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Community -- Why is it hard?

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I suspect this is the great idea of democracy (which we have yet to achieve). I the ideal of democracy, power differentials are eliminated and people are equal, as in the phrase, "one man, one vote". In practice, of course, people with more money control more votes. Political candidates require campaign contributions to run, and the democratic process is subverted. Nevertheless, we can dream about democracy as an ideal for sustainable community.

So that's why community is hard. It's hard to avoid power building hierarchies. It's hard to accept others when they are annoying and irritating. It's hard be annoying and irritating and then apologize. It's hard to share. It's hard to be generous. It's hard to be accountable. But the benefits are enormous for health, for wellness, for wellbeing. So let's just "gird our loins" and try harder to build community wherever we can.

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Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
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