Category: Exploration I
Posts on my thoughts of a new type of community, and how it could function.
How will age affect the process of entering the community?
While in many entries there has been discussion of this there should be a clarity of what it means to ‘enter’ the community. In many communes, monastic groups around the world there are full-time members living in the community perpetually, there are transitionals (laypersons), novices, candidates and even, pilgrims etc. Depending on the type and beliefs of the group in question.
In fact the monastic orders of old were in a constant state of change due to changing ideas of what it meant to be a monk, philosopher or aesthetic.
It seems universal though that a lifetime membership should be just given out to people on a whim, a layperson can help at can be someone of any age giving up their limited leisure time if they believe in the community, or a student could be a transitional merely at the community to obtain experience and an education.
Someone deciding to move into the community on a permanent basis must be firstly old enough to by civil law to leave home or in foster situations, orphaned etc.
While it is not the intention of the community to become another foster system for the plight of abandoned children following the reasons for founding the community, every provision must be made in such circumstances, where possible, in final analysis no child should ever be abandoned.
Similarly someone who wishes to join at an advanced age and brings a huge wealth of experience, or a dedicated effort into the community exceptions can and should be made. Essentially ageism should not blind us to all prescriptive members.
All decisions (as stated in e108) should go through a group selection committee.
**Addendum: Members should go through a lengthy novice and training period to ensure that they will be happy within the community in the long run.
How will the hierarchy of the community be decided?
There shouldn’t be a huge hierarchy, any sufficiently complex hierarchy creates too many divisions between those elected and those not elected into positions of control. We are all different levels of our chosen disciplines.
An elected official only holds power only within the purview of his office, any major decisions can be challenged to a debate of peers or a board of review if there is sufficient cause.
Furthermore, people will be randomly assigned to communities and all people within the community have a minimum of 20% of the their hours doing menial chores.
If the community should grow beyond one location there should there be another elected group above the individual communities at a regional, national or international level?
On a large scale representation of each discipline also needs to remain as equal as possible to avoid a bias towards a particular field of study or science. This of course would depend on how many people exist and could take the time to partake in such committees.
How would the community grow over time?
I would like to see the community only grow at a natural and stable pace that if correctly managed will have savings for hard times, provide for the members and prepare a fund for a future community .The rather elegant system of biology and mitosis would seem an appropriate growth methodology (if done at a reasonable rate). when the community reach a certain size it first of all will remain stable gaining enough resources and savings to create a secondary community and training its members up to a sufficient level so when the savings and abilities of the communities reach a predefined level a secondary property is renovated by all available members followed by around half of the original community leaving to populate it.
As per mitosis and cell division each community can start to specialize and work on a specific expertise, science etc. and be a place where members can go to gain mastery in a discipline, the public can go to be educated or where organizations go to get technical support and help on a particular subject. One should always be careful of over specializing, over specialization breeds in weakness, it’s slow death.
How would the community be viewed by a government?
Which, to clarify means as a charity, foundation, enterprise, a Higher Education Corporation etc. etc.
Due to the intricate issues of law dependent on the country that the community resides this is not easy to answer. For example how would Islamic laws on finance affect savings for the community, how would a co-operative status in France adjust the way money is stored or given to individuals. What about healthcare, company obligations to pensions?
This is all further compounded by the community working for charities, taking money and “paying” members, generating “paid-for” services, ultimately then each community must chose the most appropriate available status based on what is available in the host country.
Ideally, the community shouldn’t be treated in a special way and should grow on its own merits, it should be an example of a functional independent society that provides a valuable service to the local community, nation, world and humanity without some hidden agenda and without proselytizing.
it should ask for favoritism either but rise or fall on its own merits.
How should relationships and families be integrated into the community?
The community, while sharing similarities with monastic orders has far more in common with a campus university or kibbutz. A working collaborative commune in which people will invariably fall in love, have families and of course disputes. Evidently, there should be no restrictions on what kind of relationships are formed nor should there be any discrimination against any kind of sexual preference of any consenting community members. Children and co-habitation should also be permitted and there should be at no point the feeling that community enforces an ideal state of on the family or relationship model (unless of course there are signs of abuse).
If someone wants to join the community who already has a family and potentially with a wife or spouse who is outside the community there should be some deliberation of the entrance committe.
How should rules be decided on?
This has been discussed in part in e76 and normally after a founding document (constitution) being created by a random community of full time community members (advocates). Rules in such a document should be considered rules of conduct for the community itelf and should not clash or supersede with existing civil laws of the host country has established.
Rule changes should only occur when decided by a 2/3 majority and should be validated to ensure that they don’t violate civil law or the fundamental ethics of the community (nor work at odds with its purpose).
** Problems could arise where the host country has rules that in fact impinge on the moral core of rules and roles within the community. If homosexuality for example banned by the host country but is acceptable within the community, this could cause intense conflict.
How should members be ‘punished’ if there is an infraction of the community rules?
The rules in question here are the rules of conduct, within the walls of the community and are not to be confused with civil law, transgressions of civil law such as rape, assault or theft will be dealt with by the legal institutions of the host country. Rules such as not getting so drunk as to cause disruption, failure to complete tasks, take part in mandatory activities such as exercise or chores etc. should all be in some way punishable offences as they are in a school, university or company.
As with most systems there should be a series of progressive punishments (not including corporeal punishment) starting with official warnings and then progressing to a reduced pay of savings, subsequent bad behavior will result in a period of isolation and meditation, such and isolation needn’t be solitary confinement but a literal boycott, such as Charles Boycott endured, along with arduous tasks such as memorizing various social and philosophical stoic texts on social cohesion. This would continue until either the member decides to leave, or change their behavior.
3 strike systems of repeated bad behavior and a disregard for others, or a particularly awful transgression (faked research, plagiarism of others work) could ultimately be punishable by expulsion from the community. When such a decision is reached the effects should be immediate. Savings should be paid into a personal account exterior to the community or given as a check. Temporary guest accommodation will be provided for up to a month while the individual finds an alternative.
If a member is ejected from the community it can be for a set period of time. The very system of our criminal punishment and legal systems, not to mention the belief in the capacity for individuals to change does allow for the possibility that time outside the community to reflect might create significant change.
Permanent expulsion from the community (someone for example falsifying research, a direct contradiction to the entire foundation of what the community stands for), or one committing a crime shall never be allowed to enter any community again.
How many people should be the maximum for a community?
This question requires a large amount of speculation. There are so many contributing factors such as space constraints, economic constraints, a sufficient number of of educators, trainers, advocates or mentors, in history there are records of monastic communities in the thousands, with fields of grain, farmlands and orchards there to provide the necessary food, cloth, and materials for the order. While such a community is lamentably difficult to reproduce in the modern world it does offer us the hope that such an endeavor is indeed possible. Initially anything up to 150 people seems excessively large population of members.
If a community ever reaches a prescribed number for at least 6 months it should then divide half, moving into separate buildings (communities? Gore assoc.) . Then when both communities again reach the prescribed limit they split again. This mitosis allows for a growth rate based upon available space and would allow a natural growth rate with each community in turn responsible for setting up the following.
** It might even be reasonable for such communities to try new methods or specializations to other communities thus creating families of descendant groups that specialize on particular skill sets.
How often should changes in leadership occur?
Aside the exception of a challenge to the present leadership, in a vote of no confidence, in the current people in charge. A regular cycle of 4 or 5 years seems a reasonable amount of time. However, one must take care to pay attention to long term views and not just transitional current periods, each leadership team must focus on the future generations of the community and the world as a whole. Not on what might be temporary discomfort.
Leadership, in this sense mean elected officials, or people on committees. there are expert roles that could be exceptionally hard or impractical to replace regularly such as head chef, doctors, accountants, solicitors etc. etc. These unique positions need roper clarification as to what positions require “expertise” i.e. a Chartered Accountant and/or just experience i.e. someone balancing the books using Sage.
Other possibilities include a pool of the most experienced practitioners in a domain (assuming such a group exist) are chosen either at random or each has a cycle of holding the relevant position before ceding the position to another.
How much do members earn?
At this point, this is very much an exercise in speculation. But some approximate values can be expressed based on current incomes for technically specialized people. In the UK for example, at time of writing, a graduate with 2 years experience can expect to receive anything from £20-30,000 depending on which region of the UK and the particular company hiring. With the community requiring some money to exist and provide food, water, electricity, insurance and other day to day essentials and materials for the members en mass we can suggest a saving of 5000 to 6000 every 6 months. for each individual should be more than feasible. Providing ample reduction in normal fees for competitive contracts from the community, while also giving the member a large amount of savings from 10,000 to 12,000 per year. But finally also allowing the community to save an excess for future hard times.
** Addendum , having run a business now for the last 5 years I would suggest that excess amounts would be poured primarily into a treasury.