Updated: Jan 3, 2020
For a society to even exist, there must be a social fabric, a common thread that ties it all together.
The very word ‘society’ is a derivative of the word ‘social’ and humans, by their very nature, are social beings.
There is no society, where people are not social.
There is something in your nature that yearns for meaningful human connection.
It’s how you’re built, to cooperate with others
To share, to Love, to belong.
To reinforce your identity through your interaction with others who seemingly share a similar story – a common narrative.
But lately, it is the rise of the ‘individual’ that has given rise to a distorted definition of freedom.
A definition that seems to value individual pursuits over the pursuit of more collective ones
Its no wonder people are feeling increasingly isolated
Its no wonder loneliness is becoming an epidemic
And the science is pretty conclusive; loneliness is detrimental to your health.
The sad reality – it is us who isolate ourselves, reflected in the often-misguided choices we make.
So what then is this social fabric, what is it that ties us all together?
Communities, by their essence, are generally built on shared needs, a common purpose and on the ethos of reciprocity.
Do for others, as you would have them do unto you.
This extends well beyond having merely shared interests, as interests can be largely superficial, change often and vary vastly.
But rather it is the under pinning of shared values that ultimately provides the foundation on which a community can be built and flourish.
As an individual, you have a part to play - for it always begins with the individual - but contrary to modern perceptions, that’s not where it ends.
For it is the individual working in tandem within the family and more broadly within the community in which they live.
The family then is the most basic unit of measure in any society.
It’s the default social glue, and when it begins to unravel, societies begin to crumble.
There’s no denying that for all of us, the ‘family’ is where life ultimately begins.
It’s the most basic of support structures, without it, children could not survive, let alone thrive.
But the very definition of the family has largely changed or been altered.
It is no longer clear.
There’s an ambiguity around what constitutes a family let alone what its function should be, or whether it even still has utility in ‘modern’ society (beyond ensuring children survive those critical early years).
The natural extension of the family is the community.
Usually local, usually bound together through established social bonds and institutions.
The rates of urbanisation are the highest they’ve ever been in the course of human history.
We seem increasingly unlikely to hang around or hang close to where we grew up.
We’re all moving to mega-cities, in pursuit of higher wages, more opportunities, and lifestyle, in the eternal quest to stay relevant and keep up with the times.
The result, communities can hardly be considered communities at all anymore.
It seems unnatural to try and navigate the world devoid of these fundamental building blocks – but yet we do.
How many of your neighbours do you know by name?
How often do you see your extended family, how much time do you spend together?
How often do you go down to your local square to interact with your community?
You probably don’t, because reality is that the villages, towns and cities are no longer even built that way.
They aren’t built to bring us together, but it’s almost rather as if they are intentionally built to keep us apart.
So what then do we do about all this – in these modern societies?
Societies that are increasingly expensive,
Societies where we spend most our time concerning ourselves with paying our bills and servicing our debts
Where self-preservation has become the central mantra
Where we are content to just survive and keep up appearances, rather than fully thrive as human beings.
Well the secret is no big secret at all; it’s actually rather elementary.
Know you, find your people, and connect with them.
It’s a case of going back to basics and returning to your roots
Reclaiming your sense of identity and re establishing the fundamentals.
It’s about human connection and that sense of belonging.
Individual, family, community.
Getting clear on what you stand for and projecting that outwardly into the world – letting your vibe attract your tribe and then cherishing that.
It’s about Loving your neighbour as you would Love thyself.
In being able to differentiate between needs and wants
It’s about knowing your community, doing your bit and making your contribution
It’s about making the effort to nurture meaningful human relationships.
For it’s these relationships, nothing else, that will ultimately define you.
As my father used to always say: “show me who your real friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”