The role of the community

We all identify, or should identify, with a group of people who we feel we belong to. Obviously the most common identity group is family. We also have groups of friends, colleagues, acquantances, neighbours, locals, fellow nationals or citizens etc. However, we all have groups that we feel we don't belong to, such as foreigners, strangers, outsiders, often using dissociative terms. Then there are neutral groups we have no strong association/dissocation with like human, animals, people etc.


The first step in forming relationships in the community is in forming identities, encouraging positive associative identities and discouraging dissociative identities.The bonding process should involve focusing on these identity groups and share a sense of belonging.

The second step in maintaining relationships is through reinforcement, that is through experience and feedback that reinforce those identities. In community that should come through both top-down relationships such as group leader and member, and in lateral relationships such as colleagues, brothers and sisters. Social cohesion involves many factors in these processes, involving social relations, tasks, perceived unity and emotions.


The decision people take on getting involved in community comes down to identity, what community they identify with. Some groups we highly value, like family, and the value comes down to beliefs and traditions which we develop. Then there are groups we can choose wheter or not we want to join. The community can have many opportunities, from a good night-life for the young, or a strongly religious network, or sport or music. What we value comes down to our own personal beliefs and traditions. People who are casually minded tend to seek enjoyment and personal fulfillment in life. Those who are more serious-minded tend to be more productive and highly-responsible. As a general rule with loads of exceptions of course.

What we see in more developed communities are people who are much better off, comfortable in life, less dependant on others and most likely to be casual, self-sufficient or independant-minded. In less developed countries the reverse holds, where people are less well off, more dependant on the community network, less comfortable, serious minded and more serious and responsible. Again a general rule.

With the rise in wealth in Ireland, the religious community has declined, but the rise of many other sports and leisure groups has increased significantly. There are many new ethnic groups being established in the developed world as opportunities are available and people migrate from the third world into the developed world. What we see is a multitude of communities being developed in the developed world, each to their own. We also have people who see no need to join the larger community, such as neighbours. There has been a hugh shift in identity and values in Ireland, from one of needing to belong, to say the church, to one where we choose where we belong, that is what we want to be.


The problem is the society as a whole nation, including the government, becomes less significant as a community in our own lives, as when things are good we have our own smaller communities we are involved with and do not need to be involved in the greater society. What do we want from being involved with the local community? What can we do to make a difference? How does it feel, does it feel like we belong? The question of social relations, tasks, perceived unity and emotions, tend to be less fulfilling with the larger community than our groups we associate more with.

We are human beings, in the choice of a neutral term. But that identity of being human can also be the most positive value of all, to allow us all to treat, love and respect each other the same. This is at least how I feel. I think that we should see all other humans the same as ourselves, disregarding the groups or communities we feel dissocated with. This tends to be forgotten in our daily lives, where we tend to ignore or reject people who we feel less associated with.

We are all human, and that should brush all differences aside.

all human

This my friend, is why the role of the larger community is so important. We need to bring all our positives together, all those things we value, whatever the differences in identity. We could, or may already, have lost our national spirit in settling for less, for the smaller unit of family, friends, or local sport, music. Imagine if we all as human beings came together to celebrate being human, on a national or even global scale. Setting aside our differences. Let us reform our human identity and reinforce it. This is the dream. This is the opportunity. This is the time.