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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


DE BEER, C S (Fanie). The invention/re-invention of community. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2015, vol.55, n.4, pp.632-651. ISSN 2224-7912.

Society is, generally speaking, in a situation of serious decay, hampered by criminality, violence, corruption, poverty, disaffectivity, and desymbolisation to the point of the pathological. As a result, society's status and, in particular, the possibility of community are deeply questioned. All kinds of adjectives are used to express this status and condition and even the mere possibility, or even absence of possibility, of something like community: inexpressible, inoperative, confronted, disowned, consumed and so forth. At the same time there are some who are less doubtful and express its possibility using terms such as "the coming community" and "the transparent society". Despite the doubtfulness and questionability of community, in the sense of people being together, living together and sharing matters intimately, it seems as if we cannot get rid of the idea of community. Many people still believe in its possibility and keep on dreaming about a better humanity and healthy communities. The assumption of this article is that society consists of individuals and depending on the quality of individuals community will, in principle, remain a possibility. We can even go further: community is a given but also a task. It does not happen by itself, of course, but must be brought about, must be invented. A sound understanding of the relationship between individuals and the social brings forward the hopeful view that community is a possibility. No room remains open, however, for absolutising either the individual or the social. The social, and communities by implcation, are built on and invented by individuals. Disaffected, de-individualised and desingularised individuals destroy communities as well as societies. They are not capable of inventing. What is needed are autonomous, singular, individuated individuals, non-narcissistic and able to go beyond themselves and their personal interests. Psycho-individual and collective individuation, up to the point of singularisation and maturity, create affected and associated individuals capable of loving themselves, as well as others, individuals who are truth driven, value sensitive, thoughtful, knowledgeable, linguistically competent and meaning obsessed, and enabled to take care of themselves and of others and of a collective future. Individuals are in possession of immense capacity potential, but desymbolisation, disaffectedness create misery of all kinds as well as the disability to employ or even cultivate these capacities. Recapacitation of individuals, the building blocks of communities, is called for as the single most important condition for building a healthy community and eventual society as well. Psychic and collective individuation is the ultimate condition for this to happen. The capacity to think, to affect, to love, to live, to share is required for the invention of communities. The more thoroughly individuated singular individuals there are the more possible it would become to invent community on a grand scale which may have a definite therapeutic effect and impact on society as well. The engagement of individuals in their full singularity in as many critical areas of society as possible, namely economics, education, health care, culture, knowledge, politics, ethics are urgently required for healthy communities to emerge with immense therapeutic implications not only for themselves, but for the whole of society. Communities of demo-dynamic individuals do not only exist in dreams but are real possibilities, built on the infinite capacity to relate, to share, to care, and in the effectiveness of relationship, nearness and contact in terms of the law of the heart as expressed in the individuation of language in its closeness to being and truth, in knowing and knowledge to the fullness of intelligence and against stupidity, and in recapacitation to the ultimate of individual spiritual, affective and material potentiality.

Palavras-chave : community; society; recapacitation; singularity; autonomy; individuation; demo-dynamics; care; language; knowing; knowledge.

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