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Oneida Community (5 Pages) Essay

1546 words - 7 pages

In 1848, John Humphrey Noyes founded a community that’s primary goal was to create, in a sense, heaven on earth; the Oneida Community. This community did indeed have good intentions for reaching this goal in life, but it is merely the means of how they attempted to reach this goal that are non-practical and lose focus on the essence of family. The founder and leader, Noyes, believed that he himself possessed divine authority over the Oneida Community, which was directly given to him by God. This belief of his was not only of Noyes, but was truly shared among all the members of the community, which allowed for his rules to be followed without question or concern. These unique “rules” ...view middle of the document...

There was also the ordeal of mutual criticism, to which every Oneidan was expected to submit from time to time, and which converted the struggle for self-improvement at Oneida into a species of theater (112).
This quote explains how the Oneidan’s were led to achieve this goal derived from Noyes’s perspective on the good life. In order to keep the society peaceful and orderly, Noyes introduced this policy of Mutual Criticism to create some sort of behavioral control. The criticism was not always negative, as there was praise and blame given to the criticized. For example, a young woman was accused of disrespect for her elders and vanity, but was praised for her great joy of living life, and her high-spirited and passionate personality. Another older woman was also criticized for her careless dealings with young men during sex, but was also praised for kindness and loyalty. Even though criticism varied between praise and blame, the criticism was always helpful in changing that person or encouraging that person for the better. As you can see, this idea of mutual criticism is strongly effective in a community like so for two specific reasons: (1) criticism through blame can show someone that what they are doing is not right and that they need to change for the good of themselves and for their community as a whole, and (2) criticism through praise will ensure that person that what they are doing is right and will prevent them from straying away from their good-living, therefore helping the community become more “heaven-like”.
Oneidans also lived in their community under Noyes’s idea of communal living; sharing a common goal as a whole community. Noyes also introduced a policy called “Bible Communism”, which was the idea that all things were held in common by each member of the community. This communal living and Bible Communism was yet another way to mimic heaven on earth, as the goal was to achieve a perfect Christian heaven on earth, and the Bible Communism was a way of sharing with your fellow brothers and sisters. The communal living is a great way for a community to function successfully. When in a community, one must function as a part of something greater, the community in its entirety, in order to reach the greater goal of the community that holds much more impact on every member’s than an individual feat. For example, a sports team follows the idea of communal acts, as each player is responsible for a certain position and role that will allow the team to function at its best as a whole. If a player does his part, as every other player is expected to, the team will win, therefore achieving a communal goal that will have an equal impact among every team member. On the contraire, if everyone tries to reach their own goal (the winning shot or catch), then the team will fall apart because the assigned roles and positions are not being fulfilled as they should be. If one of the individual players that only attempts to achiever...

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