Friday, February 17, 2012

The Principle of Community

As water seeks its own level, so too do people. People seek out those who perform certain activities, and practice certain behaviors, and form communites with those people.

Common interests are one factor in the formation of communities. Friends seek out friends with similar interests. Lovers (at least those who stay lovers for more than a month) similarly share common interests.
Virtue is also a strong determinant in the formation of communities. Good people tend to associate themselves with good people. Monks gather in tight-knit communities, churches are composed of individuals sharing common moral and religious principles, and humanitarians band together to form charitable organizations.    
Similarly, bad people also seek each other’s company. Criminals form gangs, cults isolate themselves into communities separate from the outside world, and politicians gather in Congress.
(That last part was only mostly in jest.)
People naturally seek their own kind. Common bonds between individuals, such as religion, political parties, and hobbies, unite people. Relationships and friendships are built on commonality and on shared bonds between people. People are comfortable around people they share a common bond with, even if that bond is merely allegiance to the same sports team. Conversely, people avoid situations where they feel out of place or like "a fish out of water.”
Common virtues and common vices similarly bond people together. Lechers tend not to associate with moral women, nor are nuns found in strip clubs.
This principle of community also holds true in romantic relationships as well. While it is true in part that “opposites attract,” it is also true that a relationship where both parties are completely opposite from each other will not survive. Good relationships thrive when common bonds, such as love of certain hobbies or activities or shared religion are present.
Virtue is a strong predictor of the solidity of relationships. People tend to end up with spouses who share similar interests and who possess a similar level of virtue. A person lacking virtue will usually end up with a spouse who similarly lacks virtue. A person possessing a great deal of virtue, by contrast, will usually end up with a person who similarly possesses virtue. And those virtuous couples tend to have more fulfilling relationships than those lacking in virtue.

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