Harmony

a pleasant musical sound made by different notes being played or sung at the same time; a situation in which people are peaceful and agree with each other, or when things seem right and suitable together.

Notes, that are played or sung with the main tune and that make the piece more complicated and interesting.
The combination of separate, but related parts in a way that uses their similarities to bring unity to a painting, drawing, or other art object. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/de/worterbuch/englisch/harmony).

When we talk about community, we often assume, that community only works with harmony. We also often assume that community (and harmony) only work when people are similar or at least share similar ideas. We feel attracted to persons that are similar to us. It is easier for us to relate with someone, if we have the feeling that this person thinks / feels the same we do.

Thus, with similarities often comes the above described “situation in which people are peaceful and agree with each other”. Interestingly, at least in the anglo-american version of the Cambridge dictionary, “harmony” – in a musical sense – is also defined as “notes, that […] make the piece more complicated and interesting”, and also the further definition of harmony being a “combination of separate […] parts” hints to the fact that maybe similarities are not all there is when talking about harmony.

Fact is, we as human beings share a lot of similarities when we look at our basic needs, i.e. the need for food, water, air and company. Human beings are social beings, we want to belong. Throughout our history we made the experience that we need other humans in order to survive and thrive. Thus, the desire for harmony is somehow part of our DNA.

At the same time, we as human beings are also very different from one another. Our western societies are constructed in a way to promote these differences. We are taught that in order to achieve something we need to stand out from the “masses”, we need to be better then others. We are constantly confronted with the assessment and devaluation of our personalities and abilities, and thereby distanced from others.

So maybe we have to remind ourselves that this state we are currently in is not what fulfils us. It is not what we as human beings (only) need. And maybe it also helps to remind ourselves that harmony – as well as community – does not necessarily mean that we need to be all the same. The different notes are what make the piece interesting. And, of course, more complicated. But we should not fear confrontation. If we want to achieve harmony – as a situation were all (!) people are peaceful and agree with each other (at least when basic human needs are concerned) – we need to talk openly to one another and we need to listen. And if we stop assessing and devaluating and competing with one another, we might find that to be a lot easier.