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building community vs. our "obey or else" instinct

 
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Chaz Bender wrote: our inherent role is custodianship of Earth, animals and one another



I would like it very much if that were true, but I've never seen any evidence of it.  Quite the opposite.
 
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What a wonderful thread! If we were sitting around a campfire together for a few hours, how much fun this could be... A few thoughts to stir the delicious pot...

Per Jack Billford's suggestion early in the thread, I'm deliberately narrowing this response to talk about me, and how I relate to other individuals.
I recognize that the sum total of what is happening between lots of people might be what some call community, but I find it much clearer to examine the atoms which are me, and how I relate to another individual.

Thought #1... Paul's OP said "I kinda feel like the important stuff from this is to recognize: ... we are all capable of this sort of inappropriate behavior" (referring to the "obey or else" instinct).
(Caution, I grabbed only the first half of Paul's comment. No intent to misquote him.)

I'd like to acknowledge that I, for one, am capable of such mistakes.
My youngest children have a much better father than my oldest children because I learned to begin recognizing and correcting such things in myself.
Fortunately, my oldest children have grown marvelously, in spite of my errors, and generously forgive me.

And I agree with Paul that becoming aware of such behavior in ourselves affects our ability to improve rather than damage community our relationships.


Thought #2... Much of the damage I've done, and gradually learned to not do, and gradually learned to repair... stems from my reactionary attempts to hold someone accountable for a thing which they never agreed to.

This relates to many earlier comments in this thread about contracts... and expectations. Here's how I've been explaining it for the last fifteen years since a huge aha breakthrough revealed the obvious to me...

When something goes wrong, involving another person... my instinctive and ineffective responses are as follows...
...my instinctive internal response is to lay blame on them (see Avery reference later)
...and my instinctive external response is to attempt to hold them accountable for it, or "call them on it"

In that same situation, I've learned I'm more effective when I do this...
0. Ask myself, "Is this a life threatening situation demanding a response this instant?" If yes, ignore all this and react. If no, follow the steps ahead.
1. Ask myself, "Where am I coming from internally?" If I'm compromised (upset, annoyed, feeling anxiety, frustrated, etc) then fix myself before I attempt to fix the external situation.
2. Ask myself, "What do I want?" It's remarkable how often I find myself annoyed with another, and by asking this question I discover an expectation I had of them which I was previously not conscious of.
3. Ask myself, "Have I asked the other person for what I want?" If the answer is no, then it's rather easy for me to back off on viewing that person as the root of all problems in the universe until I at least make the request.
4. Ask myself, "If I did ask for what I want, did they actually agree?" It's magnificently ineffective to try to hold someone to an agreement they didn't make. It may even be impossible without violence or the threat of it.
(And when I asked my son to please clean his room, and he moaned out a long and dreary ohhhh kay... that wasn't him agreeing. That was him attempting to postpone the problem by causing me to believe that he agreed, while not actually doing so. And if I'm ignorant enough to accept that as agreement and then be surprised when it doesn't happen... that problem is entirely my own.)
5. If... and only if I've been through those steps in that sequence... then it might be an appropriate situation to hold the other person accountable for the broken agreement.
6. And if I'm going to hold someone accountable, then there are additional things I do to ensure I do so in a way that maximizes the chances of it being constructive... but I rarely have to go that far. I'm constantly shocked how often the problem is entirely solved in steps 1-3.


Thought #3... What is our intention? Are we aligned?

My experience with intentional community is quite limited. Or perhaps not. A substantial part of my work the last decade is creating/catalyzing highly effective teams in the context of my clients' organizations. We regularly take groups that have been blundering around in the fog together and get really amazing results in stunningly short periods. So maybe my thought from that context applies here...

Before I can help a team become highly effective, they must actually be a team.
A team is not a bag of people reporting to the same boss, nor is it a group of people homesteading a particular piece of land.
A team is a group of people aligned to a common goal.
And I project this definition onto intentional communities, only because the only such community that I've known did meet that definition... and because intentional is part of the name.

In corporate work, it's common for me to find a dozen people who are labeled a team, but they lack any shared goal. If I ask them each why are they there, their reasons are entirely divergent.

If a team aligns to a common goal, they still have plenty to disagree about... how will we get to that goal... how will we work together... should the guy next to me be required to use breath mints and deodorant... etc. That's a lot of stuff to wade through to get to where they can be truly effective together.
But if they aren't aligned to a common goal, there is zero chance of them going through all that stuff to get to a place of effectiveness.


Finally... if you made it to the end of this epic tale...

I highly recommend two books to anyone interested in this subject
  • The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict, by the Arbinger Institute. It's here on Amazon. Advance warning, for some of us this book is so mind bending that many parts must be read multiple times to reconcile them with our amazing capacity for self-deception.
  • The Responsibility Process: Unlocking Your Natural Ability to Live and Lead with Power, by Christopher Avery. It's here on Amazon.





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    Trace Oswald wrote:

    Chaz Bender wrote: our inherent role is custodianship of Earth, animals and one another



    I would like it very much if that were true, but I've never seen any evidence of it.  Quite the opposite.



    If I may, and Chaz can correct me if I'm wrong, I think the point is that humans are uniquely positioned to fill the niche of being custodians of ecosystems, intentionally using our amazing reasoning capabilities to steer the biosphere to its most fecund, abundant, and life-giving. Obviously humans have not done this, but the point is we can. We're a bit like "weeds" - good plants in the wrong place. We have a niche to fill, and we need to learn how to fill it, not overrun the yard, so to speak.
     
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    Trace Oswald wrote:

    Chaz Bender wrote: our inherent role is custodianship of Earth, animals and one another



    I would like it very much if that were true, but I've never seen any evidence of it.  Quite the opposite.



    While collectively that could never happen... each individual is free to manifest that ideal in their own life.
     
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    Trace Oswald wrote:

    Chaz Bender wrote: our inherent role is custodianship of Earth, animals and one another


    I would like it very much if that were true, but I've never seen any evidence of it.  Quite the opposite.



    Currently we're not very successful caretakers because of these man-made 'psychological pathogens' that have us self-destruct. I won't go into my perspective on this now because I don't want to hijack or digress from topic too much... For whatever reason, volition, our impressionability, subjugation, negligence, ignorance, indifference, etc., enables us to act discordantly harming ourselves and everything/one else... The chain-of-life operates within an equilibrium, building resiliency and profusion manifesting itself as more and more complex iterations of itself - all building resiliency... Humans are the only organism that can and do often override and defile this magnificent, adaptive harmony that is nature. No matter how much we've wavered from this - we're still part of this macro-organism that is nature; thus, we should be in harmony with it, bolstering and optimising it as custodians. I can't unequivocally prove this.

    If I may, and Chaz can correct me if I'm wrong, I think the point is that humans are uniquely positioned to fill the niche of being custodians of ecosystems, intentionally using our amazing reasoning capabilities to steer the biosphere to its most fecund, abundant, and life-giving. Obviously humans have not done this, but the point is we can. We're a bit like "weeds" - good plants in the wrong place. We have a niche to fill, and we need to learn how to fill it, not overrun the yard, so to speak.



    Yes George - I feel the same.

    Asthely Rayson - some very good pointers and experience there. Thank you.
     
    pollinator
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    Chaz your example of homeschooled vs institutionalized schooling is a great example of how much humans are domesticated by the society we live in. I have seem much the same with homeschool kids vs public school ones.

    It really shows how much baggage we have in society and how much we put it on the kids without even realizing or knowing.

    It is one of the reasons I have said many times that the best thing we could do is completely rip down the current education system, building and all. And start from scratch. Well ok start from borrowing from what we know actually works well.

    First rebuild, borrow from Montessori,Waldorf, and other models of schooling that we have seen solid proof of them working well. Along with some homeschool proven methods. Because guess what, we could probably not have kids go in to a school building 5 days a week. Since internet is a thing now days, homeschooling is that much easier. Maybe 2 or 3 days of actual in school time. But lets kids stay home. Parents could maybe start getting them to do some chores in the time at home to help out.

    Second rebuild is when that generation grows up. Hand it to them and say, "fix it even better" Let them take the reigns and make improvements and get rid of what didn't work.

    Third rebuild is the generation who grows up after the 2nd. Rinse repeat. Let them make improvements. Until eventually there would be not only a much better school system, but a much better society filled with better people.

     
    Devin Lavign
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    George Bastion wrote:

    Trace Oswald wrote:

    Chaz Bender wrote: our inherent role is custodianship of Earth, animals and one another



    I would like it very much if that were true, but I've never seen any evidence of it.  Quite the opposite.



    If I may, and Chaz can correct me if I'm wrong, I think the point is that humans are uniquely positioned to fill the niche of being custodians of ecosystems, intentionally using our amazing reasoning capabilities to steer the biosphere to its most fecund, abundant, and life-giving. Obviously humans have not done this, but the point is we can. We're a bit like "weeds" - good plants in the wrong place. We have a niche to fill, and we need to learn how to fill it, not overrun the yard, so to speak.



    This brings me back to the hunter gathers vs the agricultural civilization topic a bit.

    For more of human time on earth we mostly lived in that balance.

    North Americas ecosystems was a great example of that. The forests were managed coast to coast. The east coast has a higher amount of nut trees than should be there, due to natives planting things they liked, as well as they did regular burning of under brush. They did similar in the west, and in both cases of fire this helped prevent catastrophic fires destroying forests by preburning fuel before it built up. In the plains here agian fire was used to burn the grasses, which in turn caused fresh new grass to come up and would attract the herds of game. This burning helped recreate the actions of the megafauna that had gone extinct that used to keep the oak savanna of the plains from turning to forest. If the Native hadn't done this work, there would have been a much different interior of the continent. Over and over you can find that the hunter gathers were subtlety sculpting nature in beneficial ways for not only themselves but for the rest of nature as well.

    It is only once Western Civ landed on the shores of the Americas things went down hill fast for the eco system. This was what happened in Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa. Hunter and gatherers were pushed out to marginal lands, absorbed into the toxic culture, or killed. Now this dominant culture has spread world wide, and low and behold we are facing world wide ecological disasters.

    but this does not mean it is human nature to be terrible and out of balance. The story is rather the opposite. Humans lived in balance for much longer than we have been out of balance. We just need to learn how to get back to balance. We need to unlearn the horrible misinformation the dominant culture is teaching the kids. And as I had posted just before this comment totally change education so we don't keep teaching kids to make the same mistakes.
     
    pollinator
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    Devin Lavign wrote:

    Chris Kott wrote:What's with the inflexible gender roles, people?

    If what is being suggested is that we each need an inner archon, I agree. This whole "mommy" and "daddy" business is toxic nonsense.

    Governance is necessary not because of any kind of widespread personal failure, in my opinion, but rather because the more capable our internal archon, the closer to megalomanic we stray.

    Government is to govern, in the same way as a governor does in a mechanical context. It keeps things from going too fast and flying apart, or from proceeding unfettered in another way, to societally disasterous result. Our internal archons need to coordinate. Government ideally keeps us working without stepping on each others' toes, and ensures laws keep up with a changing state of reality.

    -CK



    Well that is a point of view.

    The gender roles, well what is being used is less gender roles and more archetypes. Sorry if you get trigged by that, but there is such a thing as mommy and daddy archetypes, and they don't even have to be aligned with gender. I have met plenty of daddy women and mommy men.

    As for governance. I disagree. As I stated previously more of human history was without longer than with. For a clear example look at it in a timeline



    or another way to express it



    As for your point of needing it to slow things down, the opposite seems true. Things moved a lot slower before governance. It wasn't until government that suddenly things started advancing in exponential rates. As for needing it to keep up with changes, there too it seems to fail. Most of our governments are still disastrously behind keeping up with tech advancement, as well as with crisis situations like Climate Change, natural disasters, etc... The old hunter gather more anarchistic way to do society was a lot more stable and lived much more harmoniously with the rest of the world. Not to romanticize that era overly, but clearly the advent of the current society has just been one disaster building after another, continuously kicking the can down the generational road as it makes things worse and the impending doom bigger. While it might be unlikely a hunter gather society would ever develop microchips and computers, are they really worth it in the long run of what the cost to develop them has done to our planet and eachother?



    Well that's a point of view.

    Looks like progress is an ever-increasing curve to me, which makes sense if progress builds on progress. It's inevitable,
    I think, starting when our first ape ancestors made nourishment easier by fishing ants or termites out of mounds with blades of long grass.

    Anarchy is highly overrated in my opinion, and seen as a panacea for all by those who don't actually want to think about real-world solutions. It may have worked in the neolithic, but not out of our infancy.

    The mechanical governor analogy was just that. I don't hold that the goal of governance is to slow things down, but rather to moderate and regulate between competing interests so we don't foul each others lines as we fish, so to speak. With so many people doing so many different things, we need assistance to make sure the steps we take for individual advancement benefit society as a whole, or are at least of net-neutral impact.

    And tying genders to the archetypes we use isn't necessary. It's a mental shortcut that has unintended harmful consequences for our communication. We can easily use descriptors like nurturing to describe what we mean. Attributing specific characteristics to genders is misleading and tends to alienate rather than bring together. I think it's worth spending a little effort on.

    -CK
     
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    a good material for building a community. Kind of long but worth it https://culturesync.net/tools/
     
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    Stacy Witscher wrote:Here, in the Bay Area, people are mean, vicious. We have attributed it to how stressful life is here. One can work 60-80 hours a week and still be starving/struggling. While looking for housing in southern Oregon, my daughter and I have been struck but how happy and pleasant everyone is. My agent responded with they aren't so afraid they are going to be homeless. It really is astounding.



    Nice to see someone else say it, it's pretty bad. But it's not just people starving/struggling to live here, some of the worst offenders are people I know who are very, very, VERY far from struggling. Actually, the real working class people I know (one I am married to), street sweepers, day laborers, mechanics, contractors, none of them are mean or vicious at all.
     
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    Chris Kott wrote:

    Anarchy is highly overrated in my opinion, and seen as a panacea for all by those who don't actually want to think about real-world solutions. It may have worked in the neolithic, but not out of our infancy.

    The mechanical governor analogy was just that. I don't hold that the goal of governance is to slow things down, but rather to moderate and regulate between competing interests so we don't foul each others lines as we fish, so to speak. With so many people doing so many different things, we need assistance to make sure the steps we take for individual advancement benefit society as a whole, or are at least of net-neutral impact.



    Who gets to decide the best interests? Currently those who hold power and most permies disagree with what is best. By your logic, you should give up permaculture and follow cultural norms.
     
    pollinator
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    It seems like "obey or else" can be worded differently and used constructively.

    Someone gave the example of a bad house guest who is being destructive and disruptive.  

    To say "hey don't do that" is, in my opinion, NOT saying "obey me or else", it's setting a BOUNDARY, a reasonable, rational boundary, and expecting it to be respected.
    Boundaries should not be demonized but nurtured and recognized, exercised and respected.  It's give and take.  

    So yeah, manipulative 'obey or else' behavior is never good.  Actually, habitual manipulation of others, the act of exercising manipulative control over another- emotional, verbal, physical, spiritual, etc- constitutes abusive behavior.  And absolutely, yes, we should be recognizing abusive behaviors as a culture and making a shift to healthy boundaries.  Boundaries mean that at some point, yes, the action will no longer be tolerated.  And that should be a reasonable conclusion to the scenario in question.

    Problem is, our culture, at least here in America, is founded on a culture of abuse, abuse excusal, and shaming the abused.  The vast majority of people learn to manipulate, control, and abuse one another as children.  It can be extremely difficult trying to contend with those behavior patterns in a social environment, as we all probably know.  We all know that one person who just seems to control, micro-manage, and moderate everyone around them.  We tolerate it when we love the person, but at some point the boundary needs to be set; no more, or else.  The opposite of "obey or else", IMO.  The refuse to continue being controlled by another.

    I have read the words of many folks wanting to set up new communities, or recruiting for existing ones, and I see a lot of red tape, hard boundaries that aren't entirely rational, steep expectations, and a demand for conformity.  To me, that's what I thought of when I first read "obey or else".  

    I guess I would consider a "respect the boundaries set in place, or else" to be the healthy alternative to handling community misconduct.  Which takes the entire community coming together and agreeing upon those reasonable, respectful boundaries.  I don't think that job can be left to just 1 person, even if that person is the capital owner of the land or infrastructure.  That becomes a pyramid, and I feel like that really causes communities to crumble.  

    But, hey, what do I know?  
     
    pollinator
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    > boundaries...

    "Good fences make good neighbors"?  I confess, I can't recall much of that famous old essay, but I remember it making good sense. <g>


    Rufus
     
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    A monarchy/dictator is the most efficient form of government.  A democracy is slow and messy.

    I am not sure a strong central leader is a horrible idea, but I think where they have problems is NOT being completely upfront about the situation and have the rules and guidelines in places before people join.   Most central leader style communities fall apart either because people joining it did not realize there was a central leader making most of the decisions, or else the central leader changes the rules on a whim.

    I also think many communities go wrong because the planners have their eyes in the sky and think about how perfect things will be.  You really need to have some good pessimists in the group when you are designing things, people who are looking for where things could go wrong.

    But for me, really the most important thing is to have as many rules in place upfront, before you really start growing the community.  That way you don't have people joining who are blindsided when they are limited.
     
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    This is a really interesting subject, because the proper application is a fine balance between individual rights and the rights of others (which often appear in conflict). (We often use the term "group rights", although, as has been pointed out, the "group" is in many ways artificial.  We can accurately describe it as the individual rights of several other individuals working in concert).

    I am all for live and let live, but one of the constants everywhere I've been or studied, is that there is always a  small percentage of people who try to take advantage of others.  Some of these people use physical force, some resort to laws or position in society, but it's all the same behavior.  As the group gets larger, there seem to be more of these people and societal controls get weaker as these predatory types reinforce and support each other.  Currently it's fashionable to blame the rich and powerful, who sometimes achieve their status by taking advantage of others.  There is also a subset of the not-so-rich that seem to think that their lack of wealth entitles them to take advantage of others.  As a general observation, most folks I've known in all segments of society are decent folks who are willing to live and let live and pretty much live their lives with common courtesy and good sense.  In every large group though, there are what I call the 'problem children'.

    At one time there were the 'commons' around most villages.  These areas were for the common benefit of everyone in the village and were highly valued by the common folk.  They helped those who owned very little to get by.  What is often not realized is that there were very strict rules on what you could and could not do with the commons, how much wood, etc you could harvest yearly.  That was to keep some jerk from overharvesting all of the resources, selling it, and moving away to the city to avoid the social backlash.  

    Most people agree that individuals have a right to defend themselves.  Most people will also agree we have a right to defend those near and dear to us.  Group rights are, properly exercised, the exercise of individual rights by a large number of individuals who are making common cause as they see their individual rights threatened an outside individual or group.   A group of individuals acting together against a common threat are much more powerful than a single individual, or disorganized group of individuals.  

    My way or else can be viewed as fair warning.  It's unreasonable to assume that your actions do not have consequences and effect no one else.  The warning is that you are free to do what you want, but so am I.  I have decided that if you do action A, I will respond with action B.  This is not unreasonable in itself.  There used to be a Red Skelton skit where he would be dressed up like a little kid and talk to himself about doing something fun that he knew he'ld be punished for.  the punchline was always.  "Do I dood it?  I'll get a whippin' if I dood it."  He would pause and think about it for a moment and decisively announce, "I dood it!".  The ultimatum is really asking the other person if they are willing to deal with the consequences of their actions.  If it's worth it to you, go ahead and "dood it".  

    Some people, of course use the "my way or the highway" phrasing to exercise "unrighteous dominion" over others.  Some people may use the same phrasing to resist said aggression.  It's not really the phrasing that determines if your the good guy or bad guy, it's the reason for your actions, are you trying to gain control over others, or trying to maintain your personal sovereignty.  
     
    Rufus Laggren
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    The English monarchy has served _some_ purpose for a long time. Never have been sure exactly what that body did (in the larger sense) but I think it does have a function for them. Perhaps it provides, incarnates, a visible manifestation of English peoples' most basic group. Undergoing some adjustments at the moment.

    There are examples where an individual provides that sort of "talking space" (as opposed to warring). Linus Torvalds in the open source Linux community. Paul here at Permies. I'm sure one can think of many. Lots of differences, of course.

    The USA has until recently rallied around ephemeral words of "equality" for all, but that appears to be changing with the drying up of "free" resources to be exploited and the consequent competition (for real) between people. And also the apparent failure of our democracy to deal with the way people actually (don't) participate in their political freedom. Proper democratic citizenship gets to be work.

    Larger (over 10?) groups seem always to require "dog soldiers" to keep people mostly doing the community thing. Sometimes it's physical, but sometimes not. "Political officers" in various regimes have garnered themselves universal hate. There is something completely repugnant about that kind of entity... To me, anyway.

    I think groups require some external competition to form and maintain. Teenagers seem to passionately clump into groups; they exclude most in order to create their own separate group identity.

    Just random thoughts.


    Cheers,
    Rufus
     
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    We know from sociological study that highly egalitarian communities have difficulty holding together once they get beyond 200 people or so.  They split.  They no longer are able to govern themselves, so they'll break up.

    Thus, if the idea of "community" is a group of people with minimal hierarchy and governing structure, then we have to realize that such communities will struggle to scale-up beyond this 200 person threshold.

    But as a group/community gets larger than that, you will see greater levels of hierarchy and governing structure.  "Obey or else" will increasingly be seen as you move from highly egalitarian culture to a highly corporate culture.

    So why don't we choose to live in idilic egalitarian societies?  Because we want the benefits that only come with sophisticated, highly specialized, highly governed societies.  Things like a social welfare system, or a research hospital, or a professional baseball league . . . these kinds of structures are only possible with the corresponding governing "obey or else" structures.  "Obey or you can't attend our University."  "Obey or your child cannot play in this league."  "Obey or you'll not qualify for insurance or licensure."  "Obey or I'll kick you out of Disneyland."  "Obey or we will not let you transport stuff in a truck using the Interstate highway system."

    If you're content living in a small egalitarian society, then live and let live.  Oh for the simple life, right?  But if you desire to participate in modern, highly specialized social environments with all the educational, medical, financial, and artistic benefits that go along with those kinds of societies, then expect a corresponding degree of control being exercised over you.  

     
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    Marco Banks wrote:

    If you're content living in a small egalitarian society, then live and let live.  Oh for the simple life, right?  But if you desire to participate in modern, highly specialized social environments with all the educational, medical, financial, and artistic benefits that go along with those kinds of societies, then expect a corresponding degree of control being exercised over you.

    There are still better or worse ways of getting there. I've recently been reading about the difference between "participatory" democracy and "representative" democracy. The former is a lot more work, and I feel we haven't been instilling the need to vote and stay abreast of political issues enough in our educational system to teach future voters the skills they need to separate the issue from the shill to even support the "representative" version well. Both in the current book and articles I read earlier though, suggest that many of our larger countries with very high populations, in fact would benefit from much stronger, local, small area governing with cooperative liaisons with a larger area. For example, I live in one of 3 fairly small "municipalities" with their own local councils which cooperate with each other for certain services such as fire, bulk ordering, water management, transportation, etc. In fact my local fire hall is considered the "first responder" for an area of one of the other municipalities because it is physically closer and the reverse is true of sections of my municipality. There's been a push for "amalgamation", but I'm aware of areas where that push was successful and resulted in higher taxes overall and a worse outcome particularly for outlying, lower density parts of the amalgamation. So as much as Marco's made some excellent and valid points, the real question in my mind is, "how can we set things up to have our cake and eat it too?" We need new models, new experiments, and a strong awareness that people need to be "taught" to build community - not assumed to magically have absorbed the skills by osmosis.
     
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    I think all rules can be seen as 'obey or else'.  We have written rules and unwritten rules.  Nature has rules even.  Even if there are no written rules, there are the still the rules of human nature- self defense, fight or flight.  For example, if you try to take from me what is mine or hurt me, I will either fight back or run away, assuming I am a sane, physically capable person.  
    I agree with the idea of rules, so I agree with the idea of obey or else.  I am inclined to argue that community cannot exist without rules.  Human nature is a broad term.  Different humans have different nature's and some are not good for communities- thieves, robbers, vandals.  Lazy people.  Rules help deal with these people, whether written or unwritten.  
     
    Mick Fisch
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    My dad told me of a situation when he was a senior NCO in the military (he was career enlisted).  The new officer in charge of their unit was "shaking things up" and my dad finally got him alone and told him, "you are in charge, but your new to this field.  We are your subject matter experts.  You need to discuss things with us rather than just give orders, because you don't  see the whole picture."

    My favorite supervisors make 'suggestions' rather than give orders.  I know they want me to do this thing, they know they want me to do this thing, but because it's phrased as a 'suggestion' we can have a discussion about it, why, when, how, possible problems.  Once we come to an agreement, there isn't much need for them to give an order.

    I've had others supervisors that only gave orders, once the order was given, any discussion was seen as 'rebellion'.  Poor morale in those workplaces.

    I recognize the need and purpose for hierarchies, but there is still a need to treat people with respect and remember your on the same team.  Some folks get an inflated opinion of themselves and forget that we are all just people, whatever our job titles.
     
    steward
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    I think there is a big difference between "Hi, I just overthrew your government and I am in charge now" vs. "Hi, I just moved here and I understand that _______ is in charge."

    I think there is a big difference between "I have paid for this class so I know that the teacher will tell me what to do." and "I have paid for this class so I will now tell the teacher what to do."

    I started this thread because strangers (or sometimes people I know) come to me and tell me what I need to think or say.  And when I tell them I have different things I wish to think or say they then they whip out "obey or else."  

    And then some people have pointed out "Paul, you say 'obey or else' to everybody on your property, doesn't that make you a fucking hypocrite?"   And my response is that when people come here they are volunteering for my "obey or else" program.  So, I think there is a big difference between somebody volunteering for an "obey or else" program, and somebody being subjected to an "obey or else" program that they did not volunteer for.  

    If you sign up for a class, you are volunteering for the teacher's "obey or else" program.  When you get a job, you are volunteering for the employer's "obey or else" program.  

    And when we try to build community, we all volunteer for a flavor of "obey or else".   And each person has a natural desire to push an "obey or else" onto all of the others - but forcing people into an involuntary "obey or else" package is not only wrong, but destructive to community.

     
    gardener
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    In some areas of Turtle Island, otherwise known as North America, there is a legendary being known as Windigo or Witigo.  It may have many other names.  It is an all-devouring force that consumes villages with the individuals potential nature to not do the right thing.  It is an infectious disease of the mind, where one person becomes consumed with anger, and their anger, or jealousy, or greed, or some other ultra negative defect, is then spread through the village.  In legend, however, Windigo is a Cannibal Spirit, a mytholgical beast, which inhabits and transforms the possessed individual and this person then spreads the possession throughout his village or into a neighboring one, if not controlled by the good forces of a healing community.  

    I believe it to be the nature of human beings to have a choice, always, on how to behave.  Right and wrong, good and bad, there are perhaps millions of decisions that a person makes in their lifetime that have the potential to inflict harm upon another, in however small or even unintentional or purposefully deviant and possibly diabolical ways.  We also have the opportunity to do the opposite.  The thing about the way I view Windigo is that each bad decision/action that we make has the potential to spiral inwards into further thoughts, feelings, and actions within that person, and outwards within the community, wreaking havoc and growing as a force unto itself.  I believe that this Cannibal Spirit is not contained to North America, but this has been played out for centuries in communities of people all over the world, this infection of people exerting power over one another, but I don't think that it is human nature; it's human nurture... or, rather, the complete lack of nurturing which drives it.  

    There is a concept in psychology and sociology known as 'nurture over nature' which is a debate over whether humans behave as they do (in whatever the context of the discussion) because of human genetic patterns, or because of the way that we are 'brought up'.  I propose that it is predominantly the latter.  This is not so much pointing a finger at our parents, but at a culture  (in which we are born and raised) which is based on dominance, and which we, for generations have been infected with the Windigo virus, having this energy spiral out into the community, growing and building as a force unto itself.  

    We are the present result of millennia of post-colonial cycles of 'power-over' political and economic systems that celebrate victory rather than cooperation, and always our history has been written by the conquering lords, the oppressors.  The result is obvious when we view the world outside of community.  As a community member in a holistic paradigm, we see the world as a whole but it is not healed.  It is a wounded thing but it is a singular thing.  It is fragmented, broken, but it is one, and it can be healed.  But the difference is that when same world is viewed by the culture at large, it has been seen as a multitude of separate things, separate people, separate nations, separate ecosystems, separate divisible units, all.  In reality there is no separation.  This paradigm of dominance and individualism and separation is crumbling... it is slowly changing, I think.  I think I can see it happening, even on CNN!  That's the way I see it, even with all the pain and destruction in the world.  The mass media and the culture at large can not live in this space of denial, and they are infected with the truth whether they (in their Windigo diseased state) like it or not.  The world keeps showing it's oneness, despite them.   We are all Earth.  We are all the Universe.  Humanity is one thing, which is also an indivisible part of this greater singular thing called the Earth.  There can be no separation.  

    It is interesting to note that the nature of the word diabolical, (out of it's ancient pre-latin roots) is to divide.  The idea of dividing and conquering has been used by countless tyrants to destroy communities, and diabolical and diablo (the devil) are of the same source.

    I think that there is a natural element to this problem of wanting to have our own individual power.  And in that, it is genetic.  We, as humans are creatures that need to survive and ultimately our self-preservation is paramount before we can ultimately be of an extented service to our communities.  As such, there is always an element where we have to take care of ourselves and ensure that our needs are met, biologically, first, before we can extend ourselves outwards.  This very part of ourselves, however, has been expanded, through a culture which has been manipulated over time from within itself.  I suggest that this is what we need to heal, and that is done with our true human nature, which is to nurture, to come together and not to divide ourselves from one another.

    Does community, come from Common Unity?  Can we see that it is always in our personal best interest to heal each other, and to come together.

    There is a book that I have read which outlines the situation of Windigo in modern psychological terms but I can't remember it's exact title and can't find it right now.  I leant my copy out... and I think I remember who has it.  I'll post a comment here if I find/recover it.  

    In the meantime I would suggest that people read this book:  Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery.               Here's the amazon link    
     
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    I kind of stumbled across this thread. I live in what one might call an intentional community - its the basis of our rehabilitation program: "healing in the context of community".
    We have a lengthy member handbook that we have to follow  - mostly to keep the residents safe and each other safe - along the lines of stated beliefs. For a very long time there was a quote that was in the main office: "The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community." - Dietrich Boenhoffer
    Living closely with people is going to be innately hard because of differences of personalities and opinions but in my experience the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
     
    Mick Fisch
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    Rachel wrote

    "The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community." - Dietrich Boenhoffer



    That is the most profound and clear explanations I've ever heard that explains why efforts to build 'heaven on earth' always fail.  

    My interpretation is that the people in charge get to looking at the "system" and how to "force" things to be "right" and get distracted for the actual.  They forget to love each other.  (that, and the fact that we are flawed, hairless apes so perfect, at least long term, is beyond our reach at this point.  

    The japanese understood this and mistrusted the attempt to be 'perfect' in art, often putting a little flaw in on purpose.  (Or so I've heard, my exposure to Japanese culture is pretty shallow).
     
    steward
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    I'm not quite sure if this is on topic or not, but it has to do with the "obey or else" concept:

    source: I Drew This
    gift
     
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