October 1st, 2007 - by Golgotha

Do you know why you work so hard? No community – it’s the price you pay for being independent.

If someone told you that you are a very independent person you would probably take that as a compliment. It means that you rely upon no one for anything. In today’s culture that is looked upon as a positive quality. But, I believe there is a price to pay for being independent — and we’re all paying it.

You and I work hard because we have to support ourselves entirely. I need my own house, my own car, my own computer, my own microwave, washer, dryer, television, xbox, lawn mower and all the rest. And you need these things too, because after all you want to be independent don’t you? You wouldn’t want to have to ask your neighbor if you could use theirs. Chances are if you are like most people, you probably don’t even know your neighbors well enough to feel comfortable to ask them for something. You don’t need to, everything they have, you also have. You don’t need your neighbors for anything — and they don’t need you.

In order to acquire these things you need to work for them and I need to work for them and so does everyone else. But, if you really thought about it – why do each of us need to own these possessions? I only use my microwave from time-to-time; same with my lawn mower — only on Saturday mornings do I use it. In fact that’s true for just about everything I own. Why couldn’t we share the lawn mower? In reality our entire block could share a lawn mower and just about everything else. But that’s not how independent people work.

In the average neighborhood in America, every household owns the same essential things.

Why is that?

It didn’t use to be this way and in some parts of the world there are people that still don’t live this way. Our textbooks call these people tribal or some even use a more derogatory term — uncivilized. We civilized people don’t need a tribe. We rely upon no one – for anything.

And because we rely upon no one we have no one to rely upon. You need to work hard so that you don’t need to ask for anything from anyone and so do I.

Why do I tell you such things? Well because I’m a big believer in being part of a community and have experienced the benefits that come with it. Being part of a community is more than just for the purpose of sharing things, ultimately it’s about being stronger as a group instead of as individuals.

Now to try and relate this to blogging…

Karl Marx believed that human beings are intrinsically, necessarily and by definition social beings who – beyond being “gregarious creatures” – cannot survive and meet their needs other than through social co-operation and association. And I share that belief.

So when I (re)built Search-This, it was foundational that it be developed around a community and not an individual.

I realize that without the help of others that possess knowledge greater than my own in different areas, this blog could not survive. I simply would not be capable of delivering the quality of content that I desire or that you, the viewers, would find worthy. No one person can have advanced knowledge in all areas of web development; not these days. I suppose that I could chop away areas that I’m not comfortable with and narrow the blog’s niche, but I don’t want to do that and not just because the blog would suffer, but because I would suffer — I would miss out on relationships.

My entire plan for Search-This is to build relationships with others in the web development field — ones in which we all can benefit. I think it’s been pretty successful thus far. Whenever I run into CSS problems that I can’t solve, I turn to Paul and he’s always gracious to help. When I’ve needed help with PHP, Matt and Sara both have been there and when Matt and Sara needed some Flash work done for clients, I was able to help them out. So I believe that being part of a community, even when running a blog, is of great benefit — both to the individual and the community.

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

I want to encourage you to become part of a community or organization, particularly one outside of the web where you can actually form close relationships with people. There are all types to choose from: church groups or Bible studies, web development groups, sports groups, political organizations, cooking groups — there are organizations for just about any interest you might have.

[ additional thoughts ]
I decided to get a little more personal and talk more about communities and my thoughts over at my personal blog here.

8 Responses to “Community – It’s Everything”

[…] at Search-This (my other blog for web developers) I just posted about the significance of belonging to a […]

2 John Faulds

Chances are if you are like most people, you probably don’t even know your neighbors well enough to feel comfortable to ask them for something.

Get yourself a dog and head to your nearest dog park; you’ll soon get to know all your neightbours.

3 New York

I quote from the greatest book I ever read…..Think and grow rich.

The master mind definition….Coordination of knowledge and effort, in the spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.

Heres the kicker——No individual may have great power without availing himself of the master mind!

I can NOT do it by myself. I need others. I need you!

I have quite a few benefits and advantages I can offer someone in return for their cooperation.

I want the big money! To get the big money I need all of you!!!!!

I am a php developer and would love to talk with Matt and Sarah.

4 Golgotha

@John – well I don’t have a dog, but my daughter does the same thing – the neighbors love her 🙂

@New York – not really sure where you got big money and great power out of what I said?

In a real community it’s not about the minority obtaining power and financial freedoms while the masses suffer. It’s about eliminating the hierarchy all together so that ALL people are equal. When times are good, they are good for all and when times are rough, they are rough for all. This is in contrast to what we have today. Where when things are rough they are never rough for the people at the top, only for the people at the bottom.

But the ability to surround yourself with great people is certainly a recipe for success.

5 daniel butterfield

wow, i have been looking for a way to describe my goals for 2008 and this is pretty close. Although your post isn’t just about blogging it relates a lot to what blogging is about. Here is another thought. When i meet someone that is interesting and we have things to talk about, it gives me a great feeling. In fact, i strive to help people when i enjoy talking to them. Some people are not wired that way, in fact they only look at what they can get from you instead of trying to figure out what they can give. By giving you receive, but be careful of the takers. In fact, i will go as far to say this, I try to run my business in the same way. Giving a lot and only needing a little. Almost like I can operate at 110% efficiency. Giving out more then i am required to run – does that make any sense? I love that idea – it is a feel good way to go about life. I must admit, it has taken a good part of my life (34 now) to realize this. To me, life is about the journey and that journey is only as interesting as the people that are around you.

6 Golgotha

>>daniel: “In fact, i will go as far to say this, I try to run my business in the same way. Giving a lot and only needing a little. Almost like I can operate at 110% efficiency. Giving out more then i am required to run – does that make any sense?

Yes it does. There’s the Indian lesson “Take what you need and leave the rest.” You need to take what you need for you and your family in order to function and be valuable to the rest of the community.

It’s important to note that it’s not about being noble or more enlightened – belonging to community helps you out. Of course it helps others out too and that’s why I feel so strong about it.

7 ses5909

You made me think of the blog, http://www.hellomynameisscott.blogspot.com/

He wears a nametag 24/7 so people feel comfortable talking to him. It’s made him pretty famous!

8 rAm

thanks for an insightful post. It makes me think and also look into new light the my contribution to communities that I am part of.

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