On how we shape a free community: A letter

So far, we are still humans controlled by humans, and thus we suffer the whole spectrum of human faults and errors. But, do you know yourself? Do you know all your strength and weaknesses? How long did it take you to learn them, if indeed the learning is not still onging.

Society arises out of the ever evolving individual, and I read an interesting statement from Thomas Moore (Dark Eros yesterday: “When actual isolation does its work, that isolation is taken inward to become individuality. If the isolation is merely symptomatic, there will be no community. Only from the soul can genuine community arise.” What this tells me is that only as strong individuals can we shape a community. If all people had a certain common sense, emotional intelligence and intellect (and we have seen with the Nazis what happens when you keep on extending such criterias in order to further the goals of a power hungry few at the top), then each individual feels empowered to contribute to society, which in turn means they care for all parts of social life. Thus for me, I believe, the answer in a truly successful society lies not with a group of people but within the individual him/herself.

Have you ever come across a series of books called Dinotopia by James Gurney? Besides the absolutely lovely illustrations, he presents a fantastic society of humans living together with dinosaurs. And together in this sense is side by side. Dinosaurs and humans have equal rights and are treated as equals under their law. They have a common language, rituals, responsibilities. Of course, Gurney was good enough to not show the evi side of such a society because he picked up on the goodness in people, perfectly ignoring our striving for power and ambition.

Last month The Fear of Freedom by Erich Fromm found its way into my life, and I have a feeling this could be a must-read for you too. Fromm speaks of how history, particularly religions and governments, has conditioned us to give up on our individual freedom so to receive the benefits of whatever was offered at this time in history. I think we already spoke of the greater responsibilities which come with freedom, and we naturally have an inclination to avoid freedom because we want to overcome our own sense of powerlessness and isolation, and instead we seek to become one with an authority benefitting from its reach and protection (that may be the church, a political party and so on). Yet at the same time we also want to become an authority ourselves seeking to suppress others.

You see, the desperate need for society is quite instinctual, because what else is there left to us if we choose no society (if indeed there was such a choice): the fight to overcome the fear of freedom – to wander into this dark deep place within us, within our past – and seek.

(taken from a letter to a friend)

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