I often criticize society. I’d almost describe it as the root of all evil (or the foremost symptom of the root of ultimate evil). Therefore I should probably explain what I mean by society, and how it differs from community.
Community refers to the people around you, i.e. the community. A community may manifest itself in many ways. There can be the regular community of people who live in the same town as you. There can be an online community on forum you frequent. The people you interact with in your workplace or school is a community. So is the circle of friends you hang around with, or people who share the same hobby and interact due to it. A community is a collective of real people who interact with each other in a regular or semi-regular basis. While community is not inherently a good thing, it certainly isn’t bad. It just means the people around you. Your neighbour, and in these days your neighbour might live on the other side of the world because of the internet and other technologies.
Society on the other hand is a social construct. A collectivist delusion. A product of social engineering possibly. It is an ideal attempting to artificially integrate every single community within a national state into a single society, for example. Or integrate various nations into the Western civilization, i.e. Western society, or the integrate all people into a single global society. Society treats people as statistics. The Average Person, Public Opinion, the Common Man. All refer to an artificial entity, not to an actual flesh and blood human. At best, society is a generalization. At worst it is an excuse for oppression and coercion. You are told to do what is good for society, to sacrifice yourself for the common good. But as society doesn’t really believe in real people, but intellectual constructs based on people, you’ll only be helping a construct, if even them. You’re expected to follow public opinion, or at least pay lip service to it, but public opinion does not refer to the opinion that the majority of people have generated by themselves. Public opinion is most often implanted by the media onto unwitting people. Society is merely a means for an empire, or the head of an empire, to delude the masses to believe the actions said empire does to gain more power is in the interest of everyone.
I’m not saying community is good and society bad. Well, I’m saying society is bad, or at least almost always bad. I guess a delusion can lead to positive results on occasion. Society is an artificial, man-made concept, whereas community is a natural one. A community consists of real, live human beings. If those human beings are assholes, your community might suck, but since you are a part of that community you should take a look in the mirror and think what you can do to change it. Society though, is a rough generalization at best. It can work as a broad description of tendencies of a certain large group of people: “Finnish society likes ice hockey, coffee and alcohol.” True, but only as a generalization, and it should not be used as an excuse to coerce others to follow the values of a society. Didn’t the Nazis send people into concentration camps for “anti-social” behaviour? If I’m not here tomorrow, I’ll be at the camps too for not being overtly enthusiastic about ice hockey.