5.a.13 – Can we rebuild a real community?

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June 24, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Can we rebuild a real community?

If you take the example of Egyptologists who meet to manage a site on the Internet devoted to their favourite subject, we can imagine that at the start they are only three or four and that they slowly upload on the website their knowledge, documents and photographs collected from different sources. If the site is of good quality, it is likely to obtain a certain success and that other enthusiasts wish to participate. If the founders of the group are organized according to our criteria of aggregation, when the number of participants will rise, they’ll be divided into work groups, each of which will deal with a different period of Egyptian history, or with different aspects of their culture such as architecture, religion , art, economics, etc …
In the village developed around the site, it will then be natural to make information circulate about guided tours in museums or directly to archaeological sites in Egypt. It will not be hard to find opportunities to meet, having to manage the site and organize visits in a group; it will then be appropriate to associate leisure activities with these meetings, to facilitate the socialization of the participants. If the number continues to grow, it will necessary to subdivide into several villages, each with its own specialization having an ever higher level. In this process, however, another problem may also occur: if among the new arrivals there are some also interested to other ancient civilizations who had contact with the Egyptians, they may introduce new sections on the Sumerians, the Babylonians and others, initially to outline better the context in which it has developed the story in Egypt, then to develop a specific study independently, thus extending the website subjects from Egypt to all major ancient civilizations.
We can thus see how to the progressive increase in the number not only follows a growth of training internally, but sometimes even a decrease of global specialization of training, seen from outside.
We can find a similar process with the example of the football team as well: increasing the players, they will share in different teams and be able to organize real internal tournaments. A communication system will be necessary, to keep everyone informed about the availability of playing fields, on schedules, on the possibility of contacting technicians for training and so on … Even in this case we have an increasing number of activities, roles and thus of specializations. If some then wanted to practice some other sports, certainly will try to involve the friends from the group, including them as secondary activities. From a simple football team, we will then move to a multi-sports association.
In both cases, being more and more numerous will bring other benefits, like having more economic and cultural resources, but also more psychological satisfaction as a result of the participation in more important activities and of the spreading and consolidation of their network of friends.
What then would happen if some Egyptologists, to have fun and keep fit, decide to play football? They could easily reuse the same structure of their village to organize cultural activities and sports and, although not everyone will chose to participate, there will be not need to form a new sports village. The work groups that will play, will form their team, just like the various cities do today in the football league.
We can observe how, with its growth, the group usually tends to differentiate internally, multiplying the roles and skills, but it can also increase its activities, becoming multi-disciplinary and more and more resembling to a community. As we know, this reflects our human nature, because as social animals we turn instinctively to a single social organization (the community) for all our needs. It is unthinkable to try to meet all the needs of modern life with organizations such as small villages or groups of villages, but this is not a real problem: the purpose of the village is not to be a substitute to the State, but to return to the citizen one of its most important evolutionary resources, an organized group that will allow him to easily do things otherwise impossible, increasing his freedom of action and also its ability to contribute to society, just like the voluntary activities are currently doing. If a federation of villages can play many different activities, it follows that if necessary it may be more independent from the rest of society, but usually will be more integrated in the same, offering more services also to people outside, and then in the end more linked to society as a whole.
The village is a tool for the contemporary citizen, it is inspired by the tribal village as the organic farming is inspired by pre-industrial agriculture: this is not a return to the past, but a way of facing the future while respecting the nature, especially the human nature. We recall that the modern village has no geographical references, has not a territory  like the tribal villages, is not tied to settlements where people live; it is primarily a network of relationships, a way to organize which is valid both in the city and in the province or even on the internet, but it is never a virtual reality: it is a working structure that binds real human beings. We should also recall that the benefits of a small group are immediate, it was born to do a little work with very few people; who forms a group knows what will get in return and that will not have to wait long. The same is not true for the village or for larger structures, which is why nobody is organizing a village from scratch; the village is formed simply from a growing group, which can be seen as an embryo village. We can form a large structure step by step, following short-term goals within our reach, since only these can ensure the success and satisfaction of the group, laying the foundations for its growth, to become a large community.

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