In 25 states throughout the country, groups of families are coming together to combat the daily struggles of independent family life. Small communities, usually ranging from about 15-40 households, are engaging in a new form of living called co-housing. The idea behind co-housing is simple: more people will equal more support, which in turn means a better life.
People in these communities have taken the struggles of independent households out of their lives and instead turned towards a life of interdependency. Families who find it hard to make time to cook healthy meals or afford child care are now presented with an alternative solution. People of all ages come together in co-housing for companionship and support. The occupants of co-houses can be seen sharing designated rooms, meals, and even cars with one other, according to the New York Times.
When connecting this to philosophy, our discussion on virtues immediately comes to mind. We learned in class that it is important to have the right relationship with our virtues. Too little or too much of a particular trait can prove detrimental. In regards to the practice of co-housing, I believe that occupants of such a system are examples of what a positive relationship with their virtues look like.
In order to live effectively in such an environment that you share many things with many different people, characteristics like trust are critical. If they have a trust deficiency, it is toxic for the whole community as not everything that needs to be shared can be shared. On the other hand, if they have an excess of trust then the lifestyle will prove unsustainable for them. It takes a balance in not only trust, but in patience, honesty, and rationality, along with other virtues, to be able to thrive in this village-type of environment.
So, although it may not be for everyone, do you think co-housing depends more on the correct relationship between a person and their virtues than normal living situations do?