Four Stages of Community

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@ref:: Four Stages of Community

2023-02-22 - Four Stages of Community

Book cover of "Four Stages of Community"




(highlight:: Four Stages of Community
According to M. Scott Peck, any group of strangers coming together
to create a community goes through four distinct and predictable
The essential dynamic of pseudocommunity is conflict avoidance.
Members are extremely pleasant with one another and avoid all
disagreement. People, wanting to be loving, withhold some of the
truth about themselves and their feelings in order to avoid conflict.
Individual differences are minimized, unacknowledged, or ignored. The
group may appear to be functioning smoothly but individuality,
intimacy, and honesty are crushed. Generalizations and platitudes are
characteristic of this stage.
Once individual differences surface, the group almost immediately
moves into chaos. The chaos centers around well-intentioned but
misguided attempts to heal and convert. Individual differences come
out in the open and the group attempts to obliterate them. It is a
stage of uncreative and unconstructive fighting and struggle. It is
no fun. It is common for members to attack not only each other but
also their leader, and common for one or more members--invariably
proposing an "escape into organization"--to attempt to replace the
designated leader. However as long as the goal is true community,
organization as an attempted solution to chaos is unworkable.
The way through chaos to true community is through emptiness. It
is the hardest and crucial stage of community development. It means
members emptying themselves of barriers to communication. The most
common barriers are expectations and preconceptions; prejudices;
ideology, theology and solutions; the need to heal, fix, convert or
solve; and the need to control. The stage of emptiness is ushered in
as members begin to share their own brokenness--their defeats,
failures, fears, rather than acting as if they "have it all
True community
True community emerges as the group chooses to embrace not only
the light but life's darkness. True community is both joyful and
realistic. The transformation of the group from a collection of
individuals into true community requires little deaths in many of the
individuals. But it is also a time of group death, group dying.
Through this emptiness, this sacrifice, comes true community. "In
this final stage a soft quietness descends. It is a kind of peace.
The room is bathed in peace." Members begin to speak of their deepest
and most vulnerable parts--and others will simply listen. There will
be tears--of sorrow, of joy. An extraordinary amount of healing
begins to occur.)
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