Neighbors: Part 2

The potential for communal impact is more abundant in densely populated areas (there are simply more people around), yet we associate the thought of tightly bonded communities with small towns with far fewer people. Why?

Maybe it’s because cities abstract the needs, desires, and judgements of a community to groups of a higher order (often companies, governments, clubs, associations, etc). Because I pass 600 people on the street every morning, no one person is particularly incidental. In addition, consensus or norms and values cannot easily be spread or enforced with a population of this size. After all, shame only works if you see the person again.

However, all is not lost on the cityfolk. With the wide range of norms and values, it lures in folks who may not identify with the tribe where they currently exist. Smaller, and more intense tribes can exist among noise of the crowd, making a community bond which may be more relevant, more intentional, and even stronger than those which are built through proximity alone.

Of course, we can’t go without mentioning the biggest city of them all - the internet. No matter your physical location or how niche, bizarre, or grotesque your interests are, you’ll find others like you.

Maybe we’ll forever desire the tribal bonds - the ones that were once bound by suffering (in a world that has far less of it than we were designed for). For the first time in human history many of us have the agency to choose our tribes, despite our lack of experience to make such assessments.