08 Nov
To Belong or not to Belong? That is the Question


Living on a street in Jodhpur, India, it's doubtful if this mother and sonbelong to a community unless it's one composed of outsiders.

    Do you belong to a community, whether it be the Rotary Club , the Association of Left-handed Painters, or something in between like the British royal family? For most people, it is likely that the answer is “yes”. If so, what is it that makes you belong? Being - at least in some cases - social creatures wanting to bond with like-minded folks may be the answer. In that case, I assume you draw strength - or comfort - by so doing. I think that we do all want to belong to some entity rather than choosing isolation like a lost penguin in the heart of Rwanda.    

  Are there downsides to this need to belong? For example, do we have to show deference to or follow the community’s leader, whether it be James Jones of Jonestown fame or Mahatma Gandhi? In doing so, are we bowing to an authoritarian figure and, perhaps, losing some of our individuality in the process? I don’t pretend to know the answers to these questions. Nevertheless, I’m inclined to think that we should always question what we are being told instead of merely accepting what we hear, read, or whatever. If we don’t do this, it seems to me that we are running the risk of being brainwashed (assuming that all of us are the owners of a brain in the first place.).

   I am not sure where I belong, as I don’t steadfastly adhere to any one community. I’ve been told something different; namely that I belong to a community of outsiders. That, to me, is a nebulous concept. I do know that I’m Jewish, however, despite rarely attending a synagogue service. And, also, I’m proud to be Jewish. After all, despite centuries of discrimination and far worse, we are still here even though some ( or many) would rather see us disappear.   

    Ok. Enough of this babble. I just think we need to retain our individuality and our freedom, and always be prepared to be curious and question whatever we are told. You may disagree, and that’s just fine and dandy! I must confess to this being a rather superficial treatment of a huge subject but I’ve never been accused of being too profound.

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