Intentional communites

10/01/2008 at 7:48 pm (thoughts)

Noel and I have often thought that it would be nice to find an intentional community of like-minded folks to move into.

But a lot of the intentional communities that I’ve heard about through the years end in failure.

And last night I was thinking about why that is.

And I came up with two reasons:

The first reason is that in our modern disconnected insular society we have forgotten how to live in a real community.

And the second reason is that we are too selfish. Real community requires self-sacrifice, and all too often I think we modern people are simply unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to live in real community.

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1 Comment

  1. Clair Schwan of Libertarian Logic said,

    I don’t have any first hand experience with “intentional communities”, but it seems that they would be prone to failure because they are the created by intentions of others, not the natural intentions (and social contract) of community members that gradually form relationships. If the whole thing is orchestrated, then it might have a feel of something more like small scale government, and that usually doesn’t work.

    We have a very small “village” here on our ridge out in the prairie of Wyoming. Within a mile of my house, we only have 9 homes. Within 2 miles, there are only a few more. Our “village” developed naturally as a matter of informal contract. Not everyone participates, but a few do, and that’s just fine. We share equipment, know-how, tools, cups of coffee, encouragement, laughs and social gatherings.

    We also shed tears together when we suffer losses.

    Everyone contributes and participates to the extent they want and are able, and that is our tacit social contract. We all have a certain style that naturally comes together in times of need.

    When you live in the country, you do so because you want to do things on your own – you have a sense of achievement. Making a village or community of some sort isn’t a simple matter of intention. It has to happen naturally.

    One of my neighbors wanted to create a homeowners association years before I moved in. I’ll have none of that. We’re way better off managing our own lives and leave others to form their own micro-government with it’s “I’ll be minding your business” attitude.

    This is what I suspect is the failing of many intentional communities. Social relationships, helping hands, and a natural and gradual development of community culture are displaced by meddling, social engineering and those who want to be king.

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