by John Preston (gizmoguy[the number one] [@t] gmail [d0t-c0m])
This document intends to explain my reasons for wanting to live in a commune,
and what that commune should look like in certain respects. If you'd like to
pick my brains a little more afterwards, e-mail me at the above address,
replacing the square bracketed sections with the appropriate text. The working
title for the commune is "Community One", and throughout the text it may be
referred to by such, or by "the commune", "C1", or some other appropriate term.
My main motivation is the greedy motivation: it's what I want. I want to live in
a society that isn't harmful to nature (or perhaps I should say, is less harmful
to nature), I want to live in a society where I have the freedom to do what I
want (within the limits of our ethics, which we will discuss later), I want to
live in a society where I don't have a care in the world, and where I can live
each day as I wish, I want to live in a world free from higher government,
capitalism, and injustice, I want to live out my days with some close friends.
Moving to a commune is a great way to achieve these goals with maximum success.
Another reason, which is much more important, is for the Book. The Book will be
the total collection of all of the knowledge we (used throughout the rest of the
article to refer to the future population of the commune) will have used to
build C1. This may not seem too critical, but when you learn a bit more about
what the commune will be like, you'll see why this mammoth task matters so much.
In short, (I believe that) no other commune like this has been built, and as a
key part of my philosophy I see providing this knowledge in the form of the Book
as potentially revolutionary.
If you're someone interested in living in such a society with me, I will likely
find your reasons for why irrelevant. That's not to say I am not interested, but
rather that it will probably have no bearing on our shared life together; it's
not about any one's why, it's about our what.
As someone interested in politics and ethics, I find myself thinking about them
a lot. My eventual move to the commune is merely a practical extension of my
thought. Surely one should judge a philosopher by what he does, not what he says
or thinks and then subsequently fails to do.
There are a number of approaches to various problems I have pondered which have
led me to my conclusions, but I'll start off with what I believe to be the
easiest and strongest argument. I believe that legitimate action must come from
an agreement beforehand between all parties affected by said action, and that
all other forms of action are illegitimate. Two people should be able to fight
to the death if they've both consented to it. Obviously, it can start getting
more complex when you introduce other factors such as one's "state of mind",
(and one can argue about the effects on their friends and family when someone
dies, etc. It's not the best example I've ever made) but that's the core idea:
consent, agreement, tolerance. From this, we quickly arrive at the conclusion
that if one can move to live in a forest in an independent way that doesn't
affect the rest of society, then one should be able to do so. This is what I'm
doing with the commune, creating a fork of society that will exist
independently, and that will hopefully co-exist with the current one (by which
I mean the 'society at large' that you are likely in as you read this).
And so we arrive at the one unshakeable tenant, the core philosophy of the
commune: complete independence. Now you can see why the Book is so important;
such a task has not been documented before, and if it is documented then other
people can read that documentation and make their own communes with ease. People
will then have the ability to live as they want much more easily in their grasp.
My philosophy (cont. I)
I hypothesise that dissemination of the content within the Book will help to
lead us to a new stage of social evolution. If new societies can be created,
then we will see the rapid (compared to history so far) prototyping of social
structures on a wide variety of scales. Want to live in a communist monarchy? No
problem, just leave me alone. Want to see if capitalism works effectively with
only a handful of people? Sure thing. By enabling 'society at large' to fracture
in this way, we not only give the individual the power to live as he wants, but
we also get more data about more 'radical' social structures, characteristics,
and policies, and we create stronger feedback between societies and their
inhabitants, which I foresee leading to a politics that better fits human
nature, and that is more flexible to change over time. Not to mention the
positive ecological effects of lower-tech, lower-population, distributed living
(assuming such new societies follow our environmental ethos to some degree).
All of that, of course, hangs on writing the Book and getting it out there,
which is why I see the creation of the commune as something so important.
What? (cont. I)
As of writing (2012-01-1 I am the only 'resident' of C1, and so the entire
vision for how it will look is mine. Naturally, I'm open to input from the rest
of the populace, it's just that there isn't any one else yet. As I said before,
I want to live out my days with my friends, so what I hope is that I can find
other people who agree with my arguments, or just want to live in a similar way,
and we can become friends and end up living together in a way similar to the one
There are some things I feel strongly about, but I am willing to give way to
reason in all parts of my life. The reason I often feel strongly about these
things is because I believe them to be well-reasoned! That said, logic is my
guide, and I would very much like to live with other people of a similar vein,
perhaps causing C1 to become a "city of philosophers".
The first key principle is the Principle of Complete Independence, as already
discussed. This means we must have security in food, water, shelter, everything
we will ever need. This also means that we must be able to replace everything we
use in the construction of the commune. Complete Independence means not only the
ability to be self-sufficient, but the ability to remain completely separate
from any community for as long as desired, and for new communities to have the
ability to form from ours, as is the purpose of the Book. If we can build a
community using only tools that we ourselves can make, then we have created a
complete split from our current society, not just for us but for the future
generations of societies that may eventually arise.
The second principle I hold dear is the Principle of Minimal Environmental
Impact. Whatever we do will likely have some detrimental effect on the rest of
nature, and I believe that such effects should be minimised, for the sake of all
life on the planet. This also ties in with preventing unwanted interaction
between separate societies, as the biosphere affects everyone, and so any damage
to it will probably indirectly affect someone in an unwanted way, and that's
just from a purely anthropocentric perspective. This principle means things like
permaculturegardening, compressed earth construction, complete composting, etc.
The third principle is the Principle of Consensus. We all live together, and as
a small community I believe consensus decision making will work to provide the
best form of government. This doesn't have to follow any strict rules, and there
doesn't have to be any strict adherence to my theory of consent or any other
ethical, political, or social paradigm. However, I think we should all listen to
each other, and try to come to agreements on matters in the commune. As a small
society, we need small government, and we should respect everyone's thoughts and
Forming a new society with these goals is a difficult task, and I foresee that
this will take many years. As more people read this (and similar) documents,
some will become interested in these ideas and in C1, if they do not start
forming their own communities. After a network of us has been established and a
definite population has been found, the next stage is the learning and mastery
of all of the skills we will needs to survive. Years of research will have to be
done, and many experiments will have to be conducted. We will have to be able to
build houses, to make pots, to grow crops. Over time, as learning continues, our
communication will result in the formation of friendships, and by the time we
will have mastered the necessary disciplines for the formation of the commune,
we will know each other well, and we will know who we do want to live with. As
such, the educational stage can take place as an open affair not specific to C1,
but as a global collaboration by interested individuals. This knowledge will
form the basis for a preliminary copy of the Book. Soon after we feel we are
ready, we will move out to form C1, where we can live in the reality of our own
construction. Here, we will finish the Book, and this will be delivered into
the larger society we will have left for dissemination.