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a different flavor of community  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22340
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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This has all been said before, but it seems that it would be helpful to some to say it a bit more clearly:

No drugs (inlcuding pot) and no tobacco:  I was at the university a few weeks ago and noticed signs everywhere that said "drug and tobacco free campus".  I like that.    I am a person that doesn't use drugs or tobacco.   I know most people are into it.   Probably something like 98% of the american population.   I know that there have been people who have come here for a workshop and it was a sacrifice to them for that period of time.    There have been hundreds of people that would have come here, but didn't because of this restriction.   They appear to still be leading happy lives.  And there are people that have expressed their opinion that I should change my position, and several other positions.   The thing is I don't need millions of people to live here - just a few dozen.  I like the idea that all of the people here are in the same boat as me:  just not interested in that stuff.   It doesn't matter about the legality of hemp or pot or whatever.  I'm just trying to build something with people that aren't interested in that stuff.

evil dictator:  Most communities use consensus - which sounds awesome, but a lot of people seem to get really burned out on it.   And now there is sociocracy and holocracy that folks can try.   The "dictator" model is actually quite common.   A farmer could carve off an acre and say "for $500 per year, you can plant a garden there - that sounds fine."  And everything you do is within the farmer's comfort zone, or the deal is off.  Similar to renting a house or renting an apartment.   Permaculture systems are perennial - so you want to put in at least five or ten years.   Maybe even 20 years and beyond.  So you don't want the deal to end.  So you need some predictability.   That is what the "200 podcast" requirement is about.  By listening to the 200 podcasts you can decide what might end the deal.  Is it worth the risk?  Is there risk?  Hopefully, the only people that come will have values extremely well aligned with what is in the podcasts. 

monies:  the idea is to end up with a bike/ped community that is divided into four sections.   Optimally, people will not want to leave property more than a few times per year.  Maybe only one person in ten actually owns a car.   To pull this off, I would think that nearly everybody would start with enough to make it for the first couple of years, and then they would develop an income stream that fits this path.  Some possibilities.  A few people have tried to show up with not even 25 cents to their name - that is BOLD!   I won't stop them, but that's gonna take some serious gumption to pull off.  Here is a list of a few income ideas - I'm sure there are a hundred more things to add to that list.  People have asked if they can come and do commuter jobs and we have always said "no - that is not what this project is about."

 
To try to paint a picture, here are some other threads:

symboo village - a generic village format that might be duplicated in other places.  But a rough draft for what we are attempting here.

the story of gert - one possible permaculture end game

reduce your petroleum footprint with homesteading, community and gardening

reduce your carbon footprint with homesteading, community and gardening

nearly all of our global problems can be solved with homesteading and permaculture

the podcasts

the big list of ways to live and visit wheaton labs

gardening gardeners encourages gardeners gardening

my first writing about husp and rehusp (2011) a bit more in 2013

the four sections

independent thought / consensus / dictator hybrid



I suspect that 99.9999% of the people of the world will find this style of community unacceptable.  I think those people will make the right choice - and not come.   This is for the very rare person that thinks that all of this stuff sounds perfect, and that they would gladly live this way for 20 years or more.



 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22340
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Spoiler alert!

We have a thread about the movie "the village".  The foundation of of the movie is a group of people that get sick of modern life and create a back-to-the-land environment of their own.  They never leave their village.  Granted, it is fiction, but ...  somebody, at the very least, had the thought.   And while the example in the movie is a bit extreme, I think the general idea has appeal to many people. 

I have met a lot of homesteaders that leave their property no more often than once a month. 

This life is not for everybody, it is for the very few that are seeking this life. 

 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
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I leave ournproperty several times a week - primarily to get mundo kids to sports and social activities in town. If there were a couple of home school families living on our mountain that would be much much less. I go shopping on those occasions - when we are more self-sufficient that will be way way less (if we have neighbors that produce stuff that we don't we would be able to trade or barter for what we need, and not buy much outside our little mountain (currently we get wine, goat milk and meat from our neighbors). We use one tank of diesel on one car (we have two but rarely use both at the same time) pr. month.

I would love to have a community such as yours - only I would like to live on my own land next to it - I like to be my own dictator 😜
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5907
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
365
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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I have met a lot of homesteaders that leave their property no more often than once a month.


This was a lifestyle that satisfied me and my husband and kids for fourteen years...a few of us on some land, we had the only children....'enough' visitors and a very few we had to send away.  We took turns going to town and even at that it was rare....

...outlooks sometimes change though...our family of four, gradually moved up the mountain (and others in the group drifted away), we rented an old cabin with no utilities for a few years, then ten years in a normal house taking care of my mom, then on to a property on our own thinking we found the perfect homestead but after fifteen years it felt too lonely and isolated...now full circle to a small rural town similar to one I grew up in.  (and we still have our original five acres as our sons have a lot of good memories from there and wanted to keep it).

I think the important thing is to never let yourself accept feeling 'stuck' with however you choose to land....leave the head space for changes.....I know it can work if that's what you're looking for.....and as Paul say's, it's not for everyone....
 
Kerry Rodgers
Posts: 122
Location: North Texas, Dallas area suburbs, US zone 8
34
forest garden toxin-ectomy
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Judith Browning wrote:
This was a lifestyle that satisfied me and my husband and kids for fourteen years...a few of us on some land, we had the only children....'enough' visitors and a very few we had to send away.  We took turns going to town and even at that it was rare....


Judith--  I'm wondering how this community that you were a part of for 14 years got started, got to the point of such self sufficiency?  Were you and your family among the founders, or did you join an already-working community?  How long did it take the community to stabilize and be self-sufficient.   Maybe you've already written about this community experience in a thread on Permies?

I'm asking because Paul's community is just at the startup stage (2-3 years in, I think?).  I also have a friend who has been working to found a community for a few years, but is stuck at the early phases.  I also know slightly of two other such efforts.  They all struggle to get an early momentum that carries them through the founding stage.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5907
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
365
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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Judith--  I'm wondering how this community that you were a part of for 14 years got started, got to the point of such self sufficiency?  Were you and your family among the founders, or did you join an already-working community?  How long did it take the community to stabilize and be self-sufficient.   Maybe you've already written about this community experience in a thread on Permies?


It was never stable nor self sufficient.....

This was the early seventies...I ran into the owners of the property by chance after hitching to the area and living in a tent on someone's land, and was invited in, my (future) husband came a few months later....very informal and not as self sufficient as it might sound...just very frugal and close to the land...no income to speak of, local pick up work in the valley hauling hay....that is when I began weaving as a source of income.

...no rules to speak of, no 'no no's', it was what was happening at the time and not a good example of how to make it work.  We all lived in one cabin for a few years then split the forty into five acre bits and tried to establish our own homes.....we raised goats, chickens, rabbits, a few ducks and occasionally a hog...had horses and a mule at various times....lots of (missed) opportunities and not a lot of group knowledge.....someday I might begin a thread about it...I think we were typical among hippie communes for the time...many failed and a few actually grew and prospered.

Just because it lasted (sort of) for fourteen years doesn't mean it was successful

This is why I am very interested in the ant village though, and it's hopeful success

(did a little editing for clarity)
 
Kyle Neath
pollinator
Posts: 132
Location: High Sierras, CA 6400'
30
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I am often confused by the reactions to your rules for your land. Yes, they are extremely restrictive from my point of view, but at the same time I also view your rent as extremely cheap — especially since it includes machine use and participation in events. It's a balance that comes off as a fair in my mind. You get to make the rules, and even then,  they are pretty well logically grounded. I can understand your motivations and reasoning. I wouldn't want to live/farm under your rules… so I don't. I don't feel any hatred or frustration over it. In fact, it's kind of the opposite. I'm often excited when people do things in a different frame of reference than mine, because I can learn from it without having to go through the effort myself.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6778
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
262
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It's been my experience that people who find themselves in a position where they have to abide by someone else's rules, tend to be people who haven't accumulated anything.

The accumulation of wealth usually involves following certain rules, whether they be rules at work or simple financial rules like understanding income vs expenditures. So, the most likely people to be attracted to various offers on the internet, are people without sufficient resources and who may lack the skills necessary to acquire those resources.

The world is crawling with broke people who haven't managed to make it on their own. When they arrive at someone else's property, they may wish to live independently, in some sort of anarchist paradise. I have witnessed the squalid conditions that this leads to, at my own place.

This is why I believe dictatorship is the most humane way to deal with these folks. It's sort of a parent-child relationship. I've had this sort of relationship with guys that work for me. Of course they all think they are grown men, and they are in a biological sense. But the world doesn't value men who can't get it together financially.

I always say, if you're a man show me. Where are your skills.  Where are your tools, where is your working vehicle, where is your money, and why aren't you supporting your children?

I think it would be wise to come up with a list of benchmark achievements that must be met within a certain time frame, for residents to earn the luxury of autonomy. Some sort of pass or fail judgment would need to be made.

As for the 20 years thing, do you really want to have the same people living with you in 20 years? I would hope that they would develop adequate skills, to be able to move onto their own property, and spread their knowledge far and wide. Kind of like kids leaving the nest. In this way, they eventually become your equal.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
Posts: 567
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
66
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Paul, some (strict) rules can make life easier for the people living in the community. Only if there are too many rules, and/or some are too strict, then it becomes hard for the 'dictator' ... Controling all the time, reminding them ... Maybe even punishing for not following the rules?

I have reasons to 'leave the property' at least twice every week. Therefor I would choose to live not too far 'into the wild', so I can ride my bicycle to the place where I need to go. For the same reasons I can only live in a community together with people who follow the same principles I have (which include much more than 'no drugs and no tobacco').
Conclusion: the community of my choice is so hard to find, I'll probably have to stay where I am now...
 
andre hirsz
Posts: 42
Location: thunder bay ontario canada
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In my own attempts of community living, I totally understand Paul Wheatons criteria for a different flavor of community. I would like to add that in my experience I have come to realize that true community can be had in one of two ways.... either with what I would call a focal point,  being an individual of the highest consciousness available to lead.or direct. As it appears Paul is willing to undertake. The other way would be to begin with a collective of highly conscious individuals, of which is still quite rare. A collection of individuals at a variety of conscious levels will never be compatible. And eventual division is a certainty.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6778
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Who is more conscious than who seems like an enormous can of worms. Sounds like it could become a constantly shifting hierarchy, depending on who in the group becomes more popular.

Benevolent dictatorship is the model that I see working in small business and even in some well-run charities. I think it's highly unusual, the amount of committee time that Paul puts in. Of course most businesses and charities don't have nearly as many irons in the fire. Many organizations only concern themselves with a narrow goal, and when the goal is narrow, achieving agreement is certainly an easier thing to pull off.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
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I seek a number of independent homesteads close to each other, consisting of people with more or less the same values, who happen to like each other and want to spend time together as my ideal community - that is my anarchist paradise. I don't want to be other people's parent, I have my own kids. I want to be my own dictator, not anyone else's - and i despise those democratic communities where we have to talk everything out in plenum. I want friends close by, I want people who are not burdened by obligation - we help each other as much as we feel like it, and we spend as much time together as we feel like it. I am beginning to get some people interested in buying some of the houses/land that is for sale around my place and start something like that. But what other people choose to do with their community really doesn't faze me - their land, their rules.
 
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