May 7, 2004

Thoughts intersecting on community

- Communities are communities because of borders. They are structural, things of form.

- Philosophical practice has always depended on community but some philosophies distrust knowledge that isn't individual.
- All knowledge that is communal is open to being revisited, returned to, re-kneaded. The conversation can always be continued. Communal knowledge is a ground, but never a final foundation.
- Individual knowledge refuses to be considered in a conversation. It is an absolute that cannot be opened to talk for it cannot be reshaped or reiterated but only insisted. Individual knowledge pounds on the table in insistence of being right, neither offering to participate in the un-final act of talking or to allow any other considerations to take place, since the very fact of this communal talking denies the claim of closure which is
- Descartes needed to claim the end of philosophy, yet "The End of Philosophy" (Wittgenstein, Derrida, etc) is the opening to the questioning and conversing without end.
- Deconstructionism tells us that meaning, to be recognized as meaning, must be translatable and retraceable. Texts, e.g., must be communal and the author must be "dead."

- I've lived in two communities, both artificial: first, a Wendell Berry influenced post-hippie and neo-mennonite Christian commune; second, a Russell Kirk liberal arts/great books college of conservatives across the spectrum. In both cases the communities were self-conscious about their attempts at community and (generalizing) they resulted in deep satisfaction and growth mixed with dark inbreeding and nastiess.
- Watching the natural community around me, a black "ghetto" along the train tracks and industrial side of these suburbs outside of Philadelphia, I see the same two sides intermingled, as children grow up together in the streets and parks and everyone knows each other and supports each other, but are blighted by drugs and multiple levels of violence.
- Is this mixture of the wonderful and evil as inseperable as it seems and, how can consider it in attempting to create communities.

- What separates apparently failed blogging communities from successful ones? The former being Hillsdale's LXB or the Reformed Circle, the latter being the New Brutalists, or the neoconservatives. What should a fledgling blogging community like the neocalvinists' consider for their future?

- Individualism, for us, will always be too transparent for full recognition.
- Our viewing of individualism shows it's waning.
- People who came of age in the 80s and 90s, we're told, want to define themselves by their friends where their parents and grandparents would look to economic, ethnic/religious, political or familial definitions.
- Every group of friends I have had has entertained some fantasy of sustainable community.

- Academia looks at movements or schools, but might better call them conversations and communities.
- Art is considered, superficially, to be an personal activity. Something demanding quiet, maybe loneliness. Yet, art thrives in communities.
- Considering community in the canon, we find the concern is constant, the fear of being without community is always with us. When not an overt concern, it is often an underpinning, e.g., Beowulf is under-themed of community: the old king, the great mead hall, the lonely son-of-Cain monster, the return home, the funeral pyre.
- What academic discipline doesn't consider communities?

- The search for community among Christians manifests itself as primitivism opposed to a Christianity centered on an isolating and individualizing church service, and seeking a faith subsisting of a life lived together.
- The search for community among Christians manifests itself as a move toward liturgy, where worship is recognized as a communal and participatory action and the Church is not a thing of tenants and propriety but a body of the living and the dead in the service and worship of Christ.
- Primitivists and liturgists, ostensibly polar, both believe that true faith and doctrine take place within the community that is the Church.
- The recent history of Christian movements is divided between those seeking "a personal faith" and those seeking a tradition.
- The Scripture, textually and historically, is not a thing of private devotions and revelations, but a public book. The Reformation's strength or weakness is found here, for it either made the book available all, saving the bible from clerical gnosticism, or made the book an individual affair, sheering it of its communal openness and limiting it to private exegesis.
- The two primary doctrines of Christianity, the Trinity and the Incarnation, are by nature communal.