Death of a community
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men." - Herman Melville
Talking with many recently it has come up that the community is failing, both on a local and national level, the causes are many, and the solutions plentiful, but are we as a community willing to make the sacrifices to save it?
"Few of us could bear to have ourselves for neighbors." - Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
I have previously discussed M. Scott Peck and his four stages of community (Pseudocommunity, chaos, emptiness, and true community), and the fact that the BDSM community never really gets past the Chaos stage, which it appears we are yet again on the brink of. According to Peck, to move beyond the Chaos we have to learn to suppress the ego and accept that, yes, we are different, but we have enough in common to make something more. Of course that would be a hard step for normal people, for people into BDSM suppressing the ego and personal desires may be near impossible.
"A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You, the people must git it this soul." - Pope John Paul II
OK, so we want to save the community, build it into something enduring, we are willing to make the sacrifice of our egos, what must we do? First we need to decide what our goal is, a true community has the following qualities: Inclusiveness (We must embrace our differences), Realism (Screw the fantasy, face reality), Self-awareness (We gotta know who we are for real), Safety (We gotta allow people to express themselves without feeling left out or attacked), Grace under fire (How many can truly have a discussion without it becoming a conflict?), Leadership (This one is greatly lacking in our community, leadership is a quality, not a popularity contest and not a political issue), and finally it has to have a soul all it's own.
"A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm." - Henrik Ibsen
OK, lets take the bull by the horns, everyone knows I am picky about terms, someone will ask me who the leader of such and such group is, I will often answer "X is the one in charge over there.". I am very picky about the words used and the words I use most of the time. I say what I mean, what I mean in that case is, "I don't see a leader there, I see someone who won a popularity contest." Do I see leaders in the community? Yep, there are a few, usually outspoken and frustrated all to hell with the way things are going. The community needs new leaders, people claiming to be leaders need to step up to the plate and learn what it takes or step back and give someone who might be what we need a swing.
"Community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers." - Howard Thurman
The community as we define it, groups and dungeon crowds, is not growing, in many cases it is shrinking. Does this mean there are less people into kinky activities? Less people into power exchange? No, it means those people are not taking part in the traditional community because of various reasons, most I have discussed it with are out because of the drama, cliques, and overall lack of leadership and focus of the community. We gotta change that or before too long, there will be no community.
"While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many." - Lady Bird Johnson
We need to step away from the cliques, welcome new people, guide them, but to do that we need to know where we are guiding them, most people in the community barely know where they are going, so many paths that lead nowhere and egos too big to ask for directions.
"There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good" - Samuel Johnson
We gotta stop allowing those that are self-serving's voices drown out the voices of those that do seek to better the community, everyone is selfish now and again, but those that never have other's best interests in mind, need to be reigned in.
"A machine has value only as it produces more than it consumes - so check your value to the community." - Martin H. Fischer
We need to all step up to the plate and do our best for the community, if the local group is not serving it's needs, try to change it, if that fails, find another local group and try there, if all else fails, find like minded souls and make a new group, but try the existing groups first, don't be afraid to stand up and be counted for your views. But stand true to your values, lack of integrity is not going to get you anywhere.
26 Feb 2009 15:45:12
No commenting allowed at this time.