[permaculture] Community Building

lbsaltzman at aol.com lbsaltzman at aol.com
Tue Jul 31 00:09:18 EDT 2007

This article was nothing to have?a cow over.? This was a short high level introduction to the difficulties of community building and suggesting that skills in conflict resolution and interpersonal relationships will be extremely important.? She is not just preaching to the choir, as?many intentional communities have failed on personal conflict and not many of us have had the experience of living in communities that have been intact and functioning for multiple generations.? There will also be many groups coming together as time goes on who are ill-prepared to live in community and will be ill-prepared to have the skills to survive.? Many of them need to? hear the message.

I think we have well established that humans are capable of extremely disfunctional community systems.? I got to spend some time once with the Maori in New Zealand and was impressed that in their meeting houses they had a mess of mattresses. they told my wife and I that when there are problems and conflicts in the community everybody came to the meeting room and they would spend up to a week if necessary to reach a consensus on the problem. Every member of the community from the young to the elderly got to speak as long as necessary.? 

Many cultures have evolved elaborate methods for handling conflict, stress and problems. It ain't easy.? It is important for people to understand how difficult this is and to understand we may be facing more difficult times than most American have faced since the 1930s.? We are ill-prepared to? handle what is coming as a nation and facing reality is not a bad thing.? 

We need people that conceptually analyze the big picture and people who provide specific details.? I find Carolyn Baker's writing to be provocative and contain messages that a lot of people need to hear.? If you think you can build on her work and come up with more detailed solutions to the extraordinary difficulty of reconstructing healthy community go for it.? I am happy that somebody is even pointing it out and providing an historical context for the problem.

-----Original Message-----
From: Healing Hawk <healinghawk at earthlink.net>
To: 'permaculture' <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 5:37 pm
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Community Building

It really irritates me when someone tells us what we have to do but doesn't
tell us why or how to do it.  We have to build community to survive
civilization's collapse?  Duh!  How?  I have organized groups since I
organized a base camp against the war in Vietnam in 1970 and some form
community and some don't.  It seems like magic, to me.  If it requires
unhooking from our lives in the belly of the beast who will pay our bills
while we're spending three or four hours per day processing our feelings
with others of potentially a like mind?  Perhaps we can convince some rich
person to finance that?  We taught nine Simplicity Circle classes in Houston
in the late 90s and not a single person finished any one of them but the two
teachers.  How do we unhook?  This article is what Gregory Bateson would
have called softheaded.  How do we eliminate our debt, throw away our cell
phones and SUVs and green tea lattes, and squat somewhere until we get our
Post Oil souls together?  Who pays for therapy to heal us of empire's
excesses?  Probably every member of this group agrees with Carolyn Baker.  I
do.  But I don't need preached to.  I need some tools that I can use to
create the community we'll need to survive civilization's collapse.  Until I
have them, I'm going to be working like Hell to keep civilization from
collapsing.  Anyone with a single functioning brain cell will do the same
thing, because, for better or worse, civilization is what keeps life livable
in the US.  It's battered to hell and gone, but it's keeping us from
degenerating into clans run by warlords, like Afghanistan and Iraq.  Guess
who's going to own the warlords in the US?  What do you think they invented
"trickle down" economics for?  Has the trickle reached you?  It's reached
the defense contractors.  The mainstream press and media traumatize us every
day, but we can turn them off, mostly, and get our news from people who give
us the news without needing to traumatize us with sensationalist social
control crap.  We can, and should, give our TVs to the junk dealer, except
they'll end up in some third world country being stripped of their
recyclable parts by starving slaves who die fast from the toxic substances
they ingest.  Don't buy the damn things.  All they do is distract us.  Just
say no to distraction.  We need to know, and to meditate on, how totally
fucked we are if we don't get off our asses and create an ecological culture
in the US, and distraction keeps us from that.  I don't know of a newspaper
that isn't a corporate propaganda rag, either, even the NY Times and
Washington Post.  Abe Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson told us this was coming,
Eisenhower told us again, and we let the corporations anesthetize us and do
what they did to the world since Eisenhower.  Anyone who can't see the arc
from Nixon to Bush II isn't paying attention, probably because they're
comatose in front of the TV.  So how do we learn to create sustainable
community?  Let's dispense with preaching to the choir and produce some
tools that don't require us to make millionaires of sustainable community
gurus, tools we can pick up and use right away.  This is an area where the
observation phase was over three decades ago.  

Tommy Tolson
Austin, TX

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