Community is not just about organizing people, it is about gathering with others for the greater good of all. Most of the community we experience is unplanned. You might go for a walk and meet a neighbour with her dog coming towards you. You might smile when her dog barks and stop as it runs towards you letting him know it's okay for him to greet you. You might bend down and let the dog smell your hand and talk to it gently, musically. His eyes will look at you and his tail will wag if he's happy to meet you. He may be thinking "Oh dear, there's a person without a dog - she must be lonely all by herself". Or he may be thinking "What's that smell - must investigate". You won't know just what he is thinking but his energy and enthusiasm will greet you and you'll know you have been addressed.
This is mostly how community works - without planning and with some trust.
Community planning is good too, but when we begin to rely on someone else to make the rules we begin to feel powerless.
I want to clarify the line between men in general and patriarchal values propagated and imposed on human society.
In order for patriarchy to succeed, it had to kill more efficiently than the nine months gestation it took for a woman to give birth. So the craft of war became more than simply defending territory. It became the ritualized erasure of our human nature for the rule of centralized power.
And no, it hasn't succeeded in diminishing the human population on this planet but it has succeeded in sustaining an ideology of what it means to be a man.
Civilizations built on myths of great conquerors. Histories about the exploits of the greatest killers. Inventions of race, religious ideology and ritual that transformed the teachings of thoughtful prophets into crusades. Endless games of winning and losing. Men who celebrate life through medicine, science, education, art, philosophy and poetry must be dismissed as soft, shamed as effeminate.
Where does "Greatness" come from? The imagination? Facts? Confidence? A willing suspension of disbelief in a slogan that makes us happy? A capacity to judge well? An ability to observe and find solutions that benefit most if not all? Taking responsibility for the community? A masters degree from Oxford or Yale?
Let me offer the opinion that greatness comes from extraordinary effort or talent. Greatness as it may exist in our anonymous ambitions does not win fame except in isolated circumstances. That is to say, fame is not a realistic goal for an individual.
Greatness is like a dove in the imagination, an angel, a temporary insight, a fleeting epiphany. Something aspired to in the privacy of our minds.
Greatness was an ambition I held when I was a teen and had no proof that I was good at anything or useful to the world at all. After repeated criticism and dismissal from the community around me where I attempted to win something, anything, like a medal, a competition, or a…
I wonder how to protect you keep you safe from uniforms with men inside who have pledged to follow orders in prisons where doors are locked so I can’t get in and you can’t get out even though all you want is your mother or brother or sister and the crying of other children warns of danger as if there was anything you could have done different and the uniformed bodies are not smiling but hard and I suspect your infant heart beats louder than your screams sensing that something you can’t name has gone terribly wrong. But these words are merely a stranger’s attempt to do something, anything like send a card with butterflies that opens to a nursery rhyme to make the terror go away knowing she can't.