Communities aren’t built from the top down, they’re built from the bottom up. It begins with the individual. Attitudes toward your own community derive from knowing this. It’s the acknowledgement that you can do something positive in your own life and influence others rather than focusing on the hopeless and disheartening conditioning of mainstream media and news. It pulls you in to focus on everything around you that you can change, rather than the plethora of information overload flooding you with things that you can’t change.
Here is the ladder to reaching community improvement:
- Create positive changes in your personal life. From your mental attitude and confidence, to your physical health and motivations.
- Influence those around you through building encouragement, sharpening, and trust.
- Create a tribe, a social sphere, a group, or a club. Build relationships.
- Guard your mind and heart, don’t allow yourself to be dragged down by destructive influences.
- Look for opportunities to respect and help others – put yourself in others’ shoes.
- Recognize that you have something of value to offer and find a sense of belonging through your own local involvement.
The false tendency today is that citizens assume they must ask or demand someone else to make these changes for them, as a model of democracy. That one must petition, protest, and demand that others hear your vision and create it on your behalf. The fallacy that it’s a noble fight to make these demands and expect governments or other groups of power to fix things from the top down.
This isn’t the practical functioning structure for improving society through liberty and freedom. Legal changes and laws imposed do not create more meaningful and improved lives. It must be implemented through voluntary action, motivated by love, and from the individual level upward.
Complaining and demanding does not create improved communities. It shirks the responsibility off of yourself. When John F. Kennedy said the words, “Ask not what your Country can do for you, ask what you can do for your Country,” it was the most significant and defining statement of this individual responsibility in a community.
The violent protests and riots that we are seeing in America today have very clear and unarguable results – they destroy communities, they destroy property, and they create a hostile environment in which no communication can transpire. Yelling demands and name-calling on a bullhorn is not what our communities need when there is a discrepancy of listening and communication. There are many other productive and positive needs that anyone can easily participate in and put their time into that will improve others’ individual lives. If your actions are helping other individuals, how can it not improve a community? On the other hand, if you’re shouting and name-calling at groups that have a different opinion and viewpoint from your own, how can it not hurt your community?
Top-down collectivism works against bottom-up individualism because it’s a fight for a zero-sum game. The people aren’t divided into individuals, they are divided into factions fighting for their own faction interests. Unfortunately Faction A’s interests can only be actualized at the cost of Faction B’s interests, and vice versa. Either Faction A wins, and Faction B is plundered, or Faction B wins and Faction A is plundered. Collectivism fights primarily for group rights, while individualism fights for the human rights that every person is born with. Individualism fights for people to be judged by the “content of their character” which, when it comes down to it, is the most important part of who we are and something that we can all unite under. We all want to be respected and loved, to be acknowledged, to be given opportunity, and to be treated the same as our fellow man. When we are empowered and encouraged at the individual level, we are functioning at our best. This translates to a healthier, happier, and more resilient community in which people feel free and liberated to contribute and give back to others. Are your loyalties to your faction and special-interest groups fighting at the cost of building community and personal relationships? Does furthering the interests of your faction facilitate communication, respect, and building something positive? Are you trying to create a top-down imposition on others or building your vision through personal everyday action?
I believe that if we can keep our heads on straight despite the chaos and uproar in the mainstream media, and just focus on what we can do to improve the sphere around us as individuals, we will find that nothing will dishearten and divide us. Not the politicians in office, not the biased news media outlets, and especially not the bantering and trolling on social media. This is a time in history where survival depends on whether we get swept away in the sea of social chaos or ground ourselves in our own true and honest values and tread forward as individuals that value person-to-person community more than impersonal loyalty to various factions that impose their views on people from the top down.
Communities are built from the bottom up, so ask yourself today: What can you do for your community?
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