Three Constitutive Communities of the Self

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Dave Pollard:

"Who we are, our self-ishness, is, I've concluded, merely the composite expression of our communities, the three communities that are telling us, all the time, what to do and who to be:

1. Our Visceral Community: the organs inside our bodies, that trust our instincts and senses, and tell us to fall in love, to make love, to fight or flee when we're threatened or overcrowded or struggling with unnatural scarcity.

2. Our Social Community: the people and other creatures we love and/or trust, that tell us to communicate, to express ourselves, to band together, to compete and to collaborate.

3. Our Natural Community: the collective organism of all-life-on-Earth, that tells us to adapt, to welcome, to commune, to live in grace, to make the place where we live sustainable and joyful for all.

Each of these Communities (from the Latin meaning sharing) is also an Organism (from the Latin meaning instrument). So each of these Communities both (a) uses the process of sharing to express us (from the Latin meaning to present or show outside of itself), and (b) is an instrument or tool of that expression. Our Communities make us what we are. Our sense of ourselves as individuals, as something 'apart' is a fiction, what Cohen and Stewart in their book of the same name call figments of reality. We seem to be individuals, apart, but that is because the movie, the story that is 'our' life is so cleverly constructed, and re-presented in what appears to us to be linear time, that it looks coherent." (