Are we searching for communities or power

TL;DR: look for communities, not just to seek help, but to help others.

We are in a loneliness pandemic (in addition to the ongoing COVID-19, of course). To find a solution, I have been very keen on looking for a community, where I can connect with like-minded people and collaborate to solve exciting problems. The idea of community resonated with me particularly well when I watched this video by the school of thought. The lack of communities would tend to misdirect us to romanticism, should we assume that all we need to solve our life problems is an ideal partner. Since an IDEAL partner is not a realistic solution, I start putting more faith in communities.

Ideas, once rooted in our mind, often turn into a sponge that grows as it absorbs the fleeting information that we would have missed. I started hearing more people talking about how communities helped with their learning of programming, solving their startup problems. So I decided I must go and look out for a community, and I will live happily ever after. Sadly, this has not been the case. Of course, online forums have been very supportive, but there are still problems that I am unsure where to look for help. Even after I pose them, they sometimes receive very few replies. So communities did not solve all my problems, either.

In all this agony, I came to realize that I have been treating the idea of communities wrongly. A community is not a punch of brains for you to pick or wash (i.e. brainwash, pretty awful pun, I admit). The community support does not come by itself. It requires one person to build a strong group of followers. What that means is one has to contribute values to that community first. Community is not a panacea to all our problems; no one else will be as eager to solve our problems or spread our ideas as we do. In other words, communities are just a place and do not confer any solutions. What we are looking for is perhaps power. Power, not in the sense of exploiting others to serve our greed, but of directing a group’s energy to solve problems that we believe are worth solving. Power is what makes communities useful.

But before that, let’s solve some interesting problems, help a bunch of people, and build our expertise in the domain. Power comes from the strength within and positivity we spread. Once we have done that, people will start following us and we can finally lead the community for good.

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Tim

Personalizing medicine

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