As far back as the Code of Hammurabi, people have paid a little more to minimize risk. Insurance is a logical concept and for the most part a good thing, but it is dangerous to believe we can live without community simply because we are “covered.” The best insurance we have is each other. Community provides far more services and guarantees than any policy with strangers, and many of the biggest insurance companies started locally. To fulfill their guarantees, they grew outside those communities to clients with deep pockets and no sense of a meaningful connection.
Think of the possibilities if every suburban community pooled together their collective talents and skills. Mechanics, engineers, psychiatrists, teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, firefighters, police, carpenters, plumbers, pharmacists, computer people, guitar players, clowns, and many other occupations of people in our communities have the ability to provide the same support that insurance companies do in times of need. Insurance is necessary in today’s world. But we could help one another out, our fellow neighbors, and ensure our own well being. Why not take money out of the equation and simply have a system of “returning the favor” and “paying it forward” to compensate our efforts? Beyond the utilitarian viewpoint of community, the most happiness usually comes from people.
Home has always been much more than an actual place. It is the people we live amongst that make home worth fighting for and community worth cultivating. All we really have is each other and if the day ever comes when our security is not guaranteed, we’ll have to work with what we have around us. There will be neighbors who irritate each other, but we will probably be better off taking the time to embrace what’s right in front of us instead of benefits we may never see. Insurance softens losses, but cannot sweeten victories the way that community can.