After spending time this month on my own as well as with friends that I only see once a year I wanted to reflect a little bit on the importance of having a community. We are social creatures by nature. We aren’t meant to be alone although I will admit I relish my time alone and if I had to be on my own for long periods of time I could manage.
“Man is by nature a social animal; Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ”Aristotle, Politics
This quote always made me think of wolves whenever I rad it. Wolves are by nature a pack animal. They need the social interaction of the pack to whole and healthy. People do as well even though there are times when our pack or community may not always be the best. Earlier I said I could manage on my own all alone for a long time. I can but by Aristotle’s thinking I would be either a beast or a god. I am neither. While I am okay alone, I am never truly all alone. After all God is with me always and I am one of those people who will talk to themselves. So perhaps I should say that God ahs given me the ability to survive just fine on my own.
Yet I crave interaction just as much as the next person. I love the time I spend with friends and things they always manage to get me to do. None of it is bad but because my community of friends understands me they will push me to do things I never would otherwise. After spending time with them I always return home refreshed and a little of the woman I remember myself being in my younger years. Before marriage, kids, divorce, and a billion responsibilities.
The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation.Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1879
The woman who knew and understand being part of a larger community gave her a better purpose. Not the woman who allows herself to get bogged down under the stresses of life. Without all of the people in my life I wouldn’t be the woman I am today but rather a shadow of her. I would have far to afraid to go it alone when my marriage fell apart.
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While we may think we don’t need a community that could not be farther from the truth. We are social people, simply born that way. Although there are plenty of moments I am happy alone I find that I couldn’t get through this life without my community.