Be A Part Of Something Bigger Than Yourself
We all want to feel like we belong. Like we’re an essential part of something. And yet, how often do we get to feel that way? Especially in the modern day, where it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling lonely, isolated, and like you’re all alone.
Despite this, we often hear people talking about togetherness, particularly the word “community,” which gets thrown around a lot. But what is community? Let’s find out together, explore what the word means, and look at some of the different communities you may already be off w
What Does Community Mean?
What is community? To put it simply, a community is a group of people. Any size group of people will do, from a handful to hundreds and hundreds, even thousands and millions. But what’s more essential about these people is what’s brought them together and put them into this group. What do they have in common?
Because that turns people from a disparate group into a community, they will all have something in common. But what?
For some communities, the thing they have in common is that they all live in the same place. When we think of the word community, the thing that springs to mind is a village or a town. A small group of people all live in the same small area, near one another. Neighbors, of a sort.
But community can cover many different groups than just people who live near each other. For example, several people who are members of the same pottery club might be considered to be a community. There might not be as many of them as in a small town, but the definition still stands. They’re part of a group with a mutual interest, so they’re part of a community.
Likewise, you could look at groups of people who are all members of the same religion to be a community. Communities like these often spring up around a focal point, like a synagogue, temple, or church.
Such communities are often based around something vital to a person’s identity. Other examples might include groups primarily for people who identify as a specific sexuality or gender identity, people who have a common job type like police or fire services, or people who have reached old age.
With the rise of online services, video games, and social media platforms, the definition of a community and what it means to be in one have changed slightly. However, because the internet has allowed people to connect worldwide to argue about science fiction programs and laugh at pictures of cats, communities are often not limited by geographical proximity.
However, despite that, the terms of admission are now somewhat different. In the past, you could become a member of a pottery society (remember those folks? They still love their pots) just by attending a meeting of their group. Now, you no longer have to participate in the group in a physical sense; you can join an online version.
Now, you’re a part of the community, all of you throwing pots together but doing it in your own homes and sharing videos of your efforts with each other. Now, you must make a conscious decision to join this community. First, you must be listed and sometimes ratified and approved by someone to join it. There will also invariably be a list of people who belong to that community.
It may not be new in a historical context. Documents like parish registers and the census have recorded people’s geographical membership in a community for hundreds of years. But having a membership list for more niche interest groups, particularly online, is a much more recent phenomenon.
So, now we know what a community is: It’s a group of people who all share something in common, like an interest, religion, hobby, or where they live. But where do we get the word itself from?
Where Does Community Come From?
Community, as a word, has some pretty deep roots. The word comes from the Old French word “comuneté,” which is still in use today, although it’s now spelled “communauté.” So you can see where, even how we pronounce it comes from there, can’t you?
However, that’s not the start of the chain, only the middle of it. If you look even further back, you’ll find the Latin word “communitas,” which in itself comes from the word “communis,” which means “common.”
What’s notable about this, other than it makes for a good bit of trivia for a general knowledge quiz, is that you have a word that stretches back through thousands of years of history. Not only that, but unlike most words, it hasn’t ever really changed its meaning. The original word itself means the same thing as the modern version, which is something that, in etymology terms, is quite rare.