Thanks to a free download from my local library (thanks, library!), I just listened to the audiobook Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger, and I can’t get it out of my head. Junger is a jack of all trades: he’s written several books, directed multiple movies, and worked as a journalist and war correspondent. He focuses on war and its impact on veterans, and Tribe is no exception. What makes Tribe different, however, is that he uses war as a lens through which to view bigger questions about, as the title suggest, homecoming and belonging. Having never served in the armed forces, it opened up a world I don’t often think about.
The book also gave me new insights into the importance and value of community and how we disregard community at our own peril. To be healthy as both individuals and as a society, we must place value on strong, healthy connections with others. They create that sense of belonging missing from so many people’s lives.
I believe those meaningful connections come from serving others and being served. They come from feeling that you can make a difference in the lives of others, and from humbly accepting that others can make a difference to you. With the ability to serve and be served, we create relationships with interdependence. It is these authentic relationships that help give us meaningful, fulfilling lives.
One quote from Junger’s book that I keep reflecting on:
“Humans don’t mind hardship. In fact, they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.”
For me, this quote encapsulates the very reason I became so passionate about cohousing in the first place: it provides the framework to create neighborhoods that foster meaning and belonging. With cohousing, it’s easy to be necessary.
I encourage you to pick up this book or get a digital copy or audiobook from your local library (the audiobook is about 3 hours of listening time). If you’d like your own copy, click on the links below to see where you can purchase it online.
Let me know what you think!