The Community As It Is (Pt.2)

Donna of Enterprise Rent-A-Car had such high job satisfaction because she was doing her part.

Her community is still as it was 50 years ago and it takes everyone to make the whole thing work.

That was the community as it was.

Simple small businesses that were engaged in pure commerce; a good or service that was needed for modern life in exchange for money (in some cases in exchange for homemade jam and fresh bread).

There was very little luxury and leisure was not a staple of the vernacular. If I had have told my grandfather that ‘I don’t think I’ll do anything today,’ he would’ve given me a look that asked how the apple could’ve possibly fallen so far from the tree.

In the community that was you didn’t do nothing in the community. You couldn’t. And those who did were appropriately shamed for their lack of contribution.

In some ways the first modern communities were the initial hijacking of our human condition; instead of foraging and gathering (truly meaningful and rewarding) we were now selling insurance, pumping gas or working at the rental car company (orders of magnitude less rewarding).

Nonetheless, Donna’s customer service was off the charts and I simultaneously applauded and admired her. Service with a smile. Her community depends on her to hold up her part of the bargain.

The community as it is couldn’t be more different.

We are very clearly not all needed and we are very clearly not most concerned about doing our small part.

The community as it is is a global one; every single aspect of life interconnected.

The MacBook I currently type these words with has touched thousands of different people on next to every continent (sorry Australia and Antarctica). I depend on an equal number of humans for my morning coffee and I depend on even more to satisfy the three basic tenants of the Third Industrial Revolution; energy, mobility and communication.

It’s likely the best time ever to be a modern-day human but do we have a chronic lack of meaning? Is it because we know we are completely replaceable in the system we’ve built? Is it because there are people who are not deeply needed by a single person? This was not possible until now.

Meaning and the community are curious things.

There are studies that suggest some of the most harrowing events in ones life are the most meaningful; the experience of battling and being victorious against the Emperor of All Maladies, the rebuild of Europe after WWII and the record number of American flags flying proudly directly following the events of 9/11.

Now, I don’t wish any of these three things become part of the modern agenda, and hopefully we will beat disease, war and terrorism on the double. But I do suggest we need each other and I suggest that some of us are mourning the loss of the community.

Markets are changing, industries are being disrupted and certain folks are being excluded from the game. The system is too large for any of us to understand and it may be in this that we can flip the script.

Our interconnectedness gives us the chance to ensure everyone is present and accounted for. Further, we can ensure everyone is needed.

Modernity is in it’s infancy. Slavery was legal in the United States of America (and colonial period0 for longer than it has been abolished. We’ve been here in our current form for merely a blip and we haven’t yet defined the rules.

We can start by redefining what is productive in the economy; changing our ideas around work.

We’re going to need a lot of new educators, a ton of geriatric care and companionship workers, technical fields like insurance and banking will be obliterated, the experience economy has never been bigger and markets are quickly transitioning to a new corporate value system.

In 2019 we get the chance to redefine the community. And with it? A new future.