What is community? I find that the standard answer to this question lacks depth and connection due to an oversimplification of a concept that we cannot admit is theoretically abstract. Is community an experience or is it a concept? Is it "subjective" or can we define it with an objective lens?
Regardless of the countless definitions, webinars, and discussions on this topic, I figured, why not try to answer it using my own personal thoughts.
Community is a movement...
it's the action of unification; when we collectively agree to catalyze change or adhere to a goal or mission that increases social cohesion. Community is a social playground that transcends the view of self to a collective movement toward social unification with a focus on the evolution of humanity and the elimination of boundaries set in place by beliefs (religious including) and values.
To me, community=unification and if we are not united, we are not a community.
So now, the question is how do we create unification? What are the mediums we can use for social unification?
In this example, let's explore it through the idea of language. I was just listening to a super enlightening conversation with So Far and Verses where the group discussed the abbreviations in Web3 that create emotional disconnection and alienation for unfamiliar audiences, such as "GM" (Good Morning). I found myself questioning the use of abbreviations and slang not just in Web3 communities, but also amongst IRL [in real-life ;)] social groups.
Language helps build a social identity to help contrast ourselves with a larger culture. Slang provides cohesiveness within a group. It's a system of language used by subcultures to build social identity and contrast themselves with the larger culture by using unique language. If I meet someone from Chicago (where I was born) and we start saying things like “The L” we may immediately form a social bond; this bond creates an emotional sensation, perhaps a warm feeling in the chest or a flutter of excitement in the belly. But if we say this in front of someone from Berlin who has no fucking idea what the "L" means, does that mean I am excluding this person from the conversation and selfishly favoring social exclusion? Not necessarily. Am I required to educate the person from Berlin on what the “L” means? Not necessarily. It all depends on the awareness, empathy and choice of the formed group (in this case myself and the other person from Chicago).
Before I explain why it all depends on these 3 things, let's first ask ourselves what creates social cohesion, eliminates homophily, and encourages inclusivity within a community and/or other social dynamics?
When we peel back the concept of inclusivity, the actions tied to it are
Imagine yourself as me in this example I've given above. You have the choice, at that moment, to become aware of the environment such as becoming aware of the furrowed brow that the person from Berlin may have. You then have the automatic response of feeling empathy for that person's situation, which also depends on whether or not you've lived a shared experience with the person from Berlin. For example, maybe you've lived or visited a country where the people around you are speaking a language or using slang you don't understand. Because of this experience, you understand what it means to not feel inclusive within a social dynamic, therefore you do your best to not replicate the scenario.
Finally, you have the choice to either explain what the “L” means or to continue the conversation; either disregarding the person from Berlin's confusion due to your personal reasons OR to explain what the "L" actual means. (P.S. the "L" is slang for the transit system in Chicago)
Using these 3 pillars are what I believe may be the key to creating social unification, respect, mindfulness and cohesion within an idealistic, harmonious community.
The ability to recognize your surroundings and others' emotions requires awareness.
So, I guess the second question we must ask ourselves is not, how do we create inclusion within a community, but rather how do we spark awareness within a community. How do we develop awareness of the vast dynamism amongst a social group as well as each individual's needs within a group?
Sometimes that may require understanding one's personal background, stories, and history such as trauma, and/or triggers in a mental health community for example.
Depending on the needs within a community, it may require a dense and highly concentrated amount of attention at an individualized level or a list of rules and permitted language within the group. One that could be recorded in a spreadsheet, like this:
But what if we could simplify it all and follow the simple rules of the Noble Eightfold Path, one of the principal teachings of Buddha which is about ending the suffering of life and achievement of self-awakening.
Or maybe we can keep it as simple as offering a dictionary of all the textual references within a community so that people understand wtf all the abbreviations mean.
How do you define community?