Being Together Being Together
"Friendly gossip", Eugene de Blaas, 1901, source: Wikiart (public domain)
Dreams and Visions

Being Together

Wojciech Bonowicz
time 10 minutes

In uncertain times, we feel a stronger need to belong. What does it take for a circle of friends to become a real community?

A significant tension runs through contemporary Western culture, which values individualism and emphasizes the separateness of each person, their personal dignity, freedom and rights. As a result, something resembling an invisible and simultaneously impenetrable boundary emerges between me and others. I will never be able to fully understand them, and they will never fully understand me. Not only are our inner worlds inaccessible to one another, but also this inaccessibility is rather fundamental. We exist “next to each other” rather than “together,” “in relation to” rather than “for one another.” We can work together, help each other in different situations, and even save each other, but our bond is marked by a kind of anxiety: “can I really rely on you?” And “what can you expect from me?” This is the price we pay for personal freedom.

And yet, in the individualistic culture of the West, there is also some room for a search for rooting, connection, and thus, the opposite of separateness. This need develops especially whenever a crisis—economic, humanitarian or otherwise—arises. With it come the questions: What do we owe to others? What is the extent of our responsibility towards them? What is this responsibility based on and what form should it


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Also read:

A Community of Festivities A Community of Festivities
Maria Kozak, "The Joy of Being Alive at Night”, 2022 r.

A Community of Festivities

Maciej Świetlik

Everyday social life is about people playing their assigned roles. Every now and then, however, our accumulated excess energy needs to find an outlet. We call such moments “festivities.” 

It was still dark when I emerged from the Metaxourgeio subway station in Athens. A while before, when I was on the train—the first in the Sunday schedule—I noticed a girl wrapped in a fuchsia scarf.  Fuchsia was the theme color of the city carnival I was going to. I figured it made more sense to follow the pink bacchant than a pin on Google Maps. The collection point was in a small square between vacant buildings that reminded me of the industrial past of this neighborhood. Once home to weaving workshops, today, this area is mostly inhabited by expats and artists. The local bohemians came up with the idea of an independent urban carnival. There is nothing about it in the media; the news is spread by word of mouth. Nevertheless, the event draws thousands of people. I participated in its more intimate part—the beginning of the period of celebration.  

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