The Power of Community

by Marshall Brain

If you have ever been fortunate enough to live in a well-connected community, then you know how beneficial the human notion of community can be. A good community works because it brings hundreds of people into an environment pre-disposed to helpfulness and sharing. The combination of "good people" and "helping and sharing" can be extremely powerful. When good people get together in groups and decide to help one another to achieve common goals, it is the most powerful force on the planet. We all benefit when we take advantage of this power as much as possible.

If you've had a baby, then you know how difficult those first few weeks can be. Let's say that a couple gives birth to a new baby in a well-connected community. Within that community, friends recognize the need and they help out. Perhaps they help by preparing dinners for the family for several weeks. People might volunteer to watch the baby or do some laundry while the new mother takes a break or gets some sleep. This is incredibly helpful to the family, and everyone in the community feels good by helping. It makes the new baby's arrival something special and meaningful to the community as a whole.

In the same way, if someone in the neighborhood is in the hospital, people from the neighborhood visit and help the person out. They cook meals. They help take care of the kids. They pick up the mail. They keep the lawn mowed.

The community is a strong network of people willing to help each other, and willing to receive help from the group. People share rides, they take care of each others' kids, they work on projects together, they have pot-luck parties, they help each other find jobs... It is an extremely powerful concept built on ideals like trust, love, understanding and giving.

Why does this happen? It happens because of human intelligence and a basic desire to be kind and helpful. We all realize that we need help on occasion, and we all like to receive kindness. We then extrapolate that notion to others. If I sometimes need help from others, then it is true that sometimes others will need help from me. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Therefore, we help others. We are kind to each other. We share. What goes around comes around -- we all know that.

You help your friends because you care about your friends, and because you will appreciate it when someone helps you in the same way. It is that simple, and that human.

It is extremely valuable to live in a community of people where the community members genuinely care about one another. A loving community has immense value to everyone involved. What it is all about is creating a close, caring group of people who help one another, share with one another and enjoy each other's company while we are here together on earth.

See also The Most Important Factor in Happiness and The Meaning of Life.