CommUNITY?

Quite honestly, seeing it written that way annoys the piss out of me.  Which is inconvenient if I happen to be sitting at my computer.  Maybe I should get a litter box.

Yes, unity is something we should be striving for, but we also have to realize that 100% total unity is an unobtainable goal among such a large and diverse group of people.  Unity, at least the kind most of us are talking about,  requires us to all be on the same page.  We have to want the same things, have the same visions, goals, and moral compass.  The reality is far from that.  Unity of this type only occurs if everyone is aiming at the same target.  It’s kind of like communism in that regard; it doesn’t achieve that fabled utopian status unless everyone is rowing in the same direction.

The BDSM community is a much more diverse group than many people would expect.  While it’s not exactly a pure cross-section of the population, we’ve got people of various ethnicities, religions, political beliefs, genders, etc.  Some want a sterile community in which no one ever gets triggered or offended in any way; others want total freedom to say and do what they want with their consenting partners, even at public events.  Some want a place free from the influence of drugs and alcohol; others want to let their pervitude fly without regard to who’s on what substance.  Some want to prevent problems; others want to deal with problems after they occur.  Some want a small, tightly-knit family; others want a very large kerfluffle of people who all intermingle.  Some take a “you do your thing and I’ll do mine” approach; others care deeply about what others are doing and feel they should have a say in it.  Then there are those who want a mix of these different factors.  Many of these goals directly conflict with each other.  An ideal community looks very different for each of us.

The simple fact is that, at least in our city, the BDSM community is too large to all neatly fit into one box.  Just as a city is made up of an aggregate of smaller neighborhoods, so too is our community composed of smaller informal clusters of people.  Each of these groups (and each of these individuals) wants different things.  Each of us pushes the community in a different direction.  The direction the pile as a whole goes is dependent on which side is pushing with the most force, either through individual effort or number of people.  Any given individual has a far greater chance of influencing their local neighborhood than influencing the entire city.  This is where specialized groups come in.  People easily create and mold groups to fit their specific desires.  If enough people find that little neighborhood a happy place to spend their time, it grows.  And soon it makes up a much larger part of the city.

As I’ve mentioned before, we all have a certain amount of power to influence our environments.  If the current state of  affairs in your part of the world doesn’t suit your liking, change it.  But don’t expect the ability to force everyone to think like you.  No matter how logical your argument, no matter how noble or how deplorable your tactics, not everyone will be won over to your side.

Personally, I’m ok with living in neighborhoods instead of a large commune.  The neighborhoods still interact at many larger gatherings.  If you aren’t willing to go to the larger gatherings without initiating a gang war, then stay in your own neighborhood.  Grow your neighborhood.  Beautifying the city as a whole doesn’t mean whitewashing it with the same exact shade over every single block; it means letting every neighborhood have its own personality.  We each have our own definition of beauty, so why not let your neighbors decide for themselves what kinds of flowers they want to plant?  If you don’t like their particular flavor of flowers, grow different ones in your locale.  People will vote with their feet and move into or out of your neighborhood.  Personally, I feel that’s a much better solution than trying to force an artificial sense of unity upon a bunch of people who are too vastly different to agree on much of anything.