It was M. Scott Peck who first drew my attention to how true (authentic) community could be, as he put it, “the salvation of the universe”. Dr Peck showed how a group of strangers could be brought together in a room for a weekend and simply by creating the space for open, honest communication and acceptance, in 48 hours people move from superficial small-talk into deep feelings of love and appreciation for each other. Via, we might add, an inevitable amount of conflict.
A key to Peck’s community building was diversity. Differences between people, instead of being impediments to community or to a vision, become assets; each person contributes their uniqueness and gradually comes to appreciate everyone else’s uniqueness.
In our world today, other than in isolated experimental pockets, such as traditional African villages and the growing eco-village movement, we see very little evidence of this kind of true community. Most of us live in isolated apartments or single family dwellings, we often do not even know our neighbors. We go to “work”, earn just enough for our food and our rent and our family, and all around us we see debt mounting, wars continuing, people thinking only of themselves. We are living out the Darwinian philosophy that life is a struggle and only the fittest survive as a self fulfilling prophecy.
But Darwinian natural selection is only a half truth. In fact, when one examines the natural history of species, plants or animals, we discover that cooperation has played a much bigger role in survival than competition. Discoveries in Biology in the past 15 years are showing us that organisms adapt to their environment in ways that random genetic mutations cannot explain. We now know from experiments with bacteria that organisms are able to modify their genetic blueprints according to environmental challenges. Shades of Lamarck!
Moreover, and profoundly fundamental for the survival of our species, over the last 700 million years, organisms have learned how to live in communities. The evolution of our own bodies, from single celled organisms, to multiple cellular ones, then to tissues and organs and finally to the “community” that each of us is today, has all been a constant evolution from the individual to the community. While we are still fighting amongst ourselves, inside our body are harmonious communities that have developed their harmony through a conscious process, let’s call it spirit, that is guiding evolution.
I commend Bruce Lipton’s new book, Spontaneous Evolution, to anyone who wants to understand better where humanity is likely to go. When enough of us join together to help consciously create true communities, that momentum will inevitably bring about a world where we see each “other” as our brother and sister and begin to move from the ego-Centric world view to a Socio-centric one.
Little projects like our Centres in Greece are part of something much much bigger. Come and see for yourself!