Knowledge share: communitarian life
The world is changing so fast. The human race is dividing and uniting in a push-pull along a stretching spectrum from the deeply naturally connected to the deeply artificially connected (cyborg/VR world).
Curious about living in a co-op, commune or intentional community, which falls somewhere on the spectrum? Perhaps interested in starting your own? Or maybe you've already lived at one and have experiences to share. I'd love to hear them! And you're not alone! :)
I have been a member of a co-op community for 4 years, I visited numerous co-operatives and communes and I have some insight on avoiding culty ones, finding the rad ones and the ups and downs of living with others in a cooperative/communitarian setting.
The best way for some people to learn about them is to just visit them or go adventuring/couchsurfing/WWOOFing/exploring.
But maybe next to that, talking to a true fan of the lifestyle (like I am) could be useful for you. You never know who you'll meet or what kinds of amazing social experiences you'll have!
Training & Qualifications
I have spent 6 years on a personally initiated, on-the-ground research study of intentional communities on my personal journey for more meaning and a deeper connection to nature and to one another in our increasingly disconnected apathetic and unhealthy society. I have listened to the downsides and benefits on many levels:
- quality of life
- connection to/disconnection from larger institutions (a constant discussion!)
- making a difference
- equality (and what it means to different people)
- antisocial vs. social motivations
- dietary needs/restrictions
- relationships to plants
- relationships to animals
- relationships to human beings
- perspectives from various genders, orientations, belief systems, ethnicities, ages, races, backgrounds, nationalities
- money matters
I have visited and interacted with the members of communes, co-ops, eco-villages and even corporate communities. I have asked them specifically for their answers to the quandries of "to co-op or not to co-op" and "how to co-op" and "what is this whole 'community' thing anyway?" among other questions that sound silly but are actually real concerns of people considering intentional community living (even those living in those very communities!). I have read many books they recommend and books they did not recommend but which speak some truth about them.
I am still seeking communities I want to visit and explore. And that is an important qualification, because I'm not some reporter trying to write them off. I genuinely think many models work the same or better than cities. Some of them are far worse, though. And it's important to see and know the signs of the difference. There are cults that you don't want to end up at. And there are also the opposite: wonderful free thinking places of amazing co-living.
I still want to talk to more people about it, even if you have already heard of co-ops or intentional communities. Especially if you've had a positive experience at one!