“How does one keep from "growing old inside"? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.” - Robert McAfee Brown

“We must love one another or die.” - W.H. Auden

I cannot escape the conclusion that man is entirely and without exception a social being. The 'need to belong is strong' within us all. Community is integral to our identity and our wellbeing. The native people in Africa below the Sahara, commonly practice the spirit of "ubuntu", a belief which translates as: "A person is a person because of other people.”

We are seeing an upsurge in the consciousness and global awareness of a large proportion of the Western population which is translating into a concern for the local and global communities in which we live. (This group has been called "Culture Creatives" by sociologist Paul Ray.) Unfortunately for some people their 'circle of concern' is not yet matched by their 'circle of enaction', nor by the belief, individually and collectively, that we can make a difference and solve the long outstanding problems in the world. This is in turn causing deep frustration and unease.

We degrade community (and the environment) at our own peril. But for the past few generations, during the "scientific and industrial revolutions" we have been doing just that. Fortunately, community, like life, is resilient and for every policy and technology which isolates us, we find ways of reconnecting with our fellow man. (The internet and 'generation Y' are spectacular examples of this.)

Organisations must also honour (local and global) community, for this is also where their strength and significance resides. It has long been shown (Collins & Porras in "Built to Last" for example) that community-minded organisations are more successful and last longer. There is nothing more engaging for employees than to believe that the work they do has a wider meaning beyond the organisational goals. This connection to community is inspiring and empowering. Adaptive Learning passionately believes that the very best so-called, "team building" activities are not three day adventure playgrounds (although these have their place), but the volunteering of an entire team to work for a community charity for the day. Happily we are now seeing the re-integration of mainstream for-profit organisations with the communities in which they reside, supply and service. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is both real and necessary.

Please ask us about our highly successful Community Engagment and Action Learning Program developed in conjunction with Swinburne University.

“No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” - John Donne, 16th C metaphysical poet and clergyman