Community Units

Community Units

It is important to have solutions to human life that are of the appropriate size and scale. Additionally, some solutions are only appropriate for one scale and some for another. Most save the world solutions I hear are brilliant for their context, and I think the hardest part of all is envisioning mechanisms to enable systems on different scales to interact with each other.

In ‘From Dictatorship To Democracy’ Gene Sharp makes many references to social, cultural and intellectual institutions as a source of concentrated activity that can be usefully opposed to oppressive regimes. This is an example of medium-sized collections of people having an impact on macro-sized institutions and is therefore a model we could take forward into new worlds.

These institutions take form around an idea, sometimes as broad as ‘Education’ or ‘Art’ but also more specific such as ‘Humanism’ or ‘Chess’. Small groups of people forming communities around tasks or ideas is something I’m heavily into when it comes to world saving, so I’m pleased to keep in mind that such groups, if necessary, can form broad alliances or opinions on the institutions that exist on the next level up from them, the macro-level, and potentially affect change on that level.

As soon as I have typed this, I hear G. in my head tut-tutting over ‘pyramids’ the metaphor he uses to describe unhelpful hierarchical structures. Therefore let us say this: escaping the dictatorship of Protestant-Military-Industrial-Late-Stage-Capitalism is important for changing the world. People are most easily motivated around a task, event or idea. Smaller-scale institutions organised around an idea can, if they align somewhat with a few other institutions, make a powerful impact on regimes that seem much bigger than them. Therefore: more groups, more ideas and more community units is one of the ways forward.


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