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podcast 378 - Dealing with community drama - part 2  RSS feed

 
steward
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Summary

Paul and Jocelyn continue to address some intentional community 3.0 issues. They start with a discussion on how Paul can come across as an asshole. They then move on to discussing the criticism raised by a former ant who qualified the issues as "a modern feudal slumlord clashes with his peasants." Paul admits that he is not sure of what happened from early May where things seemed fine until the hostility started. Paul and Jocelyn talk about the perseived issue of improving someone else's property. They also talk about the ban of cigarette and drugs. They address the first concern from the former ant that they are too secretive aka culty. They explain the issues they had with many locals and people online pledging to make their life miserable.

Relevant Threads

377 - Dealing with community drama - part 1
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ant village

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This podcast was made possible thanks to:

Julia Mason
Josh Phillips
wade L
Suleiman ALAQEL
Jason Hower
Bill Crim
Chris Holly
Doug Barth
James Tutor
The Rayhawk Clan
Mark Allen
Kelton Mitchell
David Ingraham
 
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great podcast.
very enlightening to say the least.

So many things I want to comment on, but common decency prevents me from doing so, so just one.

What the hell is wrong with the local yokels?
 
pollinator
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I am in the younger demographic, but I very much dislike the mentality these days of wanting to be co-CEO after a year of doing grunt work. If there was a conflict and people wanted to do things their own way, all that has to happen is for them to leave and start their journey without any mudslinging. I'd be very interested to see if any of them do start their own projects in the upcoming year.

As long as each of us just keeps chugging along, whether by the end of a shovel or spreading the ethics, the world will change regardless of what is said. Good Podcast Paul and Co, keep em rollin'.
 
master steward
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Glad to hear favorable reviews.   For a while I refused to do it because the stuff being said is obviously stupid and no matter how rational we might be, it still comes off as nothing more than a childish scrap.  But, in time I started to think that this would actually make a nice framework to convey some important bits and bobs that have not been covered in previous podcasts.

As for the locals:   I want to emphasize that there have been some exceptionally lovely people we have met.   And a huge bonus:  our property is in a magic spot where the bad guys have to drive a ways to get hassle us.  So it is rather inconvenient for them.  And, as mentioned in the podcast - the problems of 4+ years ago appear to be over.
 
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I respond infrequently, but have been drinking at the fire hose of knowledge available here for a while.

First, sorry that Paul needs to do these explanations to begin with.

Beyond that, having listened to many of the podcasts and read some of the earlier dust ups, I would like to offer some praise for being willing to take on and try different things to further real learning, not just hypothetical abstractions of how permaculture should work.

I was raised in a different age, when hiding behind anonymous postings on the InterWebz would not have been ok.  I don’t understand the desire nor need to go to all the way up the DEFCON ladder when having a disagreement.  Bleh.  Who needs it.

Thanks for doing what you do.

Happy trails,

Keith Kuhnsman


Edit:  Is it wrong if I am still looking forward to listening to the next two podcasts?  In sort of a slow-motion multiple dumpsters colliding flames shooting everywhere wreck kind of fashion? 😬
 
paul wheaton
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That reminds me:  I was gonna write the whole thing off as "well that guy turned out to be quite the drama queen."  And then over and over it kept coming up and my response was "just a bunch of drama queen nonsense, nothing to really talk about."  And then it occurred to me that the drama queen nonsense would make a decent framework for a podcast about community.  The challenge for getting community to work is to find a way to turn the volume down on the drama.  And the way you do that is to explore the drama.

At the beginning of may, everything was peachy.   In mid may something went wonky.   Jocelyn thinks that it is tied to the ant village challenge ending in october of 2016.   But if that were true, then why is it peachy at the beginning of may 2017?  So, for me:  I am still utterly baffled.  If 47 is gonna be pissed, why not be pissed six months earlier, or a year earlier or whatever.  Why mid-may 2017?  What changed?  In fact, why be pissed at all - there was nothing to be pissed about.   So .... baffled.   No clue.  And all the stuff given is just stupid shit. 


As for listening to the remaining two parts:  I do think it is good to cover some bits and bobs about community. 

 
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This podcast was really thought provoking for me. I have tried to bring people who were in desperate situations to my land to work for a free place to stay. And I understood that most people are not going to be very excited about just a bed and food for their work. So I did my best to work with them and help them in a way that would benefit both parties. I was very flexible with them and also very generous. At one point I let them use one of my trucks for transportation. I did make it clear that I had certain rules to abide by, and was shown time and time again how ungrateful, dishonest, and untrustworthy these people were.  The funny thing is they left with out a word while I was out  getting supplies in town, and my plan was to kick them out when I got back because I have had enough. I can relate to you in many ways, although of course you have been doing this on a much larger scale for much longer than me and a really appreciate all the information you put out there. Looking forward to all your future podcasts.
 
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Great podcast. Bravo to Paul and Jocelyn for communicating and being transparent what's been happening with the social dynamic at Wheaton Labs, and also for sharing their feelings on the Fouch situation. I'm dealing with a drama-king in our community at the moment, and its been a HUGE drag. I've never had so much energy consumed or depleted on a situation so quickly. Which is the antithesis of permaculture!

Now, a quick random question that was briefly mentioned in the podcast. Game cameras at the gates to monitor the bad dudes! How do you all rig them so they can't be seen but still able to get a clear photo/video? I wish I could just strap one to a tree 7' off the ground, but the bad dudes would either chop it down or shoot the camera. I've got serious gate breaching issues and need to prove it on camera.

Sorry if this is bit off-topic!
 
paul wheaton
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Michael, you might wanna start a new thread for hiding game cams from bad guys.
 
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I've been very much enjoying mulling this over, and am looking forward to the third podcast on my morning commute.

First, let me say that Paul is awesome, what he has built at Permies.com is amazing, and what he is trying for at the Labs is admirable.  I would also say that trying to design a system where the plant, animal, and microbial life behaves in the way you want is child's play compared to designing a system where people behave in the way you want - at least most corn plants will respond in a similar way to the same treatment!!!  I also want to say, because my thoughts below could be read to suggest otherwise, that Paul is 100% justified in feeling aggrieved because people suddenly became unhappy about conditions they had previously enthusiastically agreed to.

So, as I understand the barebones conditions of the ant agreement, they are as follows:  For $800, you rent an acre of raw land, no electricity or running water.  The landlord will provide a significant amount of backhoe time with that as well.  You can build whatever structures you want, with the caveat that you cannot use modern construction conveniences (aka toxic gick). You are not allowed to commute offsite to earn extra money. You have access to internet, but you have to walk a ways to get it and you do not have your own office space to work remotely (Not sure if this part is right?).  You must abide by the rules of the landlord, which include no drugs or smoking, no chemicals the landlord deems toxic, limited contact with the neighbors to avoid drama, and whatever other rules the landlord feels are necessary.  If you decide you can't live by the rules the landlord has set, you can leave.  If the landlord sets a new rule you can't abide, you can leave.  In the event that you leave, the landlord will purchase the improvements you have made at a price he deems fair. If you stay for 2 years, you have a chance to be granted life tenancy, provided you keep to the rules, or, if the landlord does not deem you have done enough improvements, you can pay additional rent.

Looking at this summary, I ask - what kind of person would agree to be a tenant in this arrangement? And what kind of person would be successful?

In order to agree, a person would need to 1) be attracted to the idea of doing hard physical labor and primitive living for an extended period of time, 2) be physically healthy, 3) have no strong ties or commitments [no parents or children to care for, no debts], 4) have at least several thousand dollars in the bank, possibly more (There is no way I'd go build a cabin in the wilderness without the ability to pay for a broken leg).

In order to succeed, a person would have to have all of the above, plus a TALENT for hard work, and the ability to quickly pick up all kinds of manual skills. They would also need the mental ability to remain cheerful under tough conditions, and the ability to get along with multiple personality types - i.e. be pretty laid back.

Here is the thing: anyone blessed with all those criteria has a lot of options.  I read "Walden on Wheels" a couple years back, and the author paid back a massive college debt in just a few years by taking physical jobs that provided a place to live, in remote areas where spending money was rather difficult.  If someone with all the attributes listed above wanted a permaculture paradise, they could spend a few years working construction/logging/farming/cooking jobs, save all their pennies, and buy a few acres outright.  They would then have the flexibility to work offsite to get the resources to build up the infrastructure. As far as I understand it, this is something like what Mark Shepherd and Bob Roy each did in their own ways.  There are hurdles and disadvantages, but in the end, actually owning a piece of property means that no one can kick you off if you decide to get some medical marijuana for your backache.

So I'd respectfully disagree with Paul's assessment that others not as famous as him could use the ant village model to build a community.  The barebones agreement, while entirely reasonable and fair from the perspective of the landlord, just wouldn't be that attractive to the tenants who could succeed. An unknown landlord could have a lot of trouble convincing tenants that in a situation where he/she has so much power, that s/he will be fair to the tenants. And will stick around - won't get into a situation where they are forced to sell the land to pay off medical debts, will set up their will so that when they die, the tenants don't come under the control of a less reasonable person - I can think of a million things that could go wrong. We've all been in situations where someone who seems reasonable suddenly goes nuts.  Spending years of backbreaking labor to build something that you could lose if just one person goes off the rails - well, you do that when you are in love. And even then, part of the point of marriage is that you are not totally screwed if the other person splits, because you have a right to half the assets.

So, what makes the ant village attractive to good people?  I would say - basically, because Paul is awesome.  He inspires people to want to come and be part of something that sounds really neat.  He uses his online platform to build a vision of a better world, a dream of an amazing permaculture community in the Montana wilderness.  He is public enough that people think they know him, and know he will be fair.  And he has given away enough that people believe he will be generous with them as well. He also presents himself as a really smart guy, which makes people assume that he will have thought of a lot of the contingencies, and set things up accordingly. When you switch from looking at the barebones agreement to thinking about living in this awesome community (after all, if Paul is that awesome, the people he attracts to the village will be just as awesome), it becomes a good option for someone with all the attributes above, because community makes everything a lot easier, and such an awesome person would never kick you out or be unfair.

If I had a guess as to what went wrong with 47, and perhaps with the others who left, I'd guess that, when they came, they felt like the contract they signed was not just the barebones agreement, but also stated that Paul is awesome, and he is going to build an EPIC community.  Then, for whatever reason, the "Paul is awesome, this community is awesome" feeling took a beating.  Maybe it was a family member saying "WTF mate?" (eloquent disapproval from someone you care about can make even a situation you are happy in seem all wrong).  Maybe it was some small thing that Paul said that cracked the trust (something super minor from a person in a power position can blow up in the mind of the dependent person. I've seen that in academia - an offhand remark by the academic advisor, who basically controls your future, can ruin your week, while they have no idea you even heard them). Or maybe the community wasn't as awesome as their mental contract painted it to be (something Paul has relatively little control over, since he isn't even there).  Whatever happened, once that nebulous part of the contract was broken, the rest of the situation started seeming bad.  After all, 47 spent untold hours doing hard work - and got 100 bucks for it.  Basically, he did a lot of heavy labor for the chance to live on a piece of raw land, and live in whatever he build for a little while.  That isn't a great deal, when you think about it. Maybe he learned some skills along the way, but if he feels like the "Paul is awesome" part of his contract was breached, I can sort of see why he is upset.

Now, I'm not saying Paul actually scammed anyone, and certainly not that he is getting rich off the backs of his tenants. Still - there are two ways of looking at the value of what 47 built.  The one that matters to Paul is what he can do with the improvements.  I don't know the quality of 47's improvements, but I'd guess he was not a professional craftsman, plumber, etc, so as far as Paul is concerned, he isn't going to benefit that much.  Maybe it will help him build the community he envisioned, but he certainly isn't going to cash in.  If he wants to sell the property, roughly built structures might actually be a liability.  So from Paul's perspective, $900 is way more than fair.  The other way to look at it, is how much would it have cost Paul to hire people to do those improvements, even if he offered bunk space to the workers?  I know that in rural WV, which had a rather depressed economy, laying mason block costs at least $20/hr, and that is only if the guys can't find bigger jobs.  Even if the less skilled labor meant you pay minimum wage, how many hours does it take to build round timber framing?  To cut and peel the logs?  to build fences, plant perennials?  From this perspective, 47 might feel like he was scammed. He wasn't, of course, because he knew full well what he agreed to from the very beginning.  Still - 47 has nothing solid to show for years of hard work.  That is certainly a situation to make one feel like something went wrong...

Sorry if this post is a bit rambly.  I guess my summary is that, while democratic intentional communities clearly have a lot of trouble, the model Paul is trying out has a systemic problem as well, which is that there is a huge imbalance of power.  Paul owns the deed, makes the rules, and can legally kick people out with little notice.  He can sell if he wants, and kick everyone off.  No matter how reasonable he is, and how open he is about all his rules beforehand, that dynamic is going to have a lot of issues. People who are willing to come and work hard for something they have no legal claim to, where their only recourse is to abandon everything they've build if the situation goes sour, are going to be rare - especially our free capitalist society, where there is a definite idea of how much an hour of labor is worth. People don't like investing a lot unless they feel pretty secure, and a power imbalance is a recipe for insecurity.

What is the solution to all of this?  I don't know. Any suggestion I can think of to give the ants more power and security would put Paul in a worse position. If I were in his place, I wouldn't do it. But, if you want to use permaculture to build something permanent, it is going to take a lot of work. Are people going to be willing to put in that extra work to create something permanent, when the only permanence they have is the will and word of one man? I honestly don't know.  I know I could never feel comfortable giving my all in that situation, which is why I would not come and be an ant, even if I actually had all the traits I listed at the beginning. Maybe someone smarter than me can come up with a permaculture solution to this problem!
 
paul wheaton
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First, there is no "landlord" or "tenant", there is "evil dictator" and "ant".

Next, we have tried a variety of things, and this was another thing to try.   In the case of ant village, the thing we tried was that people would be on their own and they could live their own schedule and do stuff at their own pace.   They would pay freaky cheap rent and have a go at building a romantic relationship with nature - but within my comfort zone.  Rather than burning through my tools, they would use their own tools and because tools are expensive, their tools would probably last 100 times longer than if they used my tools.  And they would feed themselves.   So if they ate three times a day for three weeks and produced nothing, then that's fine.  With the previous program, I bought first rate food and paid for a cook and housekeeper - and we discovered that system did not work.

The ant village system is designed for people that have self motivation and are willing to put the work in.  Nature + ant = a beautiful, long term relationship.  Or, they end up not building or growing anything and .... they move on to a different chapter in their life.

I think there are two possible paths to interpret "paul is awesome":

path 1:   paul will provide an awesome framework.  And there will be an awesome growth path.  Whatever paul decides will be fine with me.

path 2:   paul will provide an awesome framework.   And if there needs to be changes for growth, I will tell paul what to do and he will obey.

And the folks that embrace "path 2" will probably end up sad.


I do think that this is a viable path.   I do think there are a few rare people that will do extremely well here.   And once we have a system working well, then we can explore rubber stamping this system.



 
Lina Joana
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Wait, you are serious?  I get this image of a giant man with his underpants on his head (evil [crazy] dictator) stomping on tiny ant people, so I thought it was a joke... but hey, its your dictatorship, we'll go with your terminology! It's funny how words can mean different things to different people.

I'll certainly be watching with interest to see how your system dynamics work out in the long term.  A permaculture installation on that scale, with a bunch of ants taking care of it, will certainly be awesome. 

I do have a question after listening to the third podcast, should you choose to answer. One of the things I took away from it was that you got 6 ants for the initial challenge, and none of them were able to meet the criteria of the challenge (winter ready shelter and 1/3 of their calories grown).  In the spirit of analyzing your community, would you be willing to speculate on why not?  Is it simply not possible for one person in the time given?  Or did your setup not attract people with the ability to meet the challenge?   And if the latter is true, why did the people who could have done it, not come to the challenge?  Or was there some other block entirely that kept them from progressing as quickly as needed.

Many thanks for all you do.
 
pollinator
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A couple of thoughts
You are an awsome guy Paul , IT consultant , permaculturist, run massive one line sites etc etc but does that make you a good hands on community manager ? Is that the same skill set ? I don't know but it's a question that needs to be asked I think . Handling squishy emotional humans with feelings and emotions all the time is difficult .
Is this a recruitment and retention issue ? Might there be a better way of getting people and keeping them . For example instead of having freakishly cheap rent up the rent and use this money to fund more work for them to do . Overall cost to you zero more self fulfillment for the ants :-)

David
 
David Livingston
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Had another thought if you charge 5000$ a year with the possibilty of earning a big chunk back it would result in less folks coming whose prioritys tend towards pot , tobacco and being cool as these folks would have less possibility of getting the money in the first place and more possibility of you keeping money to pay for clearing up their mess if they do :-). Plus it would attract more dynamic hard working types.

David
 
paul wheaton
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David,

All of your points are points that I've wrestled with a thousand times each.  At the end of the day, I have to pick something and try.



 
Dylan Kirsch
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I agree with Lina Joanna about the criteria you would have to meet to be a successful ant. I often fantasize about leaving my life behind to be an ant for a lot of reasons. The most significant ones being:

- all of the values Paul has as far as rules for the ants and goals for living there, ( as far as I'm aware)  are values I deeply agree with. ( No toxic modern conveniences, working really hard to earn your place in the community, Growing your own food, building your own house, and not starting drama along the way. Ect..)

- Im naturally a hard working goal driven person and a quick learner so I feel confident that i could happily pull my weight and still help weaton labs out as Paul sees fit.

- I have a certain level of trust in Paul from listening to his podcasts and encountering him all over the internet.

Having said that, I as well can understand why many people have come and gone leaving a big nasty trail of drama in their wake. Our society isn't really geared towards creating ants. So the rare few that make it to adulthood with all of those values and traits firmly in place are going to take a lot of time to filter out of the people that show up. But there are a few gray areas I have that make me nervous about that sort of commitment that only a personal relationship with Paul would be able to clear up. So I look at the success and failure that Paul experiences and think if I were Paul what would I do, and what would I want. Then I think if I we're an ant what would I do and what would I want. That has led me to believe that Paul is way ahead of the game because in the framework he has already set up he has come to basically the same conclusions as me. Yet of course the trail and error I believe should be an ongoing thing that continuously fine tunes the structure of ant village and Wheaton labs. Good luck Paul, I love what you've done so far, and I want to see you have great overwhelming success at Wheaton labs.
 
David Livingston
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Paul , yup I suspected you had thought of most if not all of my suggestions but since I am not a mind reader how am I to know :-) , maybe you should make use of Permies to ask if folks have any ideas what went wrong or how to prevent future drama . After all you admit you don't understand .
When I have a problem I ask on Permies. Maybe no one knows , maybe I get back answers I already worked out maybe I get answers that are too purple , but then some days I get answers back that are bloody brilliant .
If you don't ask you don't get , we may not all be giants but we are many and all these brains working together even imperfectly can solve many problems  Let's crowd source the future :-) you are not alone .

David

Forthe many not the few
 
paul wheaton
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Dylan,

I agree with your analysis.  Ten people will come to try and be an ant, and one will end up sticking around for five years.  It is hard.  And I think we are all certain we are ants, but in reality, we are more grasshoppers than we thought.  Plus there are challenges with the limitations - and if you don't love the limitations, then they will seems a thousand times more limiting that if you do love the limitations.



 
paul wheaton
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After all you admit you don't understand . 



What I don't understand is "what happened?"   Beginning of may, everything is fine.  End of may there is great unhappiness.   It is as if a few people just decided to be unhappy - and one decided to be outright angry.  And since there was nothing to be angry about, he whipped up some fiction.

 
paul wheaton
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Lina Joana wrote:I do have a question after listening to the third podcast, should you choose to answer. One of the things I took away from it was that you got 6 ants for the initial challenge, and none of them were able to meet the criteria of the challenge (winter ready shelter and 1/3 of their calories grown).  In the spirit of analyzing your community, would you be willing to speculate on why not?  Is it simply not possible for one person in the time given?  Or did your setup not attract people with the ability to meet the challenge?   And if the latter is true, why did the people who could have done it, not come to the challenge?  Or was there some other block entirely that kept them from progressing as quickly as needed.



End of october 2016:  only one structure was winter ready. 

I think a lot of people are drawn to ant village with the idea of building something and then they don't have to work anymore.  Plus the idea of giving a gift to their future selves.   And getting the opportunity to learn through the school of hard knocks rather than take some classes.   Set your own pace and take your sweet time. 

The one structure that was ready was ready about 11 months earlier.  So, the speculation is that different folks bring different skill levels and different build velocities.  Some people can accomplish in two hours what takes others two weeks.  Some people work two hours and are sure that they worked 2 hours.   Others work two hours and are sure that they worked all day long for four days.    Some people need to take time from working on their plot to go get money/food.   Some people struggle with procrastination and watching the clouds pass. 

I know that two people can drive out to the forest, get wood and by the end of the day have two to three cords stacked in the woodshed.  And I have seen four people put in two full days and not even get a half cord put up. 


I think that there are a lot of people that have some skills and gumption that would arrive and meet the minimum requirements in less than a month.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:What I don't understand is "what happened?"   Beginning of may, everything is fine.  End of may there is great unhappiness.   It is as if a few people just decided to be unhappy - and one decided to be outright angry.  And since there was nothing to be angry about, he whipped up some fiction.



I think I agree with Jocelyn that the problem had been festering for quite a while and that what you saw was the culmination of months, perhaps years of discontentment. People don't just snap for no reason.

Like you have said with breakfast with spiderman, many can find conversation with you to be draining. I'm going to speculate that you did not have a very deep relationship with the ants. I have found that true understanding of a person's intentions and desires comes from conversations where I express sincere interest in the other person's life. Otherwise, they will just put on a facade and continue as if everything is just peachy even though it really isn't.

I think that if you want to catch these things before they reach the crazy level, you need to find a way for the ants to present their concerns without any fear of bringing the wrath of the "evil dictator" upon them.

Just some ideas. Take em or leave em.
 
paul wheaton
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Here is my overly simplistic position:  At the beginning of may, they decided to be happy.  In the middle of may, they changed their minds.

People don't just snap for no reason.



They can if they choose to.  And I think this is all that it is.  They chose too.    They popped over to a garage sale and bought some shit-colored glasses for a nickel, put them on and started to see everything in the shittiest possible light.   And there was a smudge on the glasses so they started to see stuff that actually wasn't there.  And then they made lists of all this stuff and ....    I choose to believe that it was best that they moved along. 
 
David Livingston
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I think it was mentioned before that someone found the ant situation cultish . I have thought about this and concluded that they have a point .
Think about cult situations
Charismatic leader -- check
common philosophy - check
willingness to suffer privations for common goal  - check
Kept apart from the locals - check
the only thing missing is a truck load of purple woo woo .
I accept that these are extreme generalisations  but I can see where that person who came up with that comment was coming from .
For myself looking at this situation I think your overly simplistic idea does you a disservice Paul . This for me was  not about facts , its about feelings and how they are managed in a group situation and how individuals in the group felt and how this spread to the rest of the group .
Maybe its about the greatest of gifts * , Hope . Maybe people lost hope that the ant challenge was possible and this virus of disrepair spread to the whole group . Maybe what it needs is for people to see it can be done. Not is some theoretical sense but an actual living breathing person .

David

* Terry Pratchet quote
 
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I really like the idea of the ant village.  It is a much tighter version of something I lived early seventies.  I always wanted to support that effort as you know, Paul and Jocelyn, and it looked as though they were starting to become a functioning 'village'.

In the end, I don't think that the ants had a sudden change of mind...I think that maybe some dissatisfaction had been brewing in individuals for awhile.  I don't think that after having put so much energy and work into their plots that a bail out on a sudden impulse would happen.  I think it was a growing up, maturing situation for some, finding out what they wanted and didn't want and what their limits were....and likely finding out they didn't want a 'boss'.  People change how they look at things...it happens naturally and it can be a very good thing. 

I wonder (in a weird, backwards sort of way) if this is an actual example of 'success' in a group situation?  I think that group had taken on a life of its own.  Maybe there isn't a scenario where that won't be the outcome when a group of like minded folks live in close proximity day to day and answer to a person who is not among them 'chopping wood and carrying water' ?

I think of some of the ways I've lived and wonder what I was thinking...so many great growing, learning experiences but just steps on the way.  I would not have been happy if I stopped at any one of those living situations.

I think Paul is totally clear and concise about the offers there at the Lab....couldn't be more so.  Most of us are not that sure of what we think and want.  I see that as the main challenge to living there.

and of course, I'm doing some guessing here...and relating from my own experiences...that's all I got

 
paul wheaton
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So, working for apple computer is a cult?

 
David Livingston
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Financial servitude - check
unreasoned behavior - check
after death belief -check
the belief that there is no alternative - check

Hey this defiintion  works for me too :-)
 
paul wheaton
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I am trying to build a permaculture community.   Mollison's designs are about replacing petroleum with people.  So I am trying to come up with a way for that work out. 

Calling it a "cult" just seems mean. 

 
David Livingston
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I did not mean to be mean I was just pointing out how a person looking from the outside might view it  .
It is important if we seek to influence others how we look at  first glance . Is it not ?

David
 
David Livingston
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For instance look at yourself doing a presentation , :-) you make a big impression , you grab folks attention  etc etc you know first impressions count .
But some one who has never met you , how might you seem through jaded secondhand eyes ?
David
 
paul wheaton
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I suppose that if a person looks at nearly every corporation where people are being paid a salary but working more than 40 hours a week as a cult, then I really don't give a flying fuck what they think.  They are fucking nuts and I won't change the direction of my life based on somebody being fucking nuts. 

I am a man who wears overalls every day.  Although any other guy in my position would trim his eyebrows, I think they are magnificent and I don't trim them.  I gave up a massive income and a successful career to pursue my permaculture passions which is gutting all my savings and I am harvesting a mountain of hate for it.  I have such an obscene level of obnoxiousness and arrogance that i record podcasts of myself talking or post videos of me talking.   On top of all that, I'm reall fat.    Do you really think that I am influenced by what others think of me?  

If dumbfucks will steer clear of me because of the overalls, eyebrows, arrogance or fatness, then I seem to have developed superpowers that keep dumbfucks away from me.

If dumbfucks think that this is a cult, then dumbfucks won't come here.   And now we have a lot less dumbfucks here.   I think that worked out really well.
 
David Livingston
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Do you think it would be easier to tell someone about Permaculture If they have been previously told that you are a cult or not ?
I prefer not to make things difficult for my self if I don't have too :-)
Also if you don't care what folks say why did you say they were mean ?
I am fat and have big eyebrows too :-)
David
 
paul wheaton
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I suppose a catholic can point to a protestant and say "cult" and vice verse.   I think decent folks don't do that because they are being respectful of others.

Further, I suppose a person could say "my little girl has joined a cult, can somebody go and save her?"   And so what is the cult then?  Does the "little girl" think she is in a cult?  Does the "little girl" think that the parent is in a cult?  Does the word "cult" suggest a difference of value set or belief? 

I propose that the word "cult" tells us a thousand times more about the person with the word on their lips than it does about whatever they are pointing at. 

 
paul wheaton
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David Livingston wrote:Do you think it would be easier to tell someone about Permaculture If they have been previously told that you are a cult or not ?
I prefer not to make things difficult for my self if I don't have too :-)
Also if you don't care what folks say why did you say they were mean ?
I am fat and have big eyebrows too :-)
David



Is rooting for the green bay packers a cult?

Is voting along party lines proof that you are a member of a cult?

Is enjoying a particular book therefore make you part of a cult?

If somebody comes to me and points at a group and says "cult" then I tend to think that the person with the pointing finger is a dumbfuck and whatever they are pointing at is probably fine.

So when you say

Do you think it would be easier to tell someone about Permaculture If they have been previously told that you are a cult or not ?



Then I think the answer is "the same."


If you think it is an issue, then I suggest that you do the work on your life to do what you think is best.   I think there is no reason to choose to live my life any differently when a dumbfuck points at my property and says "cult."


Also if you don't care what folks say why did you say they were mean ?



I think there is a difference between listening to somebody that has something of value to contribute and avoiding some dumbfuck that is just being mean.  





 
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David Livingston wrote:I think it was mentioned before that someone found the ant situation cultish . I have thought about this and concluded that they have a point .
Think about cult situations
Charismatic leader -- check
common philosophy - check
willingness to suffer privations for common goal  - check
Kept apart from the locals - check
the only thing missing is a truck load of purple woo woo .
I accept that these are extreme generalisations  but I can see where that person who came up with that comment was coming from .
For myself looking at this situation I think your overly simplistic idea does you a disservice Paul . This for me was  not about facts , its about feelings and how they are managed in a group situation and how individuals in the group felt and how this spread to the rest of the group .
Maybe its about the greatest of gifts * , Hope . Maybe people lost hope that the ant challenge was possible and this virus of disrepair spread to the whole group . Maybe what it needs is for people to see it can be done. Not is some theoretical sense but an actual living breathing person .

David

* Terry Pratchet quote



Ah, darn, David. We were trying to dispel the rampant misinformation; and, unfortunately, IMHO, here it is being perpetuated.

We did not keep anyone apart from the locals. That was an exaggeration that led to a bunch of misinformation.
Some people don't think Paul is charismatic at all. In fact, I keep being told how to make him behave differently. Sigh.
We never asked or expected anyone to suffer. We really thought folks would be more prepared than they were. And we offered loads of support in a myriad of ways.

This whole situation has been so heartbreakingly painful to me that I can't read this thread. I only came to comment on this post because Paul mentioned it to me over breakfast.

It stings and adds to my heartbreak when folks continue spreading misinformation about wheaton labs.

There are actual, living, breathing people still here. There are amazing examples of permaculture and hundreds of acres of beauty to enjoy and steward. There is hope here.
 
David Livingston
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I have no doubt what so ever that there is hope at the camp and I have no doubt that Paul will continue his experiments some will work and some will not such is the nature of experiments :-) ( says the chemist in me)
I also worry about you guys I know about cults ( been there done that wore tea shirt ) and it's a difficult reputation to have even if undeserved as in this case . I don't know a cult that would allow this conversation for example :-)
Can we have more of the happy stories please :-)
Like what's happening now :-)
What are the plans for 2018:-)
What's Fred up to :-)
How about every one encouraged to blog at the camp :-)
Feed us unhappy stories and .... Quite naturally they become the important ones . It's all about feelings I think :-)
Everything is after a while :-)
David
 
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I also worry about you guys I know about cults ( been there done that wore tea shirt ) and it's a difficult reputation to have even if undeserved as in this case . I don't know a cult that would allow this conversation for example :-)



I think that word is one people use when they have no idea what the real situation is and the bit they think they know is out of their comfort zone and they don't have the interest to even find out the real story....it's a lazy catch all word for things not understood....it will wear thin and fade with time. 



 
paul wheaton
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I also worry about you guys I know about cults ( been there done that wore tea shirt ) and it's a difficult reputation to have even if undeserved as in this case . I don't know a cult that would allow this conversation for example
Can we have more of the happy stories please
Like what's happening now
What are the plans for 2018
What's Fred up to
How about every one encouraged to blog at the camp  




Every ten times I ask somebody to take a picture and post it, one person does it one time.   They just don't wanna.

So, David, I encourage you to come here and spend a few months practicing what you preach.

This follows the solutions are simple thread.  If you want something to be done, you really need to do it yourself. 



 
Keith Kuhnsman
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I think much of the “cult” thing is that it is a quick and easy, and cheap, word to use when the discussion gets outside of the comfort zone of the person using it.

Just using the wheaton eco scale as the example: to someone two or three levels away, there may be some discomfort.  Beyond that and someone not familiar will start talking about that “strange”, maybe even cult-like, bunch.

I see this within my own extended family.  The idea of “knowing” the animal you are eating is crazy to them, but they have no issues eating one out of a styrofoam package, because that is normal to them.  To me, it is disconnected, and somewhat sad, to not have any further interest.

Hence, the additional “weird” gardening and homemaking things I do, are written off as me being quirky (Which I am, thanks very much!) or a bit off.  While I just shake my head a bit at their devotion to Facebook and other crap about which I could not care less.

I will enjoy the reality of ChickenTV, and such, instead.

Happy trails,

Keith
 
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@David,

I must agree with the others critiquing your remarks David.
Did you listen to podcasts?

Cultic tendencies would never allow this issue(s) to see the light of day.
And I am familiar with the Fouches and their videos and critique of Paul.

I have no horse in this race except to get to the facts, nor am I a champion of Paul ( just don't know much about him and wheaton labs), although I must admit
that my fondness of the man continues to grow, especially after hearing these podcasts and airing the grievances, good and bad, true and false.
I respect the hell out of this, and enjoy the hell out of these podcasts . I love it when someone speaks as a philosopher/lawyer, i.e. logical and reasonable.

Most people, let alone any "cult" would never allow such discussions.
Just look at Trump and Co!!!  hahaha, (give me some damn apples so I can get on the cider press and get political/religionish please! I have lots of annoying opinions)

I am still up in the air regarding this "system" of ant village and what have you, along the lines of LINA, who I think makes a very good analysis of this situation, which Paul has
mentioned a million times that he is trying to "work" it out, and I for one applaud him, I think this is about the hardest thing to accomplish.

I will still perhaps, try to work him on rethinking/reorganizing the "family" unit and the 420, hehehaha, I'm sure to no avail.

Anyhoo,

I'm out.



 
David Livingston
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My last word this is not about Permaculture , it's about communication.
It's about conflict resolution  which is about seeing the others point of view/feelings/reasons  as valid a first step in resolving conflict . The second step is making sure that the otherside understands your point of view / feelings/reasons.
Without these two steps I believe conflicts cannot be resolved .
If you promise to read it Paul I would buy you a book on none violent communication. You see I believe no one is a dumbfuck and everyone is entitled to there own views it's part for me of freedom and people having rights .
As for coming to the base it would mean abandoning my current relationship ,
fighting international department of the
very sad And living without any healcare . Thank you but no thanks :-)

David
 

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