Communities Based on Love (Continued)

Second Life - Piano
There are a lot of items on my Sunday list of subjects I said I would write about soon. But none seems as important right now as what I wrote about yesterday — my quest to employ Second Life as a testing ground to create a working model of Intentional Community. This is one of the things I want to leave for future generations to consider as they rebuild society after civilization’s collapse. It’s also something we need desperately in the Real World today — a better way to live and make a living than the dysfunctional systems that we struggle with today.

What is strange to me is that I no longer feel inclined to create an Intentional Community in Real Life. I’m trying to figure out why, since I’m not by nature an escapist, nor am I generally much enamoured of technology. Here are the reasons I’ve come up with:

  1. The constraints to creating Intentional Community in Real Life are severe. People have family responsibilities, work responsibilities, economic responsibilities, that they can’t just walk away from. Until a support network of Intentional Communities can be established, it will be a struggle to find (and pay for) the right place, to self-organize, and to extract ourselves from responsibilities and commitments. The people I’ve spoken to about Intentional Community have more or less said to me: “Dave, great idea, ask me again in about ten years.” At various times I’ve been invited by three different people to meet to explore creating an Intentional Community with them, and I’ve balked — it’s just such a big step. What if it doesn’t work out? The history of Intentional Community Success in Real Life is not great, and fear of failure is very human. In Second Life, by contrast, the cost of failure (other than disappointment and heartbreak, which is a very real cost) is very small.
  2. Even if we can’t find the people we want to make community with in Second Life today, we can always invite the people we know in Real Life to join Second Life and our Intentional Community. This is a low-risk way to figure out whether, in Real Life, they’d be the right people to make community with as well, and this would allow us to ‘pre-populate’ the community with an exceptional group of people. What do we have to lose?
  3. Some readers comments on yesterday’s post have me wondering whether my 11 essential qualities of an Intentional Community member are too stringent, and an experiment in Second Life would be a good test of this.
  4. In a very short period of time I’ve grown to love several people I’ve met in Second Life. My instincts tell me that for those relationships to grow, we need a purpose, one that is not connected to Real Life. So what can that purpose be? It’s fun, and heart-warming, to meet new people and do silly things with them, and to help them deal with some of their problems (as they help you with yours). But then what? We need to do something other than replicate the patterns and behaviours that we face in Real Life, with the same jealousies and possessiveness and materialistic pursuits that plague us in our Real Lives. We need an alternative that is not subject to the grim constraints of contemporary Real Life, with all the emotional pain that so often accompanies the emotional joy of finding people to befriend and love in a brave new world. My instincts tell me that a polyamory Intentional Community, completely divorced from Real Life, is such an alternative.

More on this strange and exciting quest as it unfolds. Thanks to all the readers who have offered their encouragement and constructive criticism. Just when I thought the astonishing pace of my self-learning and self-change was slowing down, I am finding that every day brings new discoveries that force me to re-evaluate everything that I believe. All I know is that I’m happier than I have ever been, and relearning how important love is to everything we do, and to the future of ourworld.

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8 Responses to Communities Based on Love (Continued)

  1. lugon says:

    Not that you need encouragement ;-), but please keep telling us whatever you find out.There was this experiment in which a group of 30 children was split up in 3 groups of 10 children each. Group A played basketball. Group B thought about playing basketball. Group C did nothing connected to basketball. Then, their practical skill was measured, and B came out closer to A than to C.If this is not an urban legend, then it would mean that mind experience (if realistic enough) does count as training.I’m charging my brain with youtube videos before growing some of my own food – because I’ve never seen how to grow food to start with!So what you’re attempting makes sense (as an experiment) and I for one will keep an open mind.

  2. george ruby says:

    Want to save this tired world, it’s not so hard, just get ride of the politicians and the bureaucats, thenform either an Honest Real Estate Trust to form corporations that sale franchises that the public owns andoperates on a complete NEW WAY of doing business, taking the thieves out of the equation and take itdomestically and internationally. The other way to cure the problem is a similar business plan like theBARTER SYSTEM where by an entity Funds business’s to the public and charges a royalty fee of 3% of the grossbusiness sales and re-invests it in other business’s again owned by the public and said business’s shallthen pyrimide across the world creating jobs for the masses. George Ruby Email

  3. Nancy White says:

    Dave, first, it was fun playing with you and all the wonderful folks last night at the NSWElearning-07 closing whatchamacallit (I would HARDLY call it a keynote or a presentation, and I’m happy to be at a loss for a familiar label).Have you checked out the work that David Sibbet, Firehawk and Michele Paradise are doing with their Medicine Wheel area in David’s Island, 3rd Life? Michele is Singingheart Amant and David is Sunseed (can’t recall last name). If you haven’t connected with them in SL, I’d STRONGLY suggest you seek them out. I sense a lot of kindred energy.

  4. Dave Smith says:

    Another alternative is “creating a place to live as a place you love” the tag line to a new book I’ve just received: How To Build a Village. It’s an answer to Jim Kunstler’s suburban hells, and just leafing through it shows what we have been missing and how we could be living. The website: haven’t spent much time yet exploring Second Life, but the self-sustaining village of 5,000 to 10,000 people is an intentional community with more options. ~~Dave

  5. Jon Husband says:

    IMO you already have the seeds (and more) of what you call an Intentional Community in your regular readers, subscribers to your RSS feeds and the other smart, caring people who blog and use social software who are in your network / field of thought rays and explorations.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    I’ve found a bit of a ‘rub’ in Second Life vis-a-vis Intentional Communities. The problem is that, while SL might be the ideal place to experiment with ICs that can help us deal with (or work around) the problems of a collapsing civilization, and find a better way to live, paradoxically in SL none of these civilizational problems exist, so it’s *so* tempting when you’re there just to have fun and get lost in love and conversation, and to ignore, just for awhile, the Real Life crises around us. So in a way, SL is as complex as Real Life — you need to learn to Let-Self-Change your identity in SL just as in Real Life to balance ‘work’ and ‘play’. Even though the work is part play and the play is part work.

  7. Ginger says:

    Hi Dave,Interesting thread. I get that your intentions are good, and hear your longing. But, when you ask, “what do we have to lose?” in Second Life, I must say that I think you have Real Life to lose. Time is so precious, I don’t want to spend any of it in a fake world, where (some) people are pretending to be who they might like to be instead of who they are, and where people spend hours/days/weeks/months of their lives learning to navigate a fake world, instead of learning to navigate and communicate in this imperfect, but beautiful, world. It seems a detour to me, and I would not want to be on my death bed wondering why I didn’t enjoy every minute of life on this earth connecting with real people, in real situations in ways that really evolve me. I would encourage you to pursue your Intentional Community in real time, in real life and see whether it attracts enough people or not. Why detour? If it does, you’re off and running. If it doesn’t, find out why, rethink it, and try again. Just my 2 sense.

  8. Siona says:

    I’m with Ginger. What about the connections with those real human beings who live in the house with you, or in the neighborhood near you, or from whom you buy your produce or clothes? And what good is a polyamory Intentional Community that’s virtual? I’d take the beautiful imperfection of one real human body over ten thousand coded avatars any day.

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