Existential Psychology

Build A Community Around Yourself

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The irony is that the more individualistic a culture becomes the more its members need community. In existential thought we often focus on the individual with concepts like self-actualization, personal freedom and personal responsibility. We glorify individuation as the most noble of enterprises.

But what we easily lose sight of is the existential reality that individuation means isolation and with it loneliness. Humans need other humans to be happy and healthy, a fact that’s so obvious it doesn’t even really need to be communicated here, except that in a culture ruled by the moralistic assumption that individuality is a good and necessary thing, unconscious internal conflict is born because everyone knows on a deep level that they need community. But they’re taught to be wary of it, to see it as a form of control, as an ideological force that limits rights and freedom.

But it’s absolutely essential to actively build a community around yourself, precisely because the individualistic mentality keeps this basic human need from being a given. It’s easy to isolate yourself in almost every sphere of your life, to go from work to home to back again without much human interaction, without ever feeling a sense of belonging. And this is a real shame, to take the individualistic mentality so far that you use it as a rationalization to isolate yourself, telling yourself you don’t need to be part of a community to be happy.