|Dear friends, believe it or not, but in the (very)
near future New Communities will be founded. Until now, individual and materialistic
lifestyle had been the most desirable of all. That will all change, though. Because of
increasing threats of all kinds: climate change, disintegration of the state, violence and
poverty, to mention a few, people will be forced to come together, seeking each other's
support. After so much suffering, people will make up their minds with regard to the REAL
values in life. They have tasted all the benefits of the welfare state, concluding, that
the rat race did not make them any happier. They are longing for "Restoring the
Wholeness of Life". In exchange for e.g. spiritual values, community life,
security, closeness to nature, women and children-centered attitudes, economic support and
sharing, justice, love and mutual respect, they voluntary give up part of the luxeries
they had acquired. It all may start with a Virtual Community.
with corresponding ideas start calling each other. Dear friends, I know of one such an
initiative*. Members commit themslves to calling each other every day to share their
views, experiences, ideas and hopes, everything aimed at finding a common ground with
regard to various aspects of life. After a certain period of time - f.i. one year - this
may lead to a first cristallizing e.g. people that are attracted to each other decide to
move to the next stage: a Casual Community. This Community is adding one new element,
namely a weekly meeting, while going on with the calling practice. The weekly meetings are
focussing on REAL values in life. This in-depth approach has to explore deep insight into
common spiritual values, like openness, unity in diversity, a joint practice, commitment
etc. etc. Many years ago I designed an example of such a practice**. Through the weekly
meetings both the common ground and the obstacles are becoming more clear. The
transformation from individualism toward community life often proves to be a tough
journey, though. Hence, this stage to be decisive with regard to further steps.
* In Amsterdam, The Netherlands
** See: Home Meetings.
The third step is called the Provisionary Community. Encouraged by
the results on the one hand and the increasingly hazardous external situation, people will
start formulating joint principles* for a future community, while including the
achievements of the previous stages, e.g. the calls and the weekly meetings. The latter
becoming the platform to test the principles on their inherent merits. In order to prevent
deterioration into mere abstract concepts, the meetings of the Provisionary Community has
to integrate all kinds of practical activities. These could include meditating together,
practicing all kind of (psychological/medical) self-help methods, starting simple mutual
support, like taking care of each others children, organizing parties in which artistic
expression is encouraged, assisting each other developing (basic) skills, starting small
economic activities, taking care of the local environment or/and supporting the senior
members of the community. One will go on with this stage, until a core group has
cristallized, determined to work (hard) toward materialization of the next step.
* Like the example below.
Dear friends, contemplating all this, I cannot help but thinking of
the foundation of monasteries in the early Middle Ages. While nowadays existence itself is
at stake, at that time - of the collapse of the Roman empire - it was the Church that felt
pushed into a corner. So, after the individualistic era of the "desert fathers",
with their emphasis on individual salvation and retreat, some stood up taking the
initiative of founding religious communities. Pachom, Basil, Benedict and Bernard shared a
common interest in "preserving Christian values" throughout the Dark Ages. And
they succeeded! Amidst the turmoil of the ages it were the monastic orders, who managed to
transfer their values to next generations. It was only very recently, that they rapidly
deteriorated. Both inner degeneration - through the Christian denial of the Divine Nature
of existence - and the outer circumstances - the dramatic collective self-addiction of
society, contributed to this. This doesn't mean, that the underlying idea has died out,
though. I predict, that it will rise like a phoenix in short notice. Obviously, not based
on the old values anymore, but rather on sound eco-spiritual principles.
In the Basic Community previous efforts will materialize themselves.
This may take the shape of a "spiritual community", that can be compared with
"religious communities" of all kinds, like they are existing everywhere. In
these kind of community shared spiritual values will prevail. Others aim at including
"nature" as a indispensable element to a life built on wholeness. These people
will prefer to move out of their previous habitat, searching for a new place to settle
down. My own initiative, already designed in the early nineties* are an example of this.
Its main impulse was the vulnerability of an increasing number of people for
"electro-stress", the combined effect of radio, radar and later gsm and G3
(umts) high-frequency waves. Instead of becoming less relevant, these harmful influences
are posing a ever growing threat to our health and well-being. At that time my idea was to
move to (electro-stress free) Spanish countyside, for which I wrote letters to the Spanish
authorities. While - at that time - not having received any answers - in the mean time the
Spanish people themselves took the initiative to open up their rural communities to
foreign influx!!! It is just an example, how events "automatically" move in a
more sensible direction.
* See "New Life
The Basic Community will develop all kinds of (local) activities,
aimed at giving the community subsistence. Hence, organic agriculture to be the first and
foremost initiative, as part of a wider effort to restore a basic environmental habitat,
like securing water supply, the fertility of the soil, cleaning up pollution,
reforestation etc. Complemented by a reliable system of medical self and mutual help*. As
70% of our health proves to be depending on a healthy life-style, by taking health care in
our own hands, the foundation of well-being is secured. This can be extended to having
professional holistic health care workers in the community, who take care of those cases,
who despite a healthy lifestyle, fell ill. In most cases this will be sufficient to
guarantee a healthy population. In rare cases (difficult diseases, accidents, difficult
deliveries etc.) though, the help of technological health care has to be called in.
Economic self-reliance is a major concern, too. This will not be possible, if not
beforehand everybody had agreed on principles of voluntary simplicity**, sharing and
mutual assistence. Thus, the first aim is to provide a basic income for everybody, f.i. by
working half a day for the community. This income should cover basic costs like housing,
energy, catering, health care, education and transport. The other half of the day can be
used for personal goals and gains***.
* I have developed a revolutionary self-help medical system,
called "Flow System Therapy". It would be very suitable in supporting our
communities. See: www.vitalworld.org
** See D. Elgin "Voluntary Simplicity", 1993 Quill *** See my article "A New Economy". ***Not just for
fun.....Nowadays quite acceptable initiatives re-connect to the "Stone Age".
There are "Stone Age spirituality (Great Mother), Stone Age medicine (Chinese
guasha therapy), Stone Age economics (M.Sahlins "Stone Age Economics", 1972
Aldine de Gruyter) and Stone Age habitat.
Extreme situations provoke extreme answers. If climate change
"throws us back into the Stone Age", our response has to be accordingly. With
consequences toward gender and community building. A well known example is Tibetan women
of remote areas, who "take" two husbands (often a first husband and his
brother), because of long abscence of the former. Don't think too lightly about it! The
future appears to become highly unstable. Especially the situation of women and children
are at stake. The patriarchy has proven NOT able e.g. interested in protecting their
fundamental rights. Abuse is still (dramatically) on the rise. New solidarity networks are
thus direly needed. One of the options* is the "Caribbean Model". What we see
already - as part of urban life - is single mothers with children from various partners.
In order to protect themselves against future risks (violence), women should start to form
new style tribes' core groups. Subsequently, these mothers (women) motivate their
partners/boyfriends to become a support group, sharing responsibilities. The benefits are
twofold: women receive protection, while the men become friends, dividing tasks which
otherwise will be on individual shoulders, only. Competition will be transformed into
cooperation**. More core groups might join, obviously also including "normal"
couples. The result will be the formation of modern tribes with women and children as
"the substance", with men serving the common cause. Because women are at the
center of responsibilities, they will possess corresponding (spiritual, cultural,
political) power in the community.
* In this model, the interests of women - to reclaim their
sexuality and men - to diminish the burden of family responsibility - are comng together.
Obviously, this is only one of many other possibilities.
** A great example of solidarity between men are the
matricentric Naaxi-peoples of Southern China.
Dear friends, obviously, such a community will undergo continuous
transformation of its values and practices. Rather than based on the existing system of
one-dimensional economic domination and exploitation, our communities will be flexible,
adapting themselves to changing situations. They have to! Increasingly, it is becoming
clear, that the (near) future will be one of high uncertainty and worse. We have to cope
with extra-ordinary challenges, trials and tribulations. This means, that the inner
coherence of the group will be a decisive factor. Until now, communities of all kinds have
experienced this as being most difficult. "So many people, so many ideas". In
order to prevent this, the first steps of community building, as indicated above, have to
confront this problem in an early stage, e.g. continuously testing people on their
willingness to (creatively) compromise. It is a hard and often painful job. Practices in
existing monasteries may give us some direction. F.i. in a women's convent, that I
personally know of, the "noviciat" takes NINE years, befor a newcomber is
admitted as a new member. The point is, that WE don't have so much time. It has to be
compensated by extra effort of the members involved. Last but not least, the principle of
"unity in diversity" is a "sine qua non". This means, that all members
embrace ONE unifying principle as the foundation, upon which diversity can flower, e.g.
one shared in-depth spiritual practice, as an indispensible Source of support,
inspiration, refuge and strength*.
* This can be "anything", from a shared meditation
practice to Mother Worship. Every community will develop its own unique character.
Our Communities are called
The result is a community, that has reached a certain stability,
while thriving in all kinds of ways. I call it the Extended Community. It has found its
roots in such a way, that it can open up itself to the outside world without fear. It
knows how to deal with challenges from within and without. Apart from the stabilizing
factors, mentioned above, this community has recognized women as a major factor in
community building, while men fulfill the function of serving the whole. Forms of
community democracy have grown mature, based on Self-governance and shared
responsibilities. The model of organic layers of basic democracy: individuals, families,
groups, streets, neighborhood and the commune, all organized bottom-up, according the
principle of subsidiarity have replaced the current system, in which everything is
corrupted by political parties and their representatives. Everybody will have a say in all
things that matter. On the individual level, ways of handling personal and relational
problems and conflicts will have established themselves. Methods like Emotional
self-integration* will be used by many as psychological self and mutual help. The result
will be a community firmly rooted in "Heaven, earth and the community", while -
at least in my case - surrendering to the Ultimate. The Great Mother can be of great help
here, since She - in an unprecedented way - provides the necessary insight, compassion and
strength in these very critical of times. Because of our transgressions e.g. accumulations
on all levels, the Cosmic Vacuum is re-balancing the world, e.g. breaking down our
ego-achievements. By simplifying our lives (among others) we restore the original
* See "Emotional