by Anton Wills-Eve


I assume that by ‘idyllic’ the prompter means ‘ideal’. I am writing on that assumption.


I have two main problems with living in any sort of community. The first is that I love exercising my free will and so would almost certainly get on the wrong side of a lot of my neighbours and acquaintances. This would in turn make life a strain and probably very often an absolute pain in the backside. The second reason is that I love living amongst people with whom I agree about all the important things in my life and with whom I can share my appreciation of the types of music, literature, religion and sport that give me most pleasure. There is no pleasure in living amongst people who don’t agree with you or are not happy when you are and do not rejoice when you do. No I would not like to live amongst people I could not get on with. I would not go so far as Sartre and define Hell as ‘other people’, which is almost but not quite what he is famous for saying, but I do agree that I could not suffer dissonance of love with any degree of gladness.

So what do I make of this prompt. I have been completely negative so far but if I had to devise a Utopia – which I think is what is meant here – I would have to impose certain duties on members of that community. They would have to be charitable even when bored rigid, good Samaritans when it would make them late for the start of the match and above all sympathetic to deeply upset people even when the cause of this distress was lack of something which the palliative helper personally thought was a load of rubbish and they should be glad they had lost. You see the idea. Those are the sorts of people I would want.

How would I want it run? Well if it was large enough to be a town, say, then I would want the officers who organised daily life to be democratic yet tolerant, oh how many of us assume that these qualities always embrace each other – THEY DON’T!  And by being ready to listen to others in depth are also equally careful to think before they talk. Also communities of every sort should be governed by honesty not following party directives. But basically I think the least interference possible in people’s lives by those in power is the best way to form a harmonious spirit of cheerful unity which I am sure we all basically prefer. We never get it of course but we can see that it’s very desirable.

I turn next to the silly question ‘what does your ideal community look like?’ Well that depends where it is. For me it would be in Tuscany in Italy, but most people would choose their favourite place so that question relly is impossible to answer.

Now finally the question is raised, what values do the ideal community share? God knows. No, seriously, He does. But to get any other two people to agree on a 100 per cent list of values – if this means ethics, morals, beliefs etc – then we would be lost. But that does not mean that we need not agree in broad principle on how communities should treat their members and show them respect and politeness. Also in matters of religion for example we should accept that this is something that means a lot to various groups different to ourselves and we should treat them as we would want them to treat us when considering us as members of particular sects, denominations etc.

So I have to return just for a quickie to my opening paragraph. I really don’t like having to do what I am told by anybody. God’s commandments I accept but I don’t like having to obey some of them. Well there is no point in not being honest. If I find someone very attractive all sorts of ideas come into my head. What I do about them is between me and God but I do find myself asking him why He made up so many ‘thou shalt nots’. But I try, I try. But it does show why communities and I do not often get on. Communities are such awfully inquisitive groups of people who seem to think they have the right to know everything I do, comment on  it and judge me accordingly. Well they don’t!!!