individualists are ready to make this leap into the unknown and unremembered place of communion.


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