Community Phase 1: What We Can Do Now

“While people are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate the alarm of any evil design. They are able to discover and understand it working together, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when people are isolated from each other, acting independently, without order or discipline, communication is uncertain, counsel is difficult, and resistance impractical. Where people are not acquainted with each other’s principles or character, where they have not developed any trust between them, or friendship, or common interest… it is evidently impossible that they can act with uniformity, perseverance, or efficiency. In a group, even the most insignificant person has value, their skills can be used as part of a greater whole; alone, even the most talented people will find it difficult to make a meaningful impact. No one in their right mind can honestly believe that they alone are capable of defeating the subtle designs and united factions of self-interested people without the support of anyone else. When bad people combine together, good people must also combine together; otherwise they will fall, one by one, in a futile struggle against merciless opponents.”
– Edmund Burke
Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents 82-83 (1770), paraphrased

Phase 1: Doing what we can now from within the existing system

I’ve often thought about living in a future, vibrant, self-sustaining community full of like-minded individuals who all have a drive to push humanity forward. For me, most of this thinking was in the 3-5 year time frame, giving us enough time to carefully choose a suitable plot of land, design the living environments and shared buildings, plan for how we could grow all our own food, have community doctors provide healthcare, have a community school for children, all surrounding a central hub of technology and innovation. I still think we can do that, but after looking around at the other projects in the broader post-scarcity movement it seems like a lot of groups have had that idea for a while now, but it doesn’t seem to actually happen. Travis Grant over at the Auravana project has a list of similar projects he’s been tracking over the years, and a non-trivial portion of them—many with grand visions of the future of their own—are either entirely gone or completely inactive. There are a few people who have banded together to form community-like environments, (KotoCoop, Twin Oaks, etc.) but I’m not aware of any communities that are even close to offering a standard of living higher than even just a middle-class American, and the vast majority of these planned communities are nothing more than dreams. Of course, each project has different reasons why their plans didn’t pan out as they had hoped, but overall what this made me realize is that first of all, there are some serious organizational and project management needs that are being unmet in a lot of projects out there. We have a lot of dreamers, but not enough directors — the kind of people who are good at organizing projects and people to turn a vision into a concrete plan and making it a reality. The second thing I realized is that we are only holding ourselves back by always focusing on some future community when we can reap many of the benefits of living together right now. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be trying to come together now in whatever numbers we can. Sure, there are risks, as with any endeavor involving people—especially people living together—but there is also so much we could gain. Imagine having even just 10 other people with the same mindset as you all passionately working towards building this future we all want…

So the question I have is:

How many of you reading this are willing to come together — with some reasonable convincing that we could make this work — to live under the same roof with like-minded people and work to create our shared vision of the future together?

Though I think we should start on this now, that does not mean we should rush into willy-nilly. It’s important to carefully plan everything in as much detail as we can, regardless of whether it’s 5, 10, 30 or 100 people, and make sure to talk with everyone personally (and together as a group) to ensure we have the right balance of skills and attitudes to enable a thriving and collaborative environment. In this way, we should not only see massive benefits as a group, but great benefits for us as individuals as well. Think of how much work each of us does managing our finances, our bills, groceries, cooking, laundry, house repairs, car maintenance, plus if you have kids — all those little tasks that add up and take away from our time we could delegate to specific volunteers in the group. What’s easier: everyone doing all their taxes and financial management, or our team of seasoned accountants doing that for everyone? What’s easier: everyone having to deal with grocery shopping and cooking their own meals individually, or our team of expert chefs cooking for everyone, getting food from our team of grocers (and someday, gardeners)? If we plan this correctly, without a doubt we’ll be far more efficient than we are by ourselves. And streamlining our own lives, that’s just part of it — the even better part is what we can do with what we’re focused on: creating a vibrant, moneyless, self-sustaining community so we can show the world that there’s a better way. So, many of us will also be working on outreach, there will be people making videos, people working on community planning, people doing web design, etc. Whatever your talents, we can find a place for you. The broader post-scarcity movement has people already working on many of the same things, but we are all so spread out and uncoordinated — we are not nearly as effective as we could be and our goal should be to change that. The benefits we could gain from doing this—coming together—are simply too great to ignore:

  • Being able to form valuable, life-long friendships
  • Improving our ability to collaborate and greatly increasing our productivity
  • Enabling us to develop trust between us
  • Improving our understanding of the entire movement space and of one another
  • Enabling us to better develop and refine our shared principles
  • improve our individual lives greatly because we should not have to worry about many tasks like cooking, cleaning, home maintenance, laundry, taxes, random errands, etc.
  • And let’s not forget, this is not just about work — we’ll be making sure to LIVE our lives too, so there will be plenty of fun and recreation as well
  • Collectively we’ll be in the position to support each other far better than we are apart and help each other grow into stronger, healthier, and wiser individuals

So, if you are able to at this time in your life (or in the near future) join us for this first phase of the community, living with us in whatever setup we can afford that is appropriate for our numbers, in the particular location that we all together deem best for our collective interests, please register on these forums, introduce yourself, and apply to our organization (if you haven’t already).

Remember: our first goal is not to create a moneyless, self-sustaining community just yet but is simply to do the best we can right now within the existing system. I’m sure we can pool our resources to find a suitable location that works for all of us, or perhaps even start multiple locations if there’s enough interest. I’ll try to spread the word in various places over the coming weeks and we’ll take it one step at a time. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t matter how many people are interested, we could reap the benefits of collaboration with even just a handful of people involved. And though it may seem like this will only work for certain individuals who already have some savings or no kids or other family in the equation, those things don’t necessarily have to be limitations — I think we could accommodate most people’s circumstances, it all depends on the amount of people who are interested and what people are willing and able to do to help out. Whoever we need to accommodate, if we put our collective minds to it I’m confident we can not only make it work, but likely even exceed whatever living conditions that person is in currently.

If you have not yet read the introduction to Infinite Love on our website, I encourage you to check it out so you can get a sense of where we came from, what we think is wrong, and what we want to do better.

Next Steps