What does it mean to be a healthy community?
The answer to this question requires a broad view of community development and an understanding of the historical factors that led us to where we are now.
Healthy societies have traditionally developed through face to face conversation. From the Aboriginal talking circle to Socrates in the Agora, dialogue has been at the heart of meaningful relationships and collective governance. We as humans live by stories that frame our understanding of ourselves, our world, and our human possibilities.
The agricultural revolution and the organization of city-states at the time of the industrial revolution changed both the purpose and the nature of the community. Factories became the heart of the community and determined where people lived and worked, and what their children were taught. Whether manufacturing a product, building a company, governing a community, or educating a child, everything became a unit of production and success measured against economic return on investment and not community well being.
Our shared stories create a culture of values, understanding, and expectations that are the foundation of true democracy
The last western civilization to subscribe to true democracy was ancient Greece. Socratic dialogue was built on the belief that when people talk to one another about things that really matter, understanding deepens and community develops. This model allows individual thinking to connect and build a strong and resilient society.
Economic growth has dominated the agenda since the Industrial Revolution and has left us fractured in our thinking and competitive in disposition.