I think that everyone who lives in community has their own reasons for it. I know people who live in egalitarian communities for ideological reasons, for economic reasons, for social reasons, for ecological reasons, and for personal reasons. Some just come to community because it’s something different to do, some because their lover moved there, and some because it’s a place that they can pursue their passions–agriculture, permaculture, building construction, crafts, or simple, sustainable living. Some have come to community for any one of these reasons and are now staying, honestly, out of inertia.
I live in community for a variety of reasons. Probably the most important is social. I grew up in a large family and have always lived with groups of people. I believe that humans are tribal animals and we are meant to live with each other. I think that it’s genetic.
The other big reasons are ideological. In my very first piece on this blog, I wrote that “Living communally–and sharing so much–is a direct challenge to a hierarchical, consumer focused, corporate capitalist culture.” I’m one of the folks that lives communally because I want to live simply and sustainably. In sharing so much, we almost automatically have a much lower carbon footprint than the average person in the US.
But my real honest reason is that I’m an introvert. I have a hard time going out into the world. If I lived by myself, I fear that I would isolate. In community, I don’t have to go far at all to find people. As I write these words, I’m sitting in a common, dining area with people hanging out around me. Some people think that I use the public computer because I don’t have my own. But I do have a computer–I just have no desire to sit alone in my room all day while I’m working on various computer projects.
Really, I just want to live right around a bunch of folks that I love. I just want to live with all my friends.