Sense of community

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The sense of community is generally an emotional feeling that has an inner connection with other people as its object. It can include belonging to a family, a tribe, a people, or all of humanity.

The sense of community is a central concept in Adler's individual psychology .

Physical and mental requirements

Because of their biological makeup, humans can develop compassion for their fellow human beings . Current studies ( Manfred Spitzer , Gerald Hüther et al.) In brain research in the 21st century make the so-called mirror neurons responsible for this ability. As a nestling, or rather physiological premature birth ( Adolf Portmann ), the newborn depends on its fellow human beings. The feeling of community arises in this early phase of the incarnation in the daily active interpersonal confrontation and relationship. The human being thus becomes a social being.

Sense and use

For Alfred Adler , a well-developed sense of community is the result of a successful educational process. According to him, the fulfillment of the life tasks that make up the meaning of life are only possible in a community. His sense of community includes the sense of togetherness and active participation in the community for general, community-promoting benefit.

Disorders of the sense of community

According to Adler, a poor sense of community can lead to behavior on the useless side of life, which becomes disadvantageous for the community.

The Health Psychology notes that a lack of sense of community also has an impact on health:

"Socially isolated people had at least two to five times as high a risk of falling ill and dying prematurely as compared to those who had a strong sense of togetherness and community."

- Dean Ornish (personal physician to Bill Clinton)

Development of the sense of community concept

The Austrian doctor Alfred Adler researched the connection between human nature and his psychological well-being in his practice and anchored the “feeling of community” as a central concept in his individual psychology . With the child's need for tenderness , Adler had worked out the lifelong interpersonal need of the individual long before John Bowlby and Harry Stack Sullivan . Modern infant research, motivational theories, and clinical research confirm this, as does the following quote:

“We all need outside recognition. We measure our success by the reactions of other people, and without the feeling of fulfilling a meaningful task in the community, we lack anchoring in the human circle. Our need for recognition corresponds to our nature as a community. "

- Dieter Wartenweiler

Adler's concept of a sense of community can be found in the modern terms social competence and emotional intelligence .

Abuse of community spirit

The fact that man is dependent on his fellow human beings has repeatedly led to abuses throughout human history. In various forms of collectivism , attempts were made to curtail the freedom of the individual through the alleged necessity of subordination to the collective.

The misuse of the sense of community under National Socialism, especially in the Hitler Youth , has in part damaged the term to this day. The expansion of the Nazi party rally grounds in 1935 was another example of this kind of influence: the buildings were intended to give visitors the feeling of being part of something very big, but at the same time being small and insignificant. They supported the leader myth and should strengthen the national community through the community feeling. The nightly use of flak headlights as a light dome was intended to underline the sacred atmosphere of the events.

See also


  1. Dean Ornish: The revolutionary therapy: Healing with love, overcoming serious illnesses without medication, Mosaik Verlag, Munich 1999
  2. ^ Title of the essay by Alfred Adler from 1908
  3. Lucien Nicolay. Brain, school & society. SNE Editions, Luxembourg 2003
  4. Dieter Wartenweiler. Men in their prime. From the midlife crisis to a mature personality. Kösel, Munich 1998
  5. Vera Schwers: Childhood under National Socialism from a biographical point of view. LIT Verlag Münster 2002 ISBN 3-8258-6051-5 . The feeling of community, p. 85: This overemphasis on the community, for which one has to make every sacrifice, this overemphasis was quite natural in the Hitler Youth .