“Community is Born of Necessity”

Joe Bageant
Joe Bageant, at home in Hopkins, Belize
The above quote is from Joe Bageant’s son. It came up in our recent discussion on Intentional Community versus ‘Accidental’ Community. Community is born of necessity. This one sentence, Joe believed, explained the success of Accidental Communities, and the failure of so many well-considered Intentional Communities.I should have realized this, of course; it’s an affirmation of Pollard’s Law — we do what we must, then we do what’s easy, and then we do what’s fun. My ancestors, thrown together with strangers in a frontier land two centuries ago under harsh conditions, American ex-pats sharing a common passion (loyalty to the King of England) had no choice but to make their Accidental Community of 13 families work, carving homes out of the frozen wilderness without electric light, electric power or hydrocarbons. Thousands of Canadians can now, like me, trace their ancestry to this community.

Likewise, the Garifuna of Belize, who bailed out of shipwrecked slave ships over three centuries ago, had no choice but to make their Accidental Community work, and its culture remains, improbably and against all odds, prevalent today in much of the country.

Meanwhile, the Intentional Communities of the world have a low success rate and an average population of just eleven people. They are the product, often, of affluent, comfortable people who have selected each other carefully and patiently, and who have a shared passion that most Accidental Communities lack. They are experiments of joy designed to discover what works and what doesn’t, by learning from failure. They never reallysucceed, most of them, perhaps because they don’t have to.

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4 Responses to “Community is Born of Necessity”

  1. lugon says:

    Maybe dogs have their own Maslow pyramid?

  2. Janene says:

    Yes, Dave. Exactly.For any community to survive its members must NEED one another to survive… and that is where idealism often gets in the way…Janene

  3. Welcome Home, Dave. Home with a capital ‘H’ referring to this planet. Well done.Barb

  4. Mike says:

    Perhaps this is a sign of hope then, communities being a reserve we can draw upon when they become necessary.

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