by Becca Tzigany
We need each other. No matter how independent-minded we may become, we are all descendants of tribes. And all tribes depend on the Earth (and their particular ecosystem where they live) for their sustenance, and on each other for their safety.
As humans, we appear to be hardwired to relate to about 150 people. This is called the Dunbar number: “the number of people with whom we can maintain a meaningful relationship, whether in a hunter-gatherer society or on Facebook.” (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/mar/14/my-bright-idea-robin-dunbar) Robin Dunbar, director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University, researched what has historically made up functional community, and it boils down to relationship based on trust and obligation.
In an Integral sense, the child is nested (nest: appropriate word) in the family, and the family in the clan, the clan in the tribe, the tribe in the nation, and the nation in the world. We can, of course, go on: Earth is a holon** nested in our Solar System, which is part of the Milky Way Galaxy, etc.
We live in the Great Holarchy of Being.
On the physical plane, it appears like this:
Venus and Her Lover illustrates the harmony that is possible among lovers. As we learn relationship skills, we can extend that harmony to our greater communities. Relationship skills include
listening & communication
conflict resolution practices
trust & trustworthiness
intention for the highest outcome
ability to express love & compassion
The perfect place to practice these skills is in community. With a whole variety of people with their unique backgrounds and perspectives, we have the diverse skill set needed to co-create the kind of neighborhood/town/region where children can grow up healthy.
“It takes a village to raise a child.”
~ Igbo/Yoruba (Nigerian) proverb
What happens when we don’t practice cooperation and collaboration on common goals? Environmental crises, destruction of habitats (including our own), disease, social isolation, psychological neurosis . . . an unhealthy place to raise children. That would never fly in a tribe.
The safe space that we can sustain for community then allows the individuals within it to pursue their independent vocations and self-expressions. No one can do this for us: it is our collaborative creation.
So let’s do it! Go out and practice with your 150 closest friends! Then let’s see what kind of world we’ll be living in.
People in our community came together to practice. Here is what it looked like:
The Yab/Yum Foundation for Sustainable Relationship promotes harmony between men and women in relationship, as well as people dealing with one another in community. On February 4th, 2012, Becca presented in a workshop on how people can come together during these stressful times of social and economic disintegration. Along with members of the local group ¡VIVA! (“facilitating ideas and practices for thriving community”), Becca led a crowd of 40 people in exercises aimed at removing the obstacles to separation and building trust among members of the Vilcabamba, Ecuador, international community.
* * HOLON = something that is simultaneously a whole and a part.