Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Fellowship of Equals.

Maybe 30 years ago I joined this community. At the time the fee was $800 which I have yet to pay because I never went there. Once I took a train through Deming thinking I would stop in but I didn’t. My life is filled with such events. The California Rosicrucians once invited me to come live at their center in California but I never went there either. I’ve lived in some community situations. Some I had a leading role in and some I was just a part of for awhile. Some were right on and some were very strange but useful for the purpose of observation.

A regular reader, Richard, sent me some real estate pages for locations in France because I was talking about putting together- with the help of others- a living community that would allow for some shelter from the storm. You’d be amazed at what you can get for about a million five or even less than that. Some people might think that’s a lot of money. I don’t think that’s much money at all. Money is not nearly so hard to get as people think. If you have a creative mentality and a persistent sense of industry there is no limit to what you can achieve. I’m writing this today in a general way in relation to the idea of something that I will see happen sooner or later so it might be useful to talk about it a little.

I toy with money making ideas in my mind but I don’t do much about them. For me there are far more important things than that. Still... there are a number of ways that a collection of willing minds and hands could generate significant capital. I’m not going to lay any of them out here but I’ve come up with some good ones and I suspect that others around here could be even more savvy if they wanted to. Some of these ideas are not only lucrative they are as great deal of fun as well. In some cases you can make yourself the attraction which generates the income. This aspect is not the hard part. The hard part is in the collection of the right personalities within the right commonly agreed parameters of interaction. The latter is easy if the former is accomplished. A solid core group will generally be stable enough to manage features like expansion, which can be tricky for various reasons.

What I know about communes at the moment is that a lot of them tend to reflect behavior patterns that aren’t all that much better than what they left. There’s alcoholism and habitual drug use in a lot of them and some of those, which are based around a particular personality, entity or philosophy can be either too rigid or seriously wack. You can look into communities around the world and get a taste of the kind of things that go on. People are people and they tend to act out in certain ways.

For myself, I am looking for the company of people who combine spirituality with intelligence and humor and who are industrious because they enjoy it. This doesn’t mean one can’t take off large amounts of time to do nothing at all... it depends on the quality of ‘nothing at all’. I’ve lived as a recluse for a number of years and it suits me fine. Still, the idea of common purpose and the force and transformation that can be generated in group endeavors is an intriguing idea. I know a lot of communities are based around giving people a place to come and work out their changes on the way to some further point. Personally, I’m not interested in group therapy situations or watching the peace makers engaging the combative types, the power junkies against the iconoclasts ...or vice versa. I don’t care for games and pecking orders or any rules besides common sense. This is why you need the right chemical mix of people. A collection of self-governing individuals requires no other framework of organization. I’m not out to save the world or to create something that could have been wonderful and which turns into a job.

There are enough special individuals that fit this description running around to fill any number of small communities and in some cases already do.

I have it on pretty good authority that I am going to come into a certain amount of resources that will make it possible for me to generate something like this without any other help. My intention is to generate it and just be there with the limited personnel I am already aware of. What follows will follow. I already live in a situation that would sustain some number of people but I don’t think it’s the final location and there may be no final location in that respect. What I am saying is that I plan to do this regardless of whether people show up or not. I believe I am already doing it.

Since everything visible comes here from the invisible, the first expression of anything is the idea. This is followed by a blue print which is followed by the actual process of making it and then there is the thing itself. Let’s consider a bed. First there is the idea of lying down. This is followed by all the types of beds that the imagination brings forth; all the designs and prototypes. Then comes the tools and the industry that manufactures the bed. Then comes the bed itself and then comes you lying on it. You can apply this to anything. It all gets here the same way.

We already have a virtual community and that may be enough. We live inside each others heads and we inspire each other whether we are aware of it or not. As for this virtual community, I would say that we are mostly aware of it. The wide range of talents and awareness that we find here is formidable. I suspect we could do most anything, provided we were motivated to and the good thing about it is that we are generally motivated toward the higher range of our possibilities.

I’m just tossing this out here because it’s been moving through my mind lately and it might be something to think about. We don’t know where the future may find us when it turns into the present.

The power of minds unified in single purpose is something that has been known since antiquity. It is the same power that is manipulated by those whose intention is to shape the world according to their own ends. It is what makes certain cultures stand out among the competition; if only for awhile. It is the ideals that are commonly agreed upon that provide the environment for their appearance as palpable realities. We are what we think we are as much as we are defined by what we think of others. It can be wonderful during those periods of time before the lawyers and the bankers start having their late night dinners with the robber barons and the war criminals.

The beauty of a smaller community is that you can defend against these things.

As far as America goes, its downfall was written into its genesis. Any time you want to grant a greater liberty you open the door for a following tyranny. Things tend to turn into their opposite given the inherent corruption of mortal ambitions upon the public at large.

I’m not saying I know what the solutions are. I’m saying I have some idea about the dangers and once there is a common understanding about the dangers you can set your guidelines based on them.

These dangers are no less present in the virtual than they are in the physical and it is desirable to arrest and treat with them in the virtual prior to having to deal with them once they’ve taken on a manifest appearance. Our phsical being is an enormous landscape of cultures and warring entities and you don’t see many people succeeding at that. It would be naïve to assume you would have any better success dealing with elements you can’t control inside yourself.

Something to think about.

Visible sings: The Sacred and The Profane by Les Visible♫ You Remind Them of Me ♫
'You Remind Them of Me' is track no. 6 of 13 on Visible's 2007 album
'The Sacred and The Profane'


The Sacred and The Profane by Les Visible

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Les,

I live in paradise at the moment but it sits in the middle of the dark empire. We, my partner and I would most like to join in the building and sailing of a land ark as you have described.

I will email you some ideas and more.

blessings,

amicus

William Wilson said...

Hi Les, your vision is interesting as is your take on resources.
My experience has been........different.It'd be interesting to hear elabortion.
Something like what you are describing sounds a worthy endeavor.
Your description of experiences re a certain organization, once again, sounds similar.

RJ Dewhurst said...

Les --

I'vee been thinking along the same lines. With internet etc. it should be possible to engineer new living order -- as opposed to new world order.

RJ
My word verification is ousli -- owsley? Is this a sign?

Anonymous said...

Les, sure you know the "dangers?" I feel ya on this, but group ideas have all natures of issues some being dangerous? Yet we do know that sharing wills creates light and love. It back to the intensions thing, again? Here to live, or judge? A living order, nice, but not new.

Le Mat

Nayon said...

Bonjour Les

I am a french Canadian, and if this kind of door ever opens before me, I will think seriously about crossing the ocean.

Nayon

Visible said...

There is a new Reflections in a Petri Dish up now.

Flaming Dumpsters and your Dying Breath.

RML said...

A "Fellowship of Equals;" that says it all; three words like three notes makes the chord.

Decades ago, we did a documentary on "Utopian Communities" -- why so many failures, why so few successes? Not only was the list very short on the success-side, so were the REASONS for the success.

As the word Community implies and requires, the sin quo non is the ability to SHARE. If this is not second nature to you, don't bother joining. In our seeing-only-one-side-of-the-coin society, when we conjure up SHARING images, it almost always is one sided; i.e., sharing wealth, sex, fruits of labor... all of that. All of which is essentially, taking.

What we don't see is the flip side of sharing: sharing responsibility for the common weal; sharing the semper peratus; and those gears that Dumas so finely clocked into the working mechanisms of "All for one, one for all."

Back to the list:
-- Success occurred when all the participants PHYSICALLY took part in the building/expanding/improving the property. If you are not going to get your hands dirty, your participation will be short-lived.

-- Success lies in self- sufficiency -- producing nutrition and/or producing products that are bartered for nutrition. The Amana Community is a long-standing utopian process that worked because everyone took part in making things. The Shakers perfected crafts as well.

For those who are familiar with Maria Montessori's original methods, a balanced person is one who uses heart, head and hand in enterprise.

-- The community is not an intellectual or physical exercise alone. Carry water and chop wood; do everything consciously.

-- for me, consciousness is the adhesive binding all. If there would be any agenda, it would be increasing one's consciousness which would only resonate harmonically with others in the group plowing the fields of awareness.

-- The founding of the community works well when the founders are not there to learn communal concepts, but to practice them.

They are not there to take, but to give. Not to put too grand a scale on it, but it would lean more to a bodhisattvic perspective.

For many of us who have experienced ashrams, monasteries, spiritual communities, gated communities and even prisons, one comes away with the sense that: since we are spiritual beings, we see that all evolution is not singular, it is communal.

In all of these experiences -- in hindsight -- we knew who would really be a community member and who would not. This is intuitive.
Our intuitive inner nature in the common denominator, not some religious, economic, political or social belief.

A belief connotes a lack, a diminishment that must be inflated in order for it to have a working reality. A belief that there are no beliefs is also a belief. It is this circular hodge-podge that leads to hierarchies, dogmas, and coulda-shoulda-woulda's that drag everything down.

-- The understanding of freedom-not-license. Again, spiritual beings intuitively know the differences, no matter what the nuance.

Many of us -- like sleepers -- have dreamed of creating/being a part of a shelter in the storm. Some of us have been lucky enough to have gone through various attempts/betas at the ideal. The time was not right. The right time is rapidly approaching. And my mantra is that I am looking for my people; to be with my people; to help make it happen.

Not intended to be windy or didactic. Just sharing.

Visible said...

RML;

Beautifully said and pretty much what I've also learned. You're right. We tend to know already who is part of the schematic.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Mr V. There are many, though, who are unable to bring the material resources needed into manifestation. The ability to do so seems to be an aptitude like other aptitudes. An endowment? Karmically distributed?
Many thanks also to RML for a concise, thoughtful, and wide-ranging summing up of the issues involved.
Best to you both,
Wonderer

john said...

A bit of extra ambition for you all. First a community base on each continent, then more. Small 2/3 acre waystations within a couple of hundred miles of each other capable of putting up travellers for a week or longer. People can travel between communities taking skills where needed, staying as long as is useful or tolerable. Initially maybe set up as an internet forum (if internet possible) to share needs and news, travellers details etc. If one country looks bad people move on. Can also work without internet. Just a thought anyway.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Canadian born medical doctor now working in Sweden with double citizenship and therefore the right to live and work in any EU country.
Les, I like very much what you are suggesting.
I believe you can count me in.
When?

RJ Dewhurst said...

Les, RML and others --

I think many of us have experienced less than optimal communal living experiences... The major reason most communes fail is that they are not economically sustainable -- not that they are philosophically flawed. Re: sustainability I've been looking for clues from the ancients. First, I recently saw a doc on the huge civilization that lived on connecting islands in the Amazon. It seems this culture was able to amend useless soil into super rich, dark super soil, still mined and sold in Brazil. Although not yet completely understood, it seems to revolve around vegetation halfway burned down and added to soil. Need more info -- as this alone could mean cheap land not thought suitable for farming.

Along the same lines, the Lake Titicaca communty used raised beds and standing water trenches between crops to save crops from freezing. Rudolf Steiner has a wealth of info -- from making oxygen water to growing crops with magnetic energy, crystals and electric current. Then there are dry farming techniques used in the High Plains of USA that change growing season to planting in the fall to lessen impact of dry summers...Also all these cultures were superior aqua engineers...

Then there's alternative energy, etc.

It would be great if we could collect info along these lines

With superior knowledge and loving hearts, much can be accomplished.

RJ

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's so much a struggle with nature nature as it is the monkey wrenchness which is human nature.

RJ Dewhurst said...

Les --

Also in Tihuanaco, they built woven vegetation fibers into islands that lay directly on top of lakes. This method insured 3-4 crops cycles per year.

Any of this ringing any bells?

RJ

RML said...

To RJ --

My bookmarks are jam-packed with sites on everything sustainable. A few things:

1) You obviously have looked into biodynamic farming (which is the Steiner method you mentioned). If there is a gestalt of all the best ways to nurture the soil to being forth food that actually nourishes, this would be the methodology (not the only one, but a very good one).

2) There are two (at least) crops that provide a full-spectrum of nutrition within themselves: spirulina and hemp. There is no waste. With sunlight and clean water, you can live off of them.

3) There are a multitude of off-the-grid power generation methodologies available, especially with moving water. This is the easy part.

4) Water is the most critical. Live water should be mandatory as to choosing the location. Also, the problems with water purification have been solved via the quite miraculous chlorine dioxide ion. We have small projects in the bush in Guinea, and malaria and bad water are the major killers. Chlorine dioxide has (quietly) remedied these in-country problems.

Back to Les and the Fellowship of Equals -- here is the spindle around which all turns. It's not the clash of disparate personalities, or Aquarians bumping into Virgos, it's all about a fellowship of souls who are themselves: like a forest of trees: oaks not wanting to be pines, nor dogwoods envying the pear trees. Why would they want to be anything other than who/what they are?

I can easily imagine an effort/ place where all the separate parts -- enjoying their individuality -- sharing themselves for the whole, for the One. The wonderment that awaits a true effort in oneness cannot be described in words; music maybe, but not words.

All the best,

john c, UK said...

I'm in, as i said in another post, I can hunt, fish and grow things.

I know this is right.

Visible said...

Man who hunts and fishes. Canadian Doctor and all the rest of you. My apologies for not being responsive. You are welcome and it will happen.

Here's some examples of what we can get if we want

The cool clean sands of serenity.I'll be able to buy any one of these all by my lonesome in a short while so... if others can help or bring talents, like the good doctor, we are there and I've got all kinds of cool money making ideas to follow once we do and I suspect you do too.

I am going to do this. I might not be in residence all that much since I have certain duties to The Mother Ship and my Native Planet but it will get done.

Just hang in there and continue to visit because it will happen when it happens.

I had a mysterious house guest for the last several days and that's why I haven't been responding. He's gone now.

I'm on the radio tonight, go to Smoking Mirrors comments for the link.

Later.

Anonymous said...

Glad to have found this gathering.

Look forward to hear of y'all's experiences in manifesting communities/fellowships of equals.

Been my dream since Whole Earth Cat 1.

Islands of examples/patterns is the way to go.

I'm aiming at the south coast of Jamaica. Will post progress.

Best to Les and All.

nina said...

I am not sure about a few posters' gender here, but if I don't throw my hat in the ring, you might end up with only males.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the hat Nina.

Steve S the Anonymous heading to Jamaica.

Anonymous said...

Reading more, yes John, interconnected islets linked by right intent and internet. Les is looking at Belize? Lots of parallel things happening here in Beautiful British Columbia, especially on Vancouver Island. I'm not in Jamaica yet.

Whose right intent? I'm trusting common sense guided by gut feeling and supported by tough love, kindness and the reawakening of Stewardship. Did I forget anything?

Working with land, air and water (when I can) has tuned and clarified my intent. Seeing/understanding the forest and beyond while enjoying and planting the trees keeps things real.

Cooperate, coevolve, observe, respond, water, plant, reap, advise, wait, play, learn, build, craft, create, gold to green and green to gold.

With Respect, Steve.

Zoner said...

Best of luck to you in this. It is something that has a very strong attraction here and I would love to be of assistance in any way that I can.

Z

Tharpa said...

Re French real estate: this is old info from the early 1990's but I suspect little has changed. I helped find rural estate property for a buddhist community. We bought one for $350,000 that had about 30 bedrooms, a separate 2-bedroom single-storey house, barns, outbuildings, fields, a lake, another little house, an old tennis court and so forth. Yes, it needed renovation work (to the bedrooms principally), but not the roofs, electrical or plumbing.

The one I preferred cost a lot more, a whopping $800,000. This one had 80 bedrooms, a large dining hall for 150 with stained glass ceiling 50' above, a large library, summer dormitories for men and women (100 each), a separate building with 10 bedrooms and another with 7, 150 year old chestnut tree lanes, a football field etc. etc.

Why are they so cheap? Simple: in part it is taxes, but mainly it is heating and maintenance costs. Unless you are going to make a hotel of such a property, how can you afford to run it? And in some of the areas such places are to be found, how can you run a hotel with 70+ bedrooms anyway? You can't. So they can be had for a song.

Smaller properties cost much more because they are more workable.

You can also find entire villages essentially deserted and for a song, but the legal issues involving the property rights can make the entire thing unworkable, which is why they remain deserted.

To find a place like this you scan the International Herald Tribune in Paris, and get the 2-3 national real estate classified mags they publish in France. You rent a car and have about $300 a day for expenses. It will take you between two weeks and 3 months to find something like the above examples.

The Village Idiot said...

-I had to bust this into two comments since a message came up and said "Must be at most 4,096 characters."-



Les,

I'm lagging behind these days; you make more blog posts faster than I can get around to reading them! I think it's because I'm almost being crushed under the weight of my To Do list, and most of the things on it are barely manageable precisely because I'm working by myself these days.

A focused, reasonably intelligent mind working all by itself can usually tread water fairly well, but I'm not at all satisfied with that. I want more out of life, and by that I mean I want to do something worthwhile that leaves a positive impact on the world, whether it be detoxifying soil and watersheds with mycoremediation or promoting conscious human evolution.

Your idea would be the perfect venue for both, which makes sense as it's all connected. The trick is fitting all the spiritual, mental, physical, political, and technological pieces together properly, and the ideas and experience of yourself and the people who've already commented on this post are shaping up to be a potent force towards that end.

RML,(among others who shared their experience) thanks for saving me a bunch of typing! I'd have made some mention of almost everything you pointed out about living in communal settings, all of which I've found to be true as well. I've talked at length with Albert Bates, one of the founders of The Farm, an intentional community in Tennessee started in 1971(one of the relatively few still around from the many that began in the 70's).

I asked him a lot about the evolution of the community over the years, and it was a fascinating story (and quite long). One of the most important points he raised was about hygiene; it was a bit lax at first, but the occasional cholera outbreaks fixed that! He talked a lot about their internal politics and how that evolved through the various disputes and problems, but there was one unspoken detail I picked up on about the place that gave me an a-ha! moment... [continued in next comment...]

The Village Idiot said...

[continued from above]
The Farm felt almost deserted, and signs of activity were minimal. Permaculture and strawbale construction classes were held there (I was there to help teach one; this was in 1995), seminars on organic agriculture and alternative energy went on regularly, and they had a small gourmet mushroom business there. But that was it, sitting on a little under 2000 acres. But that couldn't have been it! Could it?

Well, there's this small town right next to it, it turns out. To make a long story short (too late, I know), I didn't want to be nosy and ask to verify this, but my guess is that the full members of the community are that small town. Now, it might be a communal survival strategy that is only necessary in the US, but by filling up (or possibly building from scratch) their own town they eliminate a lot of the headaches a local gov't can cause a closed community. They may well have a clear majority on their County Commission (I'd expect so), so not even the county is going to screw with them! Nice gig to have if you're in the US, but maybe moot elsewhere, though probably not. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

The other side of organizing a community that way is that all the hanger's-on, vagrants, and serious prospective members who wander in (hard to tell the difference at first) get stashed on The Farm in a sort of apartment complex-type thing that looked to me like all the worst ideas about communal living jammed into one place (but sure to drive away freeloaders real quick). Granted, it may be different now. If you prove yourself out on The Farm for a while, I suppose they invite you to join and you can live wherever the full members live. Les, when your vision has manifested, and if it's not on an island, then as word spreads it's going to draw a mixed crowd, and I think the implications of that should be considered when scouting possible locations.

I'd better sign off for now, but I'll leave you with one of the most upbeat illustrations of how one person doing their thing, no matter how peculiar it might look to someone else, can initiate something a whole lot bigger (3 minutes, starts slow, shaky, but great even if you don't care for the music):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA8z7f7a2Pk

I'll be thinking about this (like I've been doing for the past 15 years), and I'll write you when I get my thoughts more focused so I don't ramble on and on like I tend to.

-The Village Idiot