On our collective architecture

by Dorian Minors

March 28, 2021

Analects  |  Newsletter

Excerpt

Our collective architecture is one organising principle around which to collect tools to focus on any value system if you believe what I believe. It’s no secret that we are lonelier than ever. We are fond of talking about the perils of modern society, but of these threats the collapse of our communal impulses and our increasing isolation is the one that often concerns us most. As a society, we continue to choose directions that draw us away from each other.

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Our collective architecture refers to the people with whom we share in our successes.

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A well structured collective, to me, is one aspect of any good architecture: the tools which support a value system, if you believe what I believe.

It’s no secret that we are lonelier than ever. We are fond of talking about the perils of modern society, but of these threats the collapse of our communal impulses and our increasing isolation is the one that often concerns us most. It would be conspiratorial to suggest that this was by intent, but it is certainly by design. As a society, we continue to choose directions that draw us away from each other.

Communities require a persistent environment, such that people can develop shared experiences and discover shared interests. These things are vectors for connections based upon shared beliefs, and on this basis community emerges.

Communities also require obligation. The kind of commitment to one another that cannot be broken by time, or the changing circumstances of life. Our communities must become more to us than the kind of fair-weather family that characterises our modern connections, and more like the deep blood ties many of us feel toward our siblings, parents, or children. These kinds of connections are those that have no particular relationship with how much we might like someone or how they behave in the short term, but exist anyway, above it all.

Finally, communities require culture. Shared values and ideals that create identity and go beyond the individual, but are also close enough to our hearts that we can connect with them.

Creating such communities is no easy feat to be sure. The increasing urbanisation, globalisation, and digitisation of modern life fractures these communal foundations, even as our ability to connect across time and space grows. By turning these new tools to our advantage, and rekindling those older skills that have faded we can once again choose directions that draw us together.

So, let’s choose them.


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