Wherever I go and ask people what is missing from their lives, the most common answer (if they are not impoverished or seriously ill) is “community.” What happened to community, and why don’t we have it any more? There are many reasons – the layout of suburbia, the disappearance of public space, the automobile and the television, the high mobility of people and jobs – and, if you trace the “why’s” a few levels down, they all implicate the money system. More directly posed: community is nearly impossible in a highly monetized society like our own. That is because community is woven from gifts, which is ultimately why poor people often have stronger communities than rich people. If you are financially independent, then you really don’t depend on your neighbors – or indeed on any specific person – for anything. You can just pay someone to do it, or pay someone else to do it.
On one level, we are only frail beings trying to survive in a rapidly changing, often fearful world; on another level we are nascent geniuses trying to contribute meaning, intelligence and beauty to the world around us.
Unfortunately, modern mass culture and modern education tend to obscure and ignore natural genius while promoting a massive sameness amongst its citizens. Genius is part of the essence of a person; it is the spirit that is already there, hidden inside when a person is born. It can be denied, but cannot simply disappear. Everyone wants to be seen as special because at the level of inner genius everyone is special. Each has some gift to give and each has a unique way of delivering it. Fulfillment involves the recognition and expression of the inner spirit and natural genius that enters the world with each person born.