The pros and cons of communal living are many. Sharing home and resources can save you money, provide you with support and also help you with many other difficulties in life. But there are some issues with this way of living.
“…most communes of the ’90s are not free-love refuges for flower children, but well-ordered, financially solvent cooperatives where pragmatics, not psychedelics, rule the day.”
Andrew Jacobs of The New York Times
Communal living is where individuals live together and choose to share the living space, resources, interests, ideals, and property. It is often thought of as a thing of the past as humans have lived in communities for the majority of their existence. As civilizations developed, the concept has become less popular. However, it has made a comeback today. People have started to prefer this kind of living to overcome loneliness and isolation. They want an environment that can give them mental peace and which is conducive to the development of their children.
Communal living has numerous benefits to both the individual and the community as a whole. This concept promotes mutual support, understanding, respect, security, and mental wellness. There are many forms of communal living like religious and secular, rural and urban, large and small, among others. In communal living, the community members can have various kinds of employments. There is flexibility in the types of jobs that individuals can contribute to or they can be a part of a common business, which is the source of earning for the whole community. Let us look at the benefits and issues with communal living.
✦ A sense of responsibility develops in each member regarding his role in the community, and the efforts to take in order to improve living.
✦ Community living teaches one to deal and adjust with others so that everyone is satisfied. It involves overcoming the hurdles of life, together. This type of living promotes humility, open-mindedness, understanding, and empathy. It helps develop acceptance towards differences and differing perspectives.
✦ Each member can apply his skills and abilities in a unique way, and no one feels left out or disrespected. Communal living also teaches one to be co-operative, caring, forgiving, and patient.
✦ People feel alone without family, friends, or relatives. This feeling of loneliness can lead to depression and other mental health problems. This is not the case when living in a community. Individuals share their thoughts and feelings and build mutual trust.
✦ By living in a community, the access of resources is easy, as they are shared and this involves less expenses. While individual households tend to buy and waste resources, community living promotes their sharing and careful use.
✦ By living in a community, each member starts focusing on what is good for the community. People work towards the well-being of one another.
✦ Communal living can relieve one greatly from the pressures of daily household chores and from having to do everything by oneself.
✦ It can also achieve an effective distribution of work, thus saving time.
✦ Going out for a vacation together or engaging in other forms of recreation, adds to the enjoyment.
✦ An individual going through bad times feels supported and cared for, in a community.
✦ Children grow up by observing people of the community. They are raised in an environment where mutual understanding, sharing, respect for elders, and other good values are promoted.
✦ Older and retired people are treated with respect and given the chance to share their knowledge with the younger members of the community.
✦ A large community will always have more resources available and does not need to depend on others. Individuals can assist one another in fulfilling their needs rather than competing with one another.
✦ Due to the higher housing density, there are less chances of crime. Many communities provide gated access, guards, and ensure security.
✦ Large communities let the residents access shopping areas and other facilities without needing to leave the community.
✦ Another benefit of community living is that the members can have a single business with each member contributing to it.
✦ In shared living, parents can go out to work, while others in the community can take care of the children. But differences in the ways of childcare can lead to issues.
✦ The differing views of the individuals in a community may cause conflicts.
✦ Sharing of living costs like rent or mortgage, maintenance or repairs, and groceries and household goods can result in conflicts.
✦ Division of household chores may lead to squabbles and disagreements.
✦ Taking turns in cooking is a good idea, but the disadvantage is that the differing ways of cooking and taste differences may lead to issues.
✦ The density of the community can affect the privacy of individuals.
✦ In communal living, certain rules need to be followed. There may be restrictions or stipulated times for outings, guest visits, and other such things.
Thus, communal living is about sharing resources, income, and common interests. Those who prefer the sharing of responsibilities and want greater security may choose communal living. But there are others who prefer privacy and independence and hence may not like this living style.