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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %COMMUNAL LOYALTY SECURITY EXCOMMUNICATE EXCLUSIVE 960704 Humans are not fully human in the absence of communities. Communities cannot exist in the absence of humans. They cannot be fulfilled in the absence of each other. Yet they often have difficulties with each other. A key question for each human is how to decide about seeking to be included in one or more human community. Some hermits overtly try to stay out of human communities. They try to minimize contact with and dependence upon human communities---with varying degrees of success and integrity; rarely outstanding in any way which is recognized by any human community. The most outstanding successes are never known because of their success in total isolation. Some people (in rather thoughtless ways) stay out of touch with human communities; not out of principle, but out of aversion and/or diffidence. Such people often do not know how to participate in any community and are not encouraged by any community to become a participant. Some such people are individually very creative, and do on occasion gain positive recognition within some community and maybe even world-wide. Other people unsuccessfully try to get included in one or more communities---but just don't fit in because of individual differences which make them "unacceptable." Other people compulsively work to conform and fit into one or more communities; even if at the cost of their personal integrity. They become experts at appearing to be the kind of person which their community expects them to be; even if it entails losing touch with their own personal experiences, convictions, desires, hopes and aspirations. A few people find ways to be creative members of integrative communities---being true to themselves and each other. Some communities define themselves by who is excluded and for what reasons. Some of them work hard at creating enemies in terms of whom they can define their own communities. In the absence of some evil enemies they would be at loss as to how to define themselves; so they create enemies in terms of which to define themselves. This is often done in terms of identifying fundamental differences between themselves and their enemies; differences in terms of which they are each proud of themselves and aghast at the behaviors of each other. They often resort to extreme measures such as disfellowshipping, excommunication, terrorism, and holy wars in attempts to stamp out evil which they do not know how to transcend in any way. Some communities define themselves in terms of education and accomplishments. The focus of education may be religious, philosophical, literary, historical, political, military, professional, scientific, technological, etc. The accomplishments may entail the accumulation of money, possessions, power, reputations, etc. Other communities define themselves in terms of heredity and birth-rights. All depends upon parentage. Education, accomplishments, beliefs, faith, etc. are all irrelevant. Yet other communities are dedicated to promoting personal and communal integrity in the widest scope possible. They are not exclusive, but rather seek to be as inclusive as is possible---without being coercive. They seek to provide secure contexts within which diverse people find it possible to be true to themselves and each other because they are free and feel free to be safely vulnerable in intimate dialogue with many different kinds of people in many different kinds of communities. Some communities are exclusive in terms of the personal qualifications of people whom they permit to be members. Included may be the qualification that a person must not be a participant in other communities. Loyalty is define in very exclusive terms. Loyalty must be total, unquestioning. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================