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building community vs. our "obey or else" instinct  RSS feed

 
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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.
     
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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.
     
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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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