I found this question on twitter to strike at a deep longing for many of us. The longing for belonging.
The venerable economist Russell Lamberti has often said “Belonging is to Be…Long somewhere.”
Belonging can be seen as the sum of three parts:
1) scale of ownership, or investment, or contribution
over 2) time
towards 3) a consistent, knowable group of people (Dunbar’s Law) who are themselves invested in the same place, or mission.
On 1) Scale of ownership
We live in a rental society. Rather than owning property, most of us are the property of the banks and corporations.
The artificially inflated barriers to ownership are infinite demand (through immigration and divorce) and scarce supply (through inflation and outsourcing of economic production).
Rather than contributing our passions and talents to groups or clubs or communities, we consume the talents and passions of others. Consumers don’t belong, they devour. Parasites are locked out of communities.
High value Contributors are liked and invited in to most groups.
What are your passions and talents? How can you serve your people and place with them?
We have to despise debt and poverty.
It is ownership of land and economic production that gives us authority over a place.
Our places are in ruin because the people who have authority over it are ruinous.
The reason so many Christians struggle economically is because we have given the spiritual and physical authority of our lives over to bankers. Bankers occupy the position of God, our provider.
On 2) time
We live in a high time preference society that frames inheritance as evil, or something to be squandered. The prodigal son: “Play now! Pay later.” “Screw our parents, screw our children, YOLO!”
We need to live for the long game, living constantly for and with our ancestors behind us & our progeny in front of us. I am thankful for the inheritance my dad and grandfather left me.
What can I do to better honor their legacy? What can I do to ensure my children and grandchildren will have a better legacy than I did?
On 3) invested people
We desire to be known and respected by people that we respect.
Our society encourages vagrancy. Wandering from wage job to wage job, never setting roots into a consistent hierarchy. Cars and Virtue Signals are our attempt at pegging our status to people who don’t know us. We then find ourselves running away from close relationships, afraid of being seen as imposters, posers, larpers, by others who “have it all together.”
Consistency and stability of group AND mission is what we are aiming for.
Patria and Religion (Tradition) are the operating system of a stable, multigenerational community and culture.
In the virtual world, we are overloaded with “friends.”
Modern churches are “growth at all costs” and we end up lonely in the crowds that gather to watch the performers.
We must focus on doing things, rather than watching other people do things.
Men create friendships by doing things together. The harder the thing, the deeper the bond.
The reason we keep rehashing the same movies from the last 40 years is our vain attempt at cultural stability, grasping for a time when we had shared mission and meaning, and feeling the emotions that we used to feel of safety and peace. Stability of community and culture is water to our souls.