How can we get around our programming of always being "PC," and start talking to each other with trust, patience, and an objective spirit?
I wanted to start a topic about Social Permaculture, and how we can learn to communicate in a healthy, practical way.
I am currently a part of a nomadic community that travels the United States. We work and live together on a daily basis, which allows me to study and actively participate in intentional living, whether I like it or not.
The most difficult part of living together that I have observed, in any scenario, is improper communication. in the United States especially, through a mixture of rapidly advancing social technology, and social norms causing fear of rejection, insecurities, and general social anxiety, I notice a difficulty in humans being able to express their emotions without fearing they will make a fool of themselves. I also notice people tend to immediately respond defensively when facing criticism.
I believe this has to do with personal insecurities brought on by unhealthy social environments, and, primarily, the struggle many Westerners have with listening properly.
I heard someone put it like this, once. Most people are either talking, or waiting for someone else to finish talking, so they can return to talking themselves.
I've spent much of my adult life living in intentional community settings of various sorts. Two of these blew up in my face with high drama!
My takeaway lesson was this.....with enough information and enough energy and enough startup money, it's relatively easy to start a settlement, a commune, an ecovillage, or a homestead. It's easy to grow your own food, provide your own power, build your own house....all of it. It only takes a bit more savvy and some connections to contrive ways to make money while doing these things, too. But getting along with other people is the one thing that will bring it all crashing down every time! People will talk about what brings marriages and families down, and communities too.....things like money, children, diet, pets, religion, and sex all come up, and those are all important sources of conflict, but beyond and beneath all of these is a certain set of people skills, a certain give-and-take, a tolerance, a perseverance that is quite lacking in modern Western culture.
As I've commented before and elsewhere, I think that to some extent this process of fragmentation and de-skilling has been engineered in the interests of profit. Before the world wars, the normal social unit in America was the extended family. Several relatives and multiple generations living together, sharing money and chores. Then the idea of the nuclear family, living distantly from relatives, arose. And now we have single-parent families, and large numbers of single people living alone. Think of all the services performed on those old farms and large households that are now outsourced into the money economy. Beginning with childcare and eldercare, and on through the whole array of activities around food production, preservation, and preparation.....how many modern young people don't even cook?
I've also spent time in village-based cultures (such as India, Bangladesh, and Nepal). I have no romantic delusion about it....life in such situations can be very repressive of individuality and freedom, and there can be long, simmering family and religious feuds that can propagate for generations.....both issues which are handily resolved in the West by simple relocation. But basic skills of how to get along with people are scarce....
Yes, communication and community skills are scarce, but we have identified the problem. Now, we need solutions. People must be willing to change and grow, to admit their shortcomings and push through insecurities.
In my opinion, 2 important things to consider with any sort of relationship,
1) TALK IT OUT, do not hold onto bitter feelings... feel them, process them, ask yourself why you are feeling these things and if it is rational or driven by fear and insecurity or worse EGO and 2) DON'T BE OFFENDED, when we take every little thing personally and than add that to bottled up feelings and resentments, we're casting a spell for disaster!!
Talk it out.. work things through, be honest with yourself most importantly and trust who you are dealing with. I believe Trust is one of the most important aspects to any healthy relationship.
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