The Living Community

“Can the workplace, the community, the home be transformed?It is uncertain whether the world can survive the continued fragmentation of war, politics, overpopulation and pollution. It is certain, however, that without a radical change in the very structure and basis for our collective lives, nothing but more of the same can occur. The conflict, we discover, is not out there. The end of conflict, the discovery of the fundamental mutation of the entirety of our existence, begins with us. Responsibility is not elsewhere.”
–from Doing Nothing

“As we reawaken to the life of connection, we will need structures that reflect the considered pacing and profound intensity of that life. Our community becomes the expression of that restructuring, not a community in which we live, but a community as a medium through which we live. This community, our community, reflects and expresses the most profound elements of the human potential.”
–from The Happy Child

A culture of creativity impacts the current outmoded societal structure not by confronting it, but by ignoring it. It is the perception of irrelevance that is the most powerful force of change. The age of revolution is over, and that of sudden and unpredictable paradigm shift is upon us. All institutions—governmental, religious, and business—are held together and empowered by belief and energized by resistance. The new revolutionaries are those who step into the creative flow to generate the future culture now by simply living it. Commercialism fails when no one buys; wars end when no one is willing to fight; dictators fall when citizens cease cooperating. When belief shifts, change occurs. When belief becomes fluid, change is a constant possibility and culture becomes creative.
–from What’s Next After Now?

“If we do nothing to stop it, community naturally expresses from our lives. It is inherent to our humanness. It is the representation of the fact of our connectedness.

What we do to stop ourselves from community is myriad. Every concept we cling to divides us, every fear we identify with divides us.

We accept an ever smaller subdivision of life as our community. We embody that shrinking world in our faceless housing unit, our gliding automobile with tinted windows, our communication through computer and telephone. This is the expression of isolation, fear and pain.

We have stopped ourselves from communing. Why?

Community requires a radical simplification of our lives. When our focus becomes our inherent relatedness, not survival, then what we do with our lives and how we do it drastically changes.

The expression of community is the reflection of our collective realization. It is important to our children that they have loving parents. It is just as important that there is a loving community to receive them as they come into this life.

If we are to raise children, we must also raise communities. If not, our children will continue to be patterned in the isolation we have come to accept in our contemporary societies.

These new communities can be free of ideology, and instead be based on the direct perception of relationship. How will decisions be made? How will money be kept or distributed? What is ownership? How will the young be educated? How will the sick and the old be cared for? The exploration of questions such as these forms the basis of such a community.

Like the view of life itself, such a community will always be moving, changing and self-revealing.”
–from Doing Nothing

“Now, we can consider a multi generational configuration that bases its existence on its own actual and perceived mutuality. Perhaps this configuration lives in a house or a cluster of houses. It may be a single person, a traditional family, an extended family, a polygamous or polyandrous family, a commune or a village. Its structure emerges out of the interior of feeling rather than contained by the pressures of society, family or religion. Its qualities are unknown because the actual potential of human relatedness is unknown. We really only know that the present structures have failed. They cannot be saved, nor should they be saved. They are based on the past and now we are all somewhere else…

“The forms that our lives take — our family, our schools, our churches, our society — are all unconscious, preconceived hand-me-downs. This is our reality, this is the realm in which we struggle, in which we are failures or successes.

“The rat in the psychologist’s maze succeeds when it gets to the other side, pushes the lever and gets rewarded with a food pellet. This is our life. The maze is the labyrinth of thought —the collective, societal thought. Is this enough for us?

“To step outside of this maze is not a small thing. Every form exerts its force upon us. The pressure is immense. If we take even the smallest step, our world begins to unwind.

“This is not something to take lightly. Let us look around our life. Are we prepared for all that we are, all that we identify with, to fall away and for something entirely new to emerge? That is the price we will pay. There is no negotiation. Nor is there any turning back.”
–from Being One

“The living community, the electricity that crackles through all social structures, is the ground of commonality, it is the shared space of a life that embraces us all and that we recognize as holding the potential for greater integration, creativity and compassion. This connection to our community is our lifeblood because it is our life. It is where our life takes place and our children’s life. To separate from it is to separate from ourselves, to hold back from our own fullness.

Our children need more than a home and a family, essential as those components are. They need a community out of which they will emerge into the world at large and to which they will return again and again, perhaps to stay and live, perhaps to simply share their life and leave again. A child needs a community, not a place of anonymous houses and strip malls, but a living community. This is more than a place. It is all the potentials of relationship located in a place. Such a community is alive: where the structures of society support the inquisitive, the creative, the passionate; where roads lead not just to destinations but to discovery; where houses are built not just to protect but to connect; where productivity, creativity, living and learning are not divided by architecture and zoning but integrated into forms that reflect the deepest aspirations of the human being.”
–from The Happy Child