Getting along famously

Everything we Luddans do and dream of depends on high-level, hugely enjoyable collaboration. This is our ongoing core project. Here’s a quick summation of what we understand so far.

  • Right size. We aim to have no more than 60 adult members, and plan to hive off a sister community whenever we grow past our limit. This is the traditional and time-tested way to keep conflict low and the relationships “human,” face-to-face, free of bureaucratic mediation. Within such a group, caring, pro-social behaviors are easy to recognize and encourage.
  • People come before ideas. We frown on the elevation of beliefs, ideas, mind constructs above living beings, and do not share the conviction that shared beliefs are unifying and essential for agreement and successful collaboration. Judging people by their beliefs and ideas rather than “by their fruits” is bound to lead to confusion and conflict. So does proselytizing on behalf of ideas held with overbearing certainty. Not shared ideology, but rather trust and warm appreciation of each other is the glue that holds us together. We wish for Ludda to be and remain an oasis of ideological peace.
  • Sharing power, sharing the Earth. Societies where gross disparities of power and wealth exist are perpetually in conflict, however covert it may be. While perfect equality is neither desirable nor possible, we Luddans have a sneaky feeling that the optimal situation is neither individualistic private property nor everything in common, and seek the right balance between the extremes. We look for a workable mix of individual autonomy and sharing. There is one non-negotiable: we have freed the land that shelters us from the buy-and-sell cycle and attendant bubbles, and returned it to itself. In Ludda, the Earth is not ownable, period. It is a gift freely given.
  • Compassionate communication skills are treasured among us as a way to deal with charged situations. We’ve all got the basics down, and the community as a whole participates in workshops with people who’ve expanded on the original patterns. Ludda attests that habits of empathy can be learned and, like yeast, permeate and raise the dough of our everyday life to make a tasty cake. With icing and cherries on top.

Readings:
* A basic write-up on non-violent communication on wiki.
* Another look on compassionate communication by people who practice it.
* An oldie but goodie! A cartoon-rich book on enjoyable and productive groups called Cooperative and Community Group Dynamics (… or your meetings needn’t be so appalling) by Rosemary Randall and John Southgate. Soon to be updated and reissued.

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