Community and Shared Experience

Izel Sulam '00, Brown University

The definition of a conventional community includes common experiences. A community lives, learns, and matures as a whole. No wonder that the words "community" and "communication" both derive from the Latin root communis meaning "common." A community shares a physical, cultural, emotional and intellectual environment where each member has access to the majority, if not the totality, of the other members' experiences. Although this definition is antithetical to diversity which some people may find essential for one's intellectual growth, one must note that emotional and intellectual inertia usually offer a comfortable alternative to challenging one's preconcieved notions at every turn. A community therefore provides one with a relaxed atmosphere where, safe in the knowledge that most prejudices substitute for facts, one can indulge in activities which, by proxy, constitute everyone's experiences -- history and herstory become ourstory.

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