Posting article on difference between communities and communitas

I think this article should be repeated here so the distinction between the meaning of communities and communitas is known.

There is a need state the difference between communities and communitas.

Communities is a broad classification and includes almost any gathering of people for whatever purpose.

Communitas is a restricted grouping and only applies where there is a felt sense of close connection. In communitas the individual willing surrenders will to a group of individuals. A recent clear example is the video and television series, A Band Of Brothers. In that series Easy Company moves into that magic space called communitas. The individual members of Easy Company willingly surrendered their will to a group called Easy Company. They were bound together by the knowledge they were prepared to die for each other. Whatever it took to keep their buddies alive was their commitment.

It is unfortumate in some way to look at a war situation as an example. That is perhaps only because our understanding of the magic that occurs in communitas can be comprehended by 20th century people in a war situation. Our industrialised society - based as it is on individualism - has no understanding of this magic.

Go back to Chaucer and Canterbury Tales - somewhere around 1370 - and the pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. This group did not know each other before they started the pilgrimage and were not dragging their personal history with them. As they talked to each other they revealed themselves and slowly developed a deep connection. In addition they were talking in old English which is almost like a musical hum or mutterings in a cantilena. The sound itself is hypnotic. I invite you to imagine a hot summer day, the plodding of the horses, the bucolic Kent countryside, the cadences of the speaker casting a spell over the pilgrims, the shared commitment to a pilgrimage, the understanding and acceptance of everyone as they are, no pretense, heart meeting heart.

Communitas then, is something of much greater impact than community. It is as Victor Turner describes -

a place and moment “in and out of time, ” and such an actor - as the evidence of many pilgrims of many religions attests - hopes to have there direct experience of the sacred, invisible or supernatural order, either in the material aspect of miraculous healing or in the immaterial aspect of inward transformation of spirit or personality.

We all, perhaps, have touched upon communitas when we meet a stranger in unusual circumstances and are suddenly bonded as though we have known them for eternity. Walking along a road in California, hitching a ride, a car stops, we get in and are plunged into a 'knowing' of each other that is indeed, 'in and out of time'.

What we are doing here, on this very web site, is nurturing that lost soul connection - seeking to re-emerge in a caring and conscious world.