Becoming connoisseurs of community invention
A connoisseur is a person who knows a lot about a particular subject. They are thought of as expert judges in matters of taste, and knowledgeable in the ways of appreciating ‘the finer things in life’.
The word tends to be used exclusively to describe high-end wine tasters, art lovers and the like. But in middle-French, from which the word derives, it meant to be deeply acquainted with, and appreciative of people and things.
It is with the above meaning in mind I’ve being thinking about what might happen if we recognised that we already have connoisseurs of community problem solving and invention in our communities.
Though for the most part their light is hidden under a bushel.
In the same way that there are those with a natural nose for the differing tastes of wines, there are those with a nose for community invention.
People who know not just the full bodied; finished community building efforts, the collective accomplishments which anyone could spot, but can also savour and beautifully describe the efforts that have potential, if allowed to season.
What if, in our community building efforts we sought out those natural connoisseurs, and enabled them to make the invisible invention that is abundant in every community, visible?
The connoisseur appreciates when things connect to produce a rich experience, they search out new blends that find unique balance. They delight in discovering how things that were not previously blended, become so, in new and exciting ways. But they also know when things are not well blended, they have a distaste for false connections and they will turn their nose up at counterfeit community.
Often when a community connoisseur begins to describe gifts they have become deeply acquainted with, they will tell you what they appreciate about them, how they have connected in a unique or familiar way, and how they have matured into visible community action.
They are different, I think, to critics. Since they do not do spend their time talking about all that is bad, below par, or tasteless.
They are explorers of the finer things in life. And what could be finer than the sweet taste of unforced and unpaid for acceptance, that is to be found in communities where everyone’s gifts are savoured?