I believe that so many of our societal and individual problems are directly related to the lack of community in our culture. People live alone or in very small groups, disconnected from family, neighbours, elders –> these days most people do not have a ‘village’. When I say ‘village’, I mean a connected group that supports each other – a network of people that know each other.
In the urban setting, it seems the norm is to ignore most people around you; kind of necessary when you are passing by hundreds of people every day. Yet this norm of ignoring now includes anxiety and fear of talking to strangers. I’d say that in our culture it is considered odd to intrude on someone’s personal bubble when you don’t know them already. Say hello to a stranger and see the fear in their eyes – why is this person talking to me? What do they want from me that I might not want to share? Ask them the time and the relief oozes out of them as they respond and get to move on.
What must this isolation among strangers do to a person’s mind? Increased levels of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviours…I’d say most of us need community to have happier healthier lives.