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Stages Of Community Making

Pseudocommunity

Members of a group attempt to be an instant community by being extremely pleasant with one another and avoiding all disagreement. The essential dynamic of pseudocommunity is conflict-avoidance; the basic pretense is the denial of individual differences. And it never works!

Chaos

Individual differences are, unlike those in pseudocommunity, right out in the open. Chaos centers around well-intentioned but misguided attempts to heal and convert, the underlying motive being not love but making everyone "normal".

Emptiness

The stage in which group members need to empty themselves of barriers to communication, including expectations and preconceptions; prejudices; ideologies; solutions; the need to heal, convert, fix or solve; and the need to control. This process can be somewhat like little deaths and rebirths within individuals and within the group.

Community

In this final stage, the group has become open and empty and has learned not to convert or heal or hide, but to listen, accept differences, and rejoice in each other: it has become community. It is necessary to take on the task of maintenance which requires it to fall back into chaos or even pseudocommunity to keep it healthy and growing.

Adapted from The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace by M. Scott Peck, 1998.

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