Creating Room for Wonderment in Local Communities

A century ago, novelist E.M. Forster famously wrote “Only connect… Live in fragments no longer.”

He was referring to the need to connect and harmonize diversities at all levels – from the contrasting qualities that exist within each person – through to the diversities of age, socio-economic and cultural and ethnic background that exist in society and the wider world.

More recently, in 1996, the philosopher and sociologist Alberto Melucci wrote about the need to enable creative responses in every situation. He believed that in order to develop a culture of creativity, there is a need to create room for wonderment, spaces where wonder can take root and work its creative magic.

I’m happy for those of us who can still find spaces of wonderment, but I have a concern that much of society seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

In local community I see increasing bureaucracy; bureaucratic control of communities and community groups that adopt bureaucratic methods.

I once interviewed people involved in establishing a very non-bureaucratic community park and I recall one such person saying she did not see herself as community worker, but as a gardener.

At the time I thought her response was a way of being unduly self-deprecating about her role: not the important community worker, but the modest gardener.

I must admit, at the time, I didn’t warm to the idea.

However, given the need for people to experience spaces of wonderment in their local communities, I’m wondering whether a new vision for policy-makers could be to help open up more spaces for inspired local people, like this gardener, who have the capacity to create places, where wonder can continually work its magic.

It would be good to see lots of room to experience and create wonderment on Transition Mondays.

I’d be very interested in your views. Your comments (below) and contributions most welcome.


  • Howards End: by E.M. Forster
  • The playing self: person and meaning in the planetary society by Alberto Melucci

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