Having made a conscious decision to wrestle with polarities, recognizing them as in continuous dynamic interplay — I continue to notice how both how stimulating and yet consternating this process is.
I am not speaking theoretically. This is not just a philosophical attitude taken by a Ph.D. philosopher. (Though I am that.) I’m speaking down here, on this planet, in Bloomington Indiana, inside a suburban neighborhood in the middle of which we have created a permaculture village farm as a living, intergenerational experiment in “intentional community.”
I say this, even more intimately, while living within my own body, inside myself, all the light and shadow aspects of ME and their often momentous struggle for dominance.
Yes. I say this, living with both my own light and shadow and the light and shadow of each of the others who live here (the same polarity, multiplied).
Then there’s the shadow within our village group.
Then there’s the shadow between our village group and the neighborhood that surrounds us.
Many stories I could tell about each of these dynamic struggles. How about this one:
About three months ago, we decided to gather all expenses related to utilities of all three houses and divide them equally among the nine of us. From now on, unless we remain conscious, we will no longer experience the effect of, for example, turning up the heat, or leaving the lights on, quite as much as we would have before, since the effects of what we do are spread out horizontally among three homes, rather than, as before, within each home and its three occupants.
I find myself, now, noticing that one of the other two houses has the heat up higher than we have it here at this house. I fret at my recognition. And yet I am dedicated to continuing our social permacultural experiment in this way. Welcome, I tell myself, to socialism.
I could say that we need to have rules that go across all three houses: “heat can be no higher than X. . .” for example. But we don’t want to do that. Why? Because we still want to make the individual, and individual choice, as important as community welfare. And to assume that all of us, when we are conscious, are continuously working to create and recreate this dynamic balance.
But are we all conscious? Of course not. Not all of us all of the time. Each of us has our blind spots, and we strive to cooperate even so, while calling others out on their blind spots, but not to shame them, usually just privately, and ask for clarification, “why do you . . .?” Or “Do you see that you . . .?”
(In fact, I continuously find myself telling others that I don’t really trust them until they let go of the usual fear of calling me out on my shadow. After all, it’s often easier for others to see than for ourselves to see? We learn about ourselves through interactions with others.)
In our group, polarity dynamics are constantly equilibrating, moving up and down the scale from “do my own thing” to “how would this action affect those around me?”
More generally, I sometimes go on rants excoriating both capitalism and socialism, which I consider twin evils: one lauding the individual to the point of “who gives a damn about anybody else, I’m just going to do my thing,” and the other lauding the group to the point of “in order for smooth and equal functioning of everyone, we all must conform to X standards.”
Having just absorbed a new (to me) video from Rosa Koire, speaking about what has befallen California — not even mentioning the hellish fires, just governance, and what “they” are trying to put into place, as a lead-in to Agenda 21, I’m introduced to a word I’ve heard before, but hadn’t focused in on: “communitarianism,” which, Rosa says, 179 nations signed onto at the 1992 Earth Summit Conference in Rio. At first glance, I thought maybe communitarianism was a name that I could embrace as something that does work with the individual vs. the group dynamic. But no. It turns out communitarianism is actually another name for socialism, communism, and ultimately, if the UN has its way, centralized world government, since it consistently values group identity over individual expression.
One thing she said struck me: that individual freedom is innately, inherently, a given, but “the community” is always socially constructed. True! Everything depends on not just holding common values, but on the simple fact of the actual size of one “community.” Size, for example, governs whether or not rules have to be put in place to govern individual behavior. Here, with only nine people, we try to keep rules to an absolute minimum. Were we to scale up, to add even one more household, what changes would we feel compelled to make in order to preserve our (mostly) dynamic equilibrium?
In other words, “the community,” “the group,” can be large or small or anything in between. And who we consider to be “in” our group depends upon criteria that may or may not be obvious. Here, in Green Acres Village, it’s do you value doing your own thing and cooperating with others while striving to live, as far as possible, “below money” and close to the Earth, as our Mother, Teacher, and Healer? That’s about it!
And since all of us fractious individuals live in close proximity to each other, we are well aware of both our own individual shadows and how the shadow operates by projection in each individual, in the group, and between the group and the wider world.
We don’t need rules. But larger groups do. How large should a group be? That may be the question of this century, as we continue to let go of the so-called New World Order and scale back and down towards (in my vision) tiny decentralized groups of various sizes networking with each other horizontally, but drawing their energy, their power, always, from the living land beneath their feet. Bottom up, folks. Not top down.
Please listen to this video, if you want to absorb an overview of what is gradually being foisted upon us without most of us even realizing it. Thank you Rosa Koire.