Do you ever go out in public, and feel a strong uncomfortable feeling around other people?
It’s comparable to two opposing poles of magnets: if you go out in any city in the US, you’ll probably notice a growing disconnect between people.
Smart phones seem to exacerbate this disconnect between people, and people resort to staring at phones instead of making conversation or eye contact. Many people will quickly turn away if you make eye contact, trying to avoid feeling that uncomfortable “opposite magnet” feeling.
To steer the direction of our society, to have a say in our future and our culture, we have to build community again.
Our sense of community, our reliance on each other socially and economically, has seriously deteriorated in the past century.
It took something from us to start buying food from grocery chains, to rely on disconnected, benign corporations for the necessities we consume: we lost the community spirit, culture, and unity that can only come out of depending on each other economically, buying food and goods from each other and having independent business in the community.
In that context, understanding how the culture of communication between people has been eroded, this article will present 5 ideas for repairing our sense of community.
1. Hold movie, documentary screenings in your community
One way to connect with people in your community is to hold regular movie or documentary screenings.
A simple screen and projector with a little venue could bring a whole neighborhood of people together. If you put on an informative documentary with pertinent info about how the world really works, maybe you’d be participating in another kind of meaningful change.
For instance, there used to be weekly documentary screenings at a coffee shop in Seattle called Black Coffee. This was a hub of thinking people that brought people in the community together.
2. Regularly feed, clothe the homeless in your community: make it an event to look forward to, to spend time with each other
Activist groups such as Food Not Bombs or New Era Detroit showed everyone how it could be done. New Era Detroit delivered over 1 million bottles of water to residents of Flint, Michigan, whose water is poisoned with lead and other toxins.
While delivering water to Flint, New Era Detroit demonstrated how such an activity can build unity, build community spirit, bring people together and generally make everything feel better in the area. This group perfectly demonstrates how that can be done.
Food Not Bombs is a decentralized movement to provide people with free (vegan) food.
3. Don’t be quick to cast people aside for disagreement: practice a good (but not fake) attitude
It looks like there are some concerted efforts being made to divide us. The powers that be as we call them, their media and counterparts are severely agitating tensions between people in our society: from race vs race, to religion vs religion, to man vs woman, we have a serious problem on our hands when it comes to being divided.
To have any kind of common ground with fellow people, we’re going to have to agree to disagree sometimes.
It leaves people open to an inevitable explosion, to conceal their dissenting opinions from each other, however. To not talk about a disagreement, things can become stiff and uncomfortable between people. It’s often best to just openly agree to disagree and love your neighbor anyway. Or, keep debating: why not, if everyone has a good attitude.
One simple way to counteract this division is to have a good attitude.
There is a difference between having a good attitude and having a “fake good attitude.” An attitude that builds community and understanding is one that is humbled, relaxed, not contrived but really trying to listen to a person when communicating.
A “fake good attitude” can be stiff, contrived, but sometimes kind of like a baby step toward better communication for some people.
Sometimes it’s hard to open up to your fellow people: it’s okay to have some awkwardness and weird feelings trying to break this spell of division and bad communication.
With a little bit of understanding and good attitude, we can all overcome our awkwardness and grow together.
4. Create independent sports events and leagues: community sports activities, disconnected from schools or institutions
Why do all of our activities have to be attached to institutions that are not owned by us, and do not serve us well? Based on the state of government schools in the US, a school is probably not the greatest place to gather and have community.
Why don’t people come together to make independent sports leagues: independent, neighborhood sports groups for their children or adults?
It would be a great exercise in community, and staying off the grid of institutions. We don’t need government run schools, colleges, or institutions to play sports and gather in our communities.
Plenty of community groups like this already exist.
5. Grow food, and trade with each other: make it a point to buy necessities from fellow community members and not from a grocery chain
There is only one longterm solution to not having any opportunities to survive, not having any work or money: unplugging from the system, and building our own culture of supporting each other for the goods and services we need.
If we build a culture where we all prioritize it as very important to buy food we grow and necessities we produce from strictly our friends, neighbors, and people of our class, we will empower our class of people, and dis-empower the corporations and entities who are bleeding us of all our power and resources.
This philosophy is known as Agorism, or counter economics.
Derrick Broze has done great work on Agorism: you can watch one of his videos below.