My favorite description of a
community comes from Jane Jacobs. She was living on the West Side of New York
City. And she’s upstairs, looking out over the street, and she sees a guy
pulling a nine-year-old girl angrily. So she’s about to go down to check out
the situation, but as she’s walking down, she notices the butcher has come out of
his butcher shop. The lady at the fruit stand has come out into the street. The
locksmith has come out into the street. And she writes, “That guy didn’t
realize it but he was surrounded.” There were people there, ready
to act if he did anything wrong. And that’s, to me, what community is. It’s a
bunch of people looking after each other, a bunch of people seeing each other—and
seeing each other deeply, taking the time to really enter into relationship with each other
and to depend upon one another. And to me, the end result of all
this is a sort of joyfulness. You can be happy alone. You win a game,
you get a promotion, you feel big about yourself. Happiness is the expansion of self. But joy is the merger of self. It’s a kind of thing that happens when you
forget where you end and something else begins. When you really are being deeply into each other.

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