Francisco Gonzalez

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since Feb 19, 2014
I'm especially interested in the development of effortless food production.  Obviously it will be work to set them up but systems should converge on effortless after they are set up.
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Recent posts by Francisco Gonzalez

Davin, I don't think that listening to any podcast even 200 times would be enough. But maybe writing the key points down by hand 200 times would be a part of a good initiation.

Rose, the most heartbreaking failures of intentional communities are the ones that do get up and running then fall apart in fighting in a couple of years.

Fraternities and sororities never fall apart in fighting. Sometimes someone leaves, but they are quickly replaced.

People typically live in a fraternity or sorority for one to four years, which is enough time to make life long friends and be a lot more permanent than some intentional communities.

Fraternities never fall apart because of someone wiping up the floor with dish towels. If you wipe the floor with a dish towel once at a fraternity, you will be told. If you do it twice you will be told more firmly and if you do it three times, the person whose job it is to assure compliance with rules for group living will gently but firmly make your life intolerable until you remember.

The military uses basic training (which is a difficult imitation) to make a group of strangers feel like a band of brothers. Wheaton labs needs to do something like that.

Paul Wheaton knows at a deep gut level, that humans are supposed to live in communities. He's right of course.

What he doesn't yet know is what the fraternities and sororities know which is how to make strangers feel like brothers and sisters and get along with each other.

I do think there is fun to be had coming up with intitiation and compliance scenarios for Wheaton Labs >

Yes, initiation and compliance can be a lot of fun, but it can't be practical. It has to be something that the initiates do voluntarily and that is impractical and difficult. Something like whitewashing a fence with a toothbrush comes to mind.

Note that fraternities never use their charity activities as initiations.
3 years ago
Don't worry, they will bring their own spray tan and hair gel, but I bet you are right that they would want a polo shirt.

3 years ago
Paul Wheaton said that his podcast about community located here:

may be the most important podcast of all time. I agree.

The methods for using permaculture to care for the land are well known by a lot of people, but most intentional communities still don't work.

In this podcast, Paul mentioned what I will call the dishtowel problem where his long term house guests would keep
using dishtowels as rags and ruin them. This drove Paul nuts and I can understand why.

But the dishtowel problem and a thousand others like it are solved every day by fraternities and sororities across America.

No one hears about fraternities being dissolved because people couldn't get along. People living in fraternities usually do get along and they are usually very happy with fraternity life.

So what do fraternities and sororities know about community living that Paul doesn't? Primarily it's two things.

1. They know that to make artificial families (like communities) stick together you have to have a difficult and uncomfortable initiation. It won't work without it, sorry.

2. They also know how to deal with people who continue to break the rules after being reminded. They do this by having an enforcer whose job it is to deal with these people and he does it gently but firmly.

One time someone was not following the rules at his fraternity, so the enforcer disassembled the rule breakers heavy wooden bed and moved it to the attic. The interaction went something like this.

Rule Breaker: "Where's my bed?"

Enforcer: "I moved it to the attic."

Rule Breaker: "Why?"

Enforcer: "To remind you that we have a rule about using dish towels only to dry dishes, not as rags."

Rule Breaker: "Will you help me move my bed back to my room?"

Enforcer: "No, you can either sleep in the attic, or move it back to your room by yourself."

I think that Paul should invite 3 senior fraternity brothers and 3 senior sorority sisters for a week or two to Wheaton Labs to teach him how to run safe and effective initiations and how to have an enforcer who gently and effectively brings people back into line.

Naturally Paul should find people who are interested in Permaculture, but that should be easy.

I guarantee you that the senior fraternity brothers and sorority sisters will be good house guests, because they have had a lot of practice with effective community living and they know how to follow the house rules.
3 years ago

Kate Michaud wrote:

Land is relatively cheap because of climate and topography, yet excellent for Permaculture. It is a custom here to gather seasonal goodies, and bring home wild game. There is vacant land, even abandoned towns that could serve as your Nodes. So where is this place? Central Ontario, Canada, nudging towards Northern On. ...

Kate, can you recommend some parts of Ontario where land is relatively cheap and you think the climate is suitable for permaculture? I just pulled up a map of Ontario and it's really really big!
4 years ago
Andrew this is a brilliant thread. I'm hoping you can take time to edit out the best parts and post them as an article somewhere, perhaps on your web site.

Speaking of which, do you have a web site and or any way to get in contact with you other than Facebook?

I don't use Facebook.
4 years ago

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:

Social capital is decimated any time you move more than a small distance from where you are.

I remember you, Paul, saying you don't like to travel, I think you might have a gut feeling about the value of staying put in that.

Joshua, I think you are 100% right that social capital is decimated any time you move more than a small distance. I grew up near Chicago, and
I know who to trust there and how to get things done, much better than I can where I am writing this from in British Columbia, Canada.

Having said that, humans seem to feel compelled to travel, as evidenced by the billion dollar travel industry. Trying to get rid of our
occasional need for travel is probably not going to work.

That's why Andrew Scott's concept of having multiple permaculture locations that are within fairly easy walking or canoeing distance from each other
is such a good concept. It satisfies our human compulsion to travel, reduces interpersonal conflict, and preserves your social capital by letting you
stay in the same general area.
4 years ago

Simeon McLean wrote:Update 01 August 2014

As of today we have had sufficient private donations through our bank accounts to top up our total high enough to clear the debt!

Congratulations on raising the money to pay off the debt. However you now need to take action to make sure this doesn't happen again. So let me summarize what I think happened only I will use different words than you did in describing what happened.

1. A local group of people threatened you with violence (sale of your land) and you responded by quickly handing over, over $30,000 NZD. Am I right about the substance of what happened?

In New York City, when this happens we call it racketeering and a mob shakedown. People who do this kind of extortion are criminals and the world is full of them. If the groups are relatively small, we call them organized crime. If the groups are bigger, they call themselves government.

If you don't want this to happen again soon, you need to take proactive action right now to put these thieves psychologically in your debt.

You haven't made peace with them until they owe you a favor and they know it!

First you need to read, "Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini.

Then immediately take action to make sure that every council member and every "official" involved or likely to be involved owes you and your group a favor.

Yes, this will be difficult after they just stole $30,000 from you, but you have to do it otherwise they will be shaking you down again soon.

Good luck.
4 years ago

Andrew Scott wrote:UPDATE!!!

We have officially purchased our first property for this project. Due to real estate prices, our hunter-gatherer bias, and supportive friends in the area already living a more or less subsistence hunting + small scale gardening lifestyle, we selected a property in Alaska to get things started.

Congratulations! on taking real action. I very much liked your idea of several properties that would be close or adjacent to National Forest or other public access land. So are you close to National Forest and does it look like you will be able to purchase property #2 and property #3 within a human capable travel distance from your first one?
4 years ago
I think the idea of multiple locations that are close enough to travel between by walking or canoeing is great.

So where should such a system be located?

1. Locate your community close to existing successful communities and establish good relations with them. To some degree, the more people who are perceived to be like you, the less likely it is that you will be hassled.

2. Locate on and across political borders. Ideally some of your places to move between should be in different counties, different states, and different countries. This dramatically minimizes the likelihood of being hassled by various governments. If one government starts to hassle you, simply move out of their jurisdiction.

There is historic precedent for this in "March" regions between two countries.
4 years ago
These are fun videos, but there really is no long term reason to put up with goats that love to get out of their fences.

So how you get goats that are real homebodies and hate to get out of their fences? You breed them by every year removing the goats from your herd that love to escape.

Most people have absolutely no idea what is possible to change in animal behavior in as little as 10 generations.

The Soviet Union domesticated Foxes starting in 1959 and it did not take long of selective breeding to get the desired behavior changes:

It should really be that simple, just make sure you continually remove from your herds first the goat escape artists, then later the goats that only occasionally get out.

Long term there should be no need to put up with goats that love to escape.
4 years ago