Community? You're a communist! - Toward Community

Community? You’re a communist!

Community, community, community
The Findhorn Community in Scotland. Taken from Findhorn.org

Communism? How about community! Do you think that means sharing everything equally? Do you think that means working for the collective good?

Well you’re right! Sounds a lot like communism doesn’t it?  Intentional communities exist all over the world – these are not just based in the countryside – inner city communities like the LA Eco-village are also coming together to pioneer new ways of living with each other.

When talking about intentional living spaces, we often jump to the conclusion that the term ‘community’ is synonymous with ‘communism’, or even ‘cult’!  There is a grain  of truth to this, as many intentional communities do – to a greater or lesser extent – embrace broadly ‘communist’ ideals.  I don’t mean the sort of oppressive uniformity displayed by Maoist China or Stalinist Russia, of course – I’m talking about inclusive, self-determining, community-led action.  Focusing on local services and supporting one another to live freely.

It’s no longer a small minority within society who gather to protest at the mess we’re in – we’ve reached a turning point.  Due to dwindling resources, rising populations and reduced faith in our leaders – a growing number of people are taking matters into their own hands.  I believe that moving towards a more community-focused society will greatly improve our situation. That is why I and some other contributors to this site are striving to build the skills and knowledge necessary to support ourselves and each other.  This is what community’s all about!

But what will this community life look like?

Wow, that’s a big question!  Here are just a few answers:

  1. Relatively small – 150 is a perfect number for a community, based on the size of other primate groups. It’s also the average number of close relationships we form in our lives.
  2. Safer – due to the closer connections between people, they wouldn’t want to harm one another. I mean, how often do you feel the urge to steal from or beat up a close friend?
  3. Happier – less crime means that people feel safer.  Feeling safe encourages individuals to grow and contribute more to their collective well-being.

The more people contribute, the more valued they feel – which leads to ever greater contributions and stronger bonds of friendship.  Can you see the upward spiral? I have a personal vision of the community I would like to be a part of, which you can see here, but the beauty of community life is that it’s defined by the individuals involved – you can forge your own dream team!

Surely it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, Dave!

No, nothing comes without challenges.  Having favoured individualism over collectivism for a long perod of time, we have (almost) forgotten how to live with one another.  This is just as true for me as it is for anyone else – and at the start, there could be a lot of social head-butting to contend with.  After forming our groups, we’ll need to sail some stormy seas – it’ll take time before we’re able to establish healthy group norms and perform efficiently as a unit (see this article for more on the four stages of group development).  To see us through the bad weather, we need to have mutually determined decision-making structures and conflict resolution processes in place; but with these tools to help us, we can build a happier, healthier, more fulfilling way of life.

Here’s your chance

Let us know what you think of this intentional community in West Wales – “Living In The Future”.

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David Schofield

Hi, I'm David. When I'm not working on The Ethical Organiser, you'll find me studying kung fu, with my family or designing a farm for the future. I get excited about self-sufficiency, sustainability and community. If you want to learn more, get in touch. I'd love to meet you to see if we can create your dreams together.