By Natasha Nixon
Through many generations, there has always been a small population that attempted to live a life of the common use of goods, some harking back to Bible times and religious principles. Some lasted longer than others did, but human nature being what it is, most dwindled away, such as the Shakers.
Examples that are more recent would be the “Hippy” communes and the collective life of some Charismatic Christians through the 1960’s, and in Israel, the Kibbutz program is still operating. For many in the U.S., the word “commune” was, and for some, still is, associated with “Communism,” and therefore, rejected out of hand.
Today, there has been a growth of “for the common good” thinking. Much of this “thinking” has been brought forth by the internet, and the realization of the wealth of information available to each of us today. For those who grew up using the public library and a news magazine as their only source of credible information, realizing that now, all that information, and more, is at their fingertips. Today, “we” has replaced “them” and “us.”
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A new term, “open source,” has come to represent the existence of “we,” the act of producing something, and then, giving it away. Open source software is the most visible of this way of thinking. Early pc programmers were excited to see their code used by others.
The simple application of “we,” in addition to “me,” will start conscience awareness. A simple decision “to not do anything that will be detrimental to others” opens our minds to consideration of others and our environment.
Co-ops, especially of farmers, have been around for a long time, and farmers are still a great example of community use of private property. They routinely gather to put up hay, or bring in a crop for a sick or injured neighbor. Some of their equipment is used for a very short time, and thus is shared with the neighbors, knowing that they will do the same for them.
In cities, we can look for an empty lot that could be a community garden, or form car pools for work or events. Shoveling snow from an elderly neighbor’s walk, or helping someone repair a porch railing, not only helps them, but also helps you to get to know them better. That shoveled snow helps everyone who walks by, and a repaired porch railing makes the neighborhood look better.
The Boy Scouts have a motto, “Do a good deed every day.” That would be a good motto for all of us.