Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Life Passages and Community

You can tell a lot about a community through how it copes with life passages, particularly mourning.

So many of the communities we attempt to build at work are artificial. These are communities that serve a very particular purpose - learn a skill, complete a project, that sort of thing.... And a work community that completes the assigned task can be considered "successful." But is it?

I am beginning to think that a hallmark of a truly successful community is one that celebrates each other's happy events and joins together in grief - unbidden. Through the bonds they have established with each other, these communities are able to accomplish more over longer periods of time.

I have been participating in Basenotes for the past few months. The members are professionals within the industry as well as die-hard perfume fanatics. Unlike some of the other perfume boards, the Basenotes boards are very focused and usually polite. Many of the members have carried their online relationship over to the real world. Mostly through trades, (especially since this is a truly international community), but also through regular meet ups.

They recently lost Sudsy, one of the most active members of the community. Most of us did not know her personally. Many (such as myself) knew her only through her board posts. Closer members of the community knew her through trades and e-mails. But the community circled the wagons around each other and mourned in the way they thought most appropriate - rememberance through scent.

Complete strangers, around the world, whose only initial shared bonds are a passion for perfume.

Sudsy - I'm wearing Montale's Aoud Damascus in your honor. Rest in Peace.

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