Current lifestyles inhibit the creation of community, according to a recent article.
“For most of human history, we have lived in small tribal groups of 50 to 250 people, and at an instinctual level we still crave bonds to people outside our immediate families,” wrote Nicholas Albery in the January-February issue of Utne Reader.
The formation of relationships with those around us, even as acquaintances, comforts the human psyche and makes us feel less alone, according to the article.
“Modern society, with its hectic pace and painstakingly scheduled round of activities and amusements, deprives us of these satisfying community bonds,” wrote Albery. “The alienation and depression that typify modern life may stem in part from a deficiency of our basic requirements for what I call vitamin T–tribal connection.”
This deficiency has created a condition of genuine loneliness in our communal lives, Albery argued.
“Most urban dwellers, and perhaps even more people in the suburbs and country these days, know this feeling deep in themselves, but few can find an opening to talk about it.”
While village life may have stymied access to the larger world, current lifestyles of fast global connections make more local bonds harder to solidify, according to Albery.
We travel great distances with ease, and we communicate instantly with people around the world, Albery noted. But we often fail to build community with those who live and work in our immediate area.
“I believe we have a built-in, probably biologically rooted, need to live in proximity with a tribe, working and celebrating cooperatively within a geographical neighborhood,” wrote Albery.
Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director.