Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges
jbru

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Communities

I can't point to a seminal event that shaped this, but one of my core values is loyalty. For me, loyalty is about belonging to a group. It could be a group of friends, a church, a social organization, a city, a military organization, a nation. Whatever groups one belongs to, part of that belonging is loyalty. To dedicate one's self to a thing bigger than one's self is, for me, one of the highest expressions of human culture.

My family undoubtedly taught me a lot about loyalty. I also learned a lot when I got to college. The most memorable examples for me are more recent and rise from those communities of friends I've joined. Both the science fiction fan community and the gaming community have become mine and earned my loyalty. This has everything to do with the members of that community and the lengths that they have dedicated themselves to each other and to those that will follow them.

I know, without a doubt, that I could pick up the phone right now, and within three phone calls have someone on their way to my house to help with whatever emergency presented itself. I can visit any major city in the United States, Canada and several European nations and at least have dinner with a friend of a friend, if not get a place to crash for the extent of my visit. I would do similarly for those that contacted me. It has been this way for fans for decades and will continue to be so for years yet to come.

In the daily grind of the get-ahead-at-all-costs world I'm surrounded by, this notion seems a bit out of place. The idea of helping not for any direct benefit, but because one recognizes the self in the other is nearly lost.

When I feel like an isolated example, I read something like this tribute to a lost friend and realize that there are others out there. That honestly, many people do care about others and don't ask "What's in it for me?" And I am made glad. I didn't know Leyla Harrison. Quite honestly, I probably still wouldn't if she hadn't died. I'm glad, however, that she had friends. That, within her circle, she gave and was given.

I think that speaks well of all of us.
Tags: community
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