Our world exists and operates with a complete sense of balance. Trees flourish around the globe providing the entire human race with oxygen to breathe, while humans immediately return the favor with carbon dioxide, which trees need to survive. What one does not need seems to be essential to another, causing effortless stability. The balance of life continues even in common communities everywhere. Scott Russell, the author of “The Common Life,” believes “dwelling in a web of relationships” is a necessity and “essential to our humanity. Though Russell seems to provide some qualifications to his bold statement, the idea is farfetched and a bit nai??ve. I disagree that a society can not function with people “who care about no one’s needs but their own;” I believe individuality and uniqueness are essential components to the healthy development and smooth flow of communities, and attempting to conform all people to act in a manner that mirrors each others’ eliminates all chance for this. Without these characteristics there would be no balance.

Russell compares people who “withdraw” socially from society as being selfish. The author believes the community will “eventually break down” if the proportions of such people significantly increase. What characteristics about these people make them at all selfish? The fact that they are different from the majority or is it because they enjoy living life without constant recognition? The ones demanding their attention reflect more selfish qualities for not allowing the individuals the respect and dignity of being who they are.

A community can become “vulnerable” for a massive number of reasons; most of which are entirely more threatening than the average shy citizen. Encouraging every person to be involved in a “web of relationships” brings a laughable smirk on my face, whether the pettiness of the statement causes this or the underlying negative connotations it brings about. The idea promotes meddlesome curiosity and involvement with business not concerning ones self, dramatic situations, and conflict; none of which a community necessarily needs to survive or prosper for that matter.

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The author believes responsibility and socially connecting in a “web of relationships” attach like puzzle pieces. To “range about anonymously”, in his opinion, automatically deems one “unaccountable. ” Anonymously traveling through life does not make one a “burden or a threat” to society, but a vital factor to their community. The citizen may not interject their personality into the community as frequently; however this bares no connection to their input to the stability of society.

They very well thrive off their surroundings just as the socially advanced citizens do, adding a very vital variety and difference to the world. Why should the innocent citizen be placed with a stigma because their level of comfort differs from their neighbor? Though the majority of people crave this “web of relationships” does not make the minority a threat to the well being of humanity. Citizens rejecting the “web”, or apparently recognized as “the common life,” add to the essential necessity for balance. With the minority functioning and living in society, we experience the divine luxury of a balanced world.

Scott Russell seems to forget the serious need for diversity in a community. Forcing citizens to step out of their comfort zones and abide by a certain status quo allows no society to properly function. A “web of relationships” may hold a number of people “upright” and support their needs; however, what may work for one certainly does not pertain to all. Diversity and individualism supports the world’s effortless balance. Any forces acting upon the natural function of the world should stop immediately before irreversible damage results.


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