What is Community?

I had a very interesting conversation the other day involving community. We had had a campus scare that day and it prompted some very amusing conversations about that town-crazy's that are always seen out and about. You get to know these people simply because you and the crazy's are usually following the same routine everyday. I wouldn't go as far as saying you actually get to know them. You recognize them. They become acquaintances if anything.

In short form, this lead to a converstaion about how Hawaii has that small community feel to it. People think of Hawaii as being a small tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone. I responded in saying that Hawaii, especially Honolulu, doesn't feel like a small community at all. I say this because I come from a small community. My town population is right at a thousand people and it is uniquely a place where "everybody knows your name." You would see the same people on a daily basis but you actually knew this person. You knew their parents or children, their cousins, aunts, uncles, and most definitely where they lived. You knew their pet-peeves, what they enjoyed, what they didn't. These people would help you out in a pinch without a second thought, would give you the clothes off their back. It was a small close-knot community.

This generated a response along the lines of we feel it is close-knit because we see the same people everyday. Whether you are at the farmer's market on the weekends, Wal-Mart on Saturday, or taking the H1 to work through the week. This hardly constitutes a community in my opinion. This translates, to me anyway, that people have routines in which they follow like a religion. Just because you recognize a face, doesn't make it a community. Until you get to know this person, you are simply just another face in the crowd.

I can't say that my opinion echo's through the masses. However, I do feel that my definition of community will drastically different than those growing up in Honolulu today. Not to say their definition is wrong. In most aspects, Honolulu is a tight-knot community, when you compare it to the other major cities around the mainland. But if you really want to hold that close-knit award in this state, then you must work a little harder to get to know the million or so who live here.

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