What Holds a Community Together?

What Holds a Community Together?
10 Ways to Thrive Communally

After a hundred years of failed community experiments since Monte Verità in Ascona, one is justified in asking:

What holds a community together, what stops it from failing, and how is its power increased?

Here are ten things that hold a community together:

1. A Strong Concept

First of all, it needs a strong idea, a concept, or a goal, which is more than a personal desire for contact and a feeling of home. Some examples would be building a peace garden, establishing a children’s republic, a school of transformation, an encompassing energy project, an art centre, a media and communication centre, and so on. The more its concept corresponds to an objective necessity, the more it will be supported by the universe.

2. Conflict Resolution

It needs good methods to deal with human conflict. It needs a mental-spiritual concept, which remains effective even when human relationships threaten to break down.

Working together in communityLiving in community requires working together to develop effective communication.

3. Staying Power

It needs a few responsible people, who have the strength to stand up for the community idea, even when many things go wrong. It needs an unusually strong staying power.

4. Responsible Cooperation

It does not need any top dogs or territorial thinking; instead, it needs cooperation among those who have taken on the main responsibility. A prerequisite for the creation of any community that has taken on a larger task is a permanent circle of responsible people, without secret competition for power and position.

5. Clear Infrastructure

It needs a clear infrastructure. Every member should know their place and their task. Like every organ in the body, every person has a special function within the whole. Once a certain size has been reached, it is important to have a precise division of labour and a clear assignment of leadership functions.

Cooperation and clear infrastructureCooperation and clearly defined roles are the key to community success.

6. Leadership Free of Domination

It needs a leadership structure that is free of domination; consisting of persons who are natural authorities, because they have the corresponding human and professional abilities, and because they have the group’s trust. The character of these persons must be so mature that they do not misuse their position for self-interest and power. People with the old power structure are not suitable to function as leaders, even when they themselves immediately want to take on leadership roles. Future communities should neither have an authoritarian nor an anti-authoritarian basis.

7. Working as a Whole

It needs the professionalism of their members. For the whole to develop, it needs a direction and a will that is not influenced by the momentary feelings and moods of the members. Hippies were often quite nice people, but they could not always create functioning communities.

8. Transparent Decision-Making

In order for trust to grow, all important processes and decisions must be transparent. Especially in the areas of sex, love, authority and power, money, and economy, it is necessary to create transparency using suitable methods (such as self-expression or forum) and clear communication. Otherwise, the community will soon fall victim to hidden conflicts.

Core values and ethicsIt is a vital for a community to have shared core values to thrive.

9. Sexual Vitality

It needs sexual vitality and liveliness. It will otherwise become rigid, ideological, or boring. In the past, communities either fell apart because of sexual love or else they suppressed it. Community and sexual love were two opposing concepts. In reality, a free and honest approach to sex can only develop on a communitarian basis. For this to occur, the normal hindrances must be overcome in an appropriate way.

10. Core Values

It needs the re-commitment to the basic human values of neighbourly love, hospitality, trust, and mutual support. It needs connection with issues of the humanity of our times and with the universal source of life. The more general human validity and meaning it has, the more power it will receive. The task then grows, the will strengthens, and new possibilities become visible. Behind every project – be it a peace garden, an art project, or a technological centre – there is a life concept, which becomes more encompassing the longer we work.

Celebration, feasts and ritualsCelebrations, feasts and rituals are an important part of living together.

And last but not least, it needs authentic songs, feasts, and rituals. For every community that develops and grows in a healthy way, there comes a time when it celebrates its own feasts and finds its own rituals. This is when thankfulness and celebration naturally transform into a festive form of life. Suddenly the community finds songs of its own, its own icons, mantras, and signs that focus its power and joy of life.

At some point, every community of the future will begin each day with some kind of joint celebration.

Chapter of the book The Sacred Matrix.

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