What Ever Happened to Community?

We used to live in self-sufficient communities before the extended familly and eventually the nuclear family.  We’ve been isolating ourselves more and more as time goes on.  Pretty soon two people living in a two-bedroom apartment will be considered disease-causing overcrowding.  But our population continues to increase and we’re not only building more houses, but bigger houses, too.  The only thing that doesn’t make sense is there are less people living in these homes than 50 years ago when houses were half as big.  It very strange how we buy our isolation.  We pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to be in our own home, where we have so much extra space we feel compelled to fill it all up with things we’ll hardly ever use.  There are laws stopping more than a certain number of people living in a certain space.  Why?  Because if we could put 10 or 20 people in one home, we wouldn’t have to work as much or make as much money and could spend time living instead of sitting in cubicles rearranging abstractions.

Look what they did to the Native Americans.  They used to live in those longhouses, where multiple families from the same tribe inhabited the same space, possibly hundreds of humans living in the same space.  When we came to America, and saw their lifestyle, we were so repulsed that we had to break their spirits by kidnapping their children and having the authorities reprogram them that the way they were living was an abomination.  We couldn’t just leave them alone.  And now more than half their adult population are alcoholics.  They’re forced to live on the worst land in our entire nation on those reservations.  They had a nice community going and the Europeans came in and just took it away from them.  “Live like us or you’ll die.”  Kind of like the Crusades in respect to religion, except it was the whole lifestyle they took away from the former inhabitants of this land.

What’s so bad about living in the same space as other people?  How big does our personal space have to get before we feel comfortable?  This is a rhetorical question of course.  The answer is different for everyone.  In other cultures like Asian cultures, the whole family lives in the same house.  I used to have a friend who lived with his grandparents, parents, siblings, sibling’s spouses, and so on and so forth.  What’s so bad about that?  Seriously.  Why do people feel they need to have laws against that sort of environment?  I’m sure the people who live in homes like that have stronger immune systems and a better sense of themselves due to the in-depth support system.  I’m also thinking in terms of a Fight Cllub scenario, where all your friends sleep in bunk beds in the basement and you alternate shifts in making meals and whatnot.  Why can’t we all just live together?  Why does society say you can only live with your significant other and your children or maybe a roommate who you are close to?

I remember watching an episode of Family Guy where they had the Mexican Superheroes.  The landlord is in their apartment and there are like 50 people in the apartment.  The Mexican Superman is telling the landlord that they are just visitors, until the Mexican Batman comes back and says, “Hey, I just went to the locksmith and got like 50 keys, man!”  The landlord looks at the Mexican Batman and then the Superman says, “Shhh.  Don’t say that right now.”  This was all because there were only two names on the lease.  Myself, I would say that 50 people in a cramped apartment is too much, but the minute you put limits on that sort of thing, you alienate people.  Let these people choose for themselves who they want to live in space they are paying to occupy.  Has anyone ever heard the term, “Judge not?”

Why do you think we don’t want other cultures coming into our country?  Because we are so without any real culture that we’re afraid of any real one.  We’re said to be a melting pot, but the melting pot has become uniform after 225 or so years of melting.  You won’t find much difference between Americanized people.  Even second or third generation Americans are so entrenched in the “American way of life” that their original culture is nothing but a distant memory.  They want what the average American wants because they’re told that’s what they want.  The only thing they seem to keep is their food and sometimes their holidays.  Otherwise, they’re your ordinary white bread American citizen.

We seek fulfillment in material goods because we don’t feel a connection with other people anywhere near as much as we used to.  It starts at birth where we are taken from our mothers and put in a sterile room with other babies who are just as terrified as you are.  We are put in sterile bedrooms when we get home and discouraged from putting anything in our mouths.  Everything is kept clean and neat, so therefore we must get immunizations against different diseases that would most likely not be a problem if we were raised in an environment where there was at least some exposure.  Sure, maybe a few super plagues would wipe out part of the population once and awhile, but it would be far less than the ordinary diseases some people die of today because of a weak immune system.  Your immune system needs practice.  It needs germs to practice on.  The only time I wash my hands is when I take a shower or if they’re really dirty.  Otherwise, I feel that building my immune system is worth the slight uncleanliness of my body.

Antibacterial soap and other antibiotics have spawned superbugs that don’t respond to antibiotics at all.  It’s all because we are so afraid of germs that  we’ll kill them at any cost.  Even the good germs.  This is why I think we’re afraid of community.  Do you think people living in Mexico have stronger or weaker immune systems than us?  Just look at the average American going down there and drinking the water and getting sick.  The watch the Mexican drink the water with no problem.  The more we shelter ourselves from the world as it is, the worse we’ll fall when this civilization crashes.  And the more we shelter ourselves from other people and their terrible germs, the more likely we are to get sick and have no one to go to and live with if necessary.

Instead of having loyalty to community, we now have loyalty to corporations and banks that own our homes.  How many empty homes do you think are just sitting there with no one in them with a big “Bank Owned” sign on the lawn?  What are homes for anyway?  Are they there for banks to sit there and own them while thousands go homeless, or are they places for people to live?  If 20 people want to collaborate and buy a home, why shouldn’t they be able to?  They can get 10 bunk bed sets and just live there.  I know this isn’t for everyone, but when times get tougher, and we all know they will, what’s so bad about working together with an entire network of people?  It’s not only versatile, but also supportive in more ways than you can imagine.  It’s how we used to live.  We know it in our bones.

The Idea of “Property”

What is rent and mortgage anyway?  It is a river of wealth flowing from the poor or middle class to the rich.  And the bank or the landlord doesn’t really own the land.  The land is up for grabs.  I know some people value the  idea of property, but it has a fundamental flaw.  How can you own physical space?  Every inch of this world is now owned.  You can’t just go live somewhere and make your own shelter.  You have to own that land.  If the people that own that land don’t even use it, why should they care who is living on it?  You can be thrown in jail for trying to live in the woods.  Why aren’t the putting the animals in jail, too?  They’re occupying space on that land as well.  The only reason this land is able to be owned in the first place was through conquest and force.  We forced animals and other indigenous humans off this “property” and then sold it or said, “I own it.”  It was almost something for nothing.  All you had to do is spend time forcing whatever you didn’t like off that land and then claim it.  This is the root of all property.  So, if the root of all property is fundamentally flawed, why should anyone have to pay to occupy it?

I’m just trying to make a point here.  All these people that defaulted on their mortgages shouldn’t have to walk the streets homeless because the bank said so.  Find a place to build a shelter or live in a tent if you have to.  If you know someone you can move in with, do so.  Our idea that owning our own piece of land is outlandish, a domination mindspace.  “This is MY property.  I can do whatever I want with it.”  Ultimate freedom would be to say, “I’m going to live in this area.  I choose to live here.  No one can say anything to stop me as long as I don’t destroy it.  If I can maintain or enrich the land where I currently live, then I am allowed to stay there.  I am also allowed to invite as many people as I see fit to also live on this land with me, but they also must not destroy it.”  Is that so hard to accomplish?  Right now, I’d have to say yes, but I hope we can live like that someday.

One thought on “What Ever Happened to Community?

  1. I like the ideas here, the loss of community is really tragic. FYI–not all Native Americans lived in longhouses. I believe just in the northeast (don’t quote me on that). The point of communal living is the same, but it’s also nice to respect the differences of a non-homogenous group. :)

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