Archive for July, 2011

When communities must rise to the occasion, by hook or by crook

The musing I had in my kitchen as I looked in my pantry for something to snack on went a little something like this:

 

If suddenly my community stopped receiving Federal and State monies, if it failed to meet its operating budget to the point where it shuddered the police department, the fire department, open the jail because it couldn’t keep the lights on, what would happen? Utter chaos? Would people stand around and scratch their heads like monkeys wondering how to function without its non-functional government? Not a chance. I believe ingenuity and creativity would dominate, and a culture of service would emerge where the community would essentially be forced to shift its priorities and its resources toward maintaining a certain quality of life. Physicians would provide care, neighborhoods would fight fires and see after each other, and structures would emerge in self-organization to feed people.

 

Is that utterly Pollyanna? Yes, probably. Would there be some chaos, violence, and discord? Absolutely – some people would freak out as the natural course of the ego being stripped of its security blanket – the structures that it knows and relies on for safety and survival. The game has changed; the wise find ways to adapt, the unwise resist what is actually happening. There will be fearful expressions of competition for scarce resources – food and water being the first.

 

Yet in the midst of this ego-shock, I imagine the light of the human spirit prevails and orients us toward community, sharing, and collective innovation. We come to realize that reliance on unsustainable structures, such as an economy that provides us with money and goods from a far distance, has produced a very limited sense of community – and of ourselves – and then realize what powerful beings we are. All our attention and energy that has gone into frivolous efforts, diversion, pain-numbing, and distraction is now called to participate in building community, providing for ourselves, our families, and our community in new ways.

 

I went back to the pantry and realized that my craving for halvah, which I found on the label had been made in Israel, didn’t quite fit my model above! 🙂 I opted for a locally grown apple instead.

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