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garyww
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02 Feb 2009, 3:20 pm

In reality very few communes are cults and very few have any leader or form of govenment and some I know of are totally populated by women with no men in the community at all. Everything comes in all types of flavors for all types of people and that's what makes living so interesting.


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poopylungstuffing
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02 Feb 2009, 5:08 pm

I don't live in a commune, but have bordered on living in a collective for several years now.
I wouldn't mind it being a bit more collective, so that there would be more people to divide the work among, and possibly some of the bills.....if we could find more people who felt like they could blend in with our way of living and not clash too much with us.

I have liked to refer to our way of life as an autonimous dictatorship, since my partner and I pay the bills and are on the lease and um..ultimately have the final word in things..but are not really very strict.

At the old SHFL, my partner and I lived with our roomates who were band members and expected to take care of chores. Our handyman, and another guy who also worked at our other business lived in a house that almost adjoined. There were others, like the girlfriends of our drummer who would always end up shacking up with him, but would seldom help out with the chores, and who I seldom got along with.

That is about as communal as I have ever been.



garyww
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02 Feb 2009, 7:44 pm

It sounds typically communal. Sometimes people have ideals that do not match reality but sometimes reality is much better in the long run.


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LKL
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02 Feb 2009, 10:33 pm

Ticker wrote:
Someone posted the link about "The Farm" community. If you read some of their articles they speak about six-marriages and that women are expected to sleep with more than one man. Also the dictate that men do physical labor and women have to make babies and cook and clean for all the men. Also everyone is expected to be vegetarian. Nothing was said about free choice to do as one believes as far as whether they want to have sex or not, who they want to have it with and what kind of work they want to do. They can call themselves enlightened but they are no more than communists in my opinion because all they do is control people. However the whole idea behind communes will not work unless some leader controls all the others, otherwise people would just sit back and do nothing all day.


I trained in Aikido with and became close friends with a young woman who was born on 'The Farm.' She was both very normal and very different: normal in that she wasn't twisted or psychotic,and had never been abused; different in that she couldn't care less about fashion trends and had her own individualistic, quirky style and was quite counter-culture in many ways (especially wrt. modern evidence-based medicine, which is where most of her disagreements with me originated). She left the commune to attend college in her 20's (graduated a couple of years ago and went on to pursue a master's), and last I heard was back on the Farm happy as a clam.

I don't know where you're getting your ideas about that place, but no one is forced into sexual relationships that they don't want. Being vegetarian is simply de riguer for most counter-culture communities. I don't think that I'd want to live there myself, but based on what I've heard second-hand, it's definitely not the hell-hole you're describing.



Ticker
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03 Feb 2009, 1:31 pm

LKL wrote:
I don't know where you're getting your ideas about that place, but no one is forced into sexual relationships that they don't want. Being vegetarian is simply de riguer for most counter-culture communities. I don't think that I'd want to live there myself, but based on what I've heard second-hand, it's definitely not the hell-hole you're describing.


Like I said I simply clicked around on The Farm's website and read articles they had posted about themselves. That is where I read about the six-marriage and sex beliefs.

I don't understand your friend though going to college only to return to The Farm. Why go to college if all you're going to do in life is live on a commune? I mean what did she need the extra knowledge for?



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03 Feb 2009, 3:32 pm

Just because she lives on the commune doesn't mean that she does nothing but sit around in the sun naked all day, and have sex with six different men all night (she just got married, btw). I'm still in contact with her over facebook; the farm is her *home,* not her *career.*



MrMisanthrope
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27 Feb 2009, 4:37 pm

There are 2 seperate ideas when it comes to intentional communities...

One is the stereotypical "commune" and the other is a geolocated aggregation of individuals with one or more binding features.

The Free State Project in New Hampshire would be the most extreme variant of the latter. A small agrarian town surrounding a single communal house of worship would be more typical.

I think that as Aspies the ideal would be more similar to the second meme and somewhere between the Johnsons of Rockridge and the Freeholders of the FSP...


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hartzofspace
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01 Mar 2009, 6:23 pm

I'm not sure if where I am living would be called an intentional community, but from the ad in the paper that I responded to, the manager of the rental houses had a list of things he was looking for in tenants. That being said, he also pointed out that he wouldn't turn any one away if they didn't meet all the criteria. One of the things he didn't want was smokers, but there are smokers living here. They are asked to smoke outside the house. Also, he desired that people be on the same page politically, and care about recycling, composting, and things like that.

The reality is that I feel the same strain here, that I would living anywhere else. My Aspieness makes me stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes l feel paranoid, because I am never sure what's behind that neighbor's smile. Or that neighbor's failure to smile. As I read about those other places, I know that I wouldn't be able to bear all of that enforced socialization. NT's like living in each other's pockets, but I would hate it if I felt like isolating (decompressing) for a couple of days, and have people view me as weird and potentially dangerous. It's happened before, many times. While the idea of being part of an intentional community appeals in some ways, I am sure it couldn't work for me in the long run, since I have never been good at conforming. Just a thought.


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alba
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02 Mar 2009, 8:06 pm

As far as I can tell....
the secret of group living is to ensure anonymity.
anonymity def. ..the quality or state of being anonymous.

Anonymity means everyone pretty much minds their own business....But at the same time cares about each other. Individual members split up the responsibilites among themselves as fairly as possible. This allows for maximum freedom among members to do whatever they need for enabling their own health and happiness. Group responsibilities need to be broken down into well defined tasks and preferably posted where everyone can see them. It is wise to have a community charter to address communal issues such as the following:

Dirty dishes. It doesn't matter who dirtied the dishes. People aren't required to wash their own dishes. If you do, it won't count against you...but it won't get you out of your turn either....However if you ALWAYS wash ALL your dishes and do so immediately after dirtying them...exceptions can be made but this is entirely up to the other members of your community and there are no guarantees.

Unpaid bills. This is the most important thing requiring personal responsibility. However there is no rule that says someone else isn't allowed to cover for you. Same with the dishes. Others can wash for you. All that matters is that the dishes get washed every couple days or so and the bills are paid on time. In groups that work....it's an unwritten law that some people will do more than their fair share and others will do absolutely the bare minimum. This is okay. This is as good as it gets. People refusing to do the minimum must be asked to leave, no matter how popular or narcissistic they are.

Spats. When people fight... there needs to be personal responsibility here too and it must be clearly spelled out. One or two people continually disrupting group harmony will probably be asked to leave.

Pets. It's better not to have them...but this is unrealistic. If you got a pet, you clean up after it. And if your pet gets on too many nerves, it will have to go.

Kids. Kids have rules. They have to behave. All adults have the power to discipline kids unless they show they are unfair or abusive. Abusive adults should be asked to leave.

Drugs. It is hard to regulate drug usage without weekly meetings. Better to have no recreational drugs...but again that is mostly unrealistic. I personally hate cigarettes more than drugs, and would put them in the category of drugs. Anything relating to recreational drugs needs group consensus, preferably unanimous. You don't want the police busting up your community for drugs, fights, or noise.

Food wars. When you buy food and someone else eats it, you don't know who ate it and rarely will the culprit fess up. So it is really best to have as much of the food as possible be purchased by the "house". Anyone gets to eat house food. When someone is always eating more than their fair share, this has to be addressed in a special group meeting. A slight surcharge is a good solution and usually works...but not always. Food is a really really important topic when it comes to group living. Everything revolves around food and meals. The only thing more important than food is anonymity. And there is nothing more important than anonymity. Anonymity is like love. It is the glue that holds together a group living situation and enables it to run smoothly without ruffling any feathers.



That's about it. Hope it wasn't too long..



Last edited by alba on 03 Mar 2009, 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

MrMisanthrope
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02 Mar 2009, 11:32 pm

alba wrote:
As far as I can tell....
the secret of group living is to ensure anonymity.
anonymity def. ..the quality or state of being anonymous.

Anonymity is the opposite of personal responsibility. ... etc...


This is why the you don't want to live in a "group" but an aggegation of responsible individuals...


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Riversong
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17 May 2009, 10:50 am

I have lived in intentional communities for about 25 years. Even though I have AS, I want to be with people. The last two intentional communities I have been involved with (including Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, to which I currently belong) have many members who are quite accepting of those who are not just like everyone else.

At one time I even belonged to a "controlling organization" (borderline cult). In none of these communities was I ever pressured to have sex. In fact, the controlling organization required that men and women be separate at most times, which was frustrating for me, since I like the topics that men generally talk about.

I find it easier to be in community because I get to know the other members, and so they become much less scary than seeing people I barely know all the time. With familiarity, quite of few of them even become friends, or at least people that I am somewhat happy to see. I also find it helpful that there are norms of behavior that I can learn to help me get along.

Even in the controlling organization there were actual classes (mandatory attendance) that taught how to get along with others. I still find some of the principles helpful. In the last two communities there have been offered (voluntary attendance) teachings and practice groups about a form of communication called "non-violent communication" (NVC) or "compassionate communication." Although the principles of NVC are hard for me to learn to do, they make sense. I believe learning NVC has enabled me to communicate better, and thus get more of my needs met.



reginaterrae
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22 May 2009, 8:52 am

I thought for a long time that I wanted to enter a convent, but once I had finally found the "perfect" community (a farm, 400 acres, smart, strong, interesting women, good liturgy), I realized that community living itself would be hell for me. Not enough opportunity for solitude, and I really NEED solitude, lots of it. It's a shame, though, because it would be awesome to have a community of people, with some fundamental shared values and goals, who could complement each other's strengths and weaknesses (someone's good with finances, someone can handle corporate communication with the outside world, both those things stress me out -- I'd love to work in the kitchen or with the livestock). I just ... I don't know. Stressed alone (having to make a living alone), stressed with people.



Riversong
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23 May 2009, 11:34 am

The need for peace and quiet is a challenge some days. I have been very open about my diagnosis, and many here have helped me in one way or another. I am building my own home, so I will have a place to be alone. Right now it is hard, because I do not yet have my own kitchen. I cook in the community kitchen, which is very crowded at times, since the community is growing. I try to be in the kitchen during slow periods. If it is too noisy and crowded, I leave. Also I sometimes eat food that does not require cooking. The situation is temporary and will improve when I have my own kitchen. I do not attend community meals unless I am up for it. Often I enjoy it, sometimes I leave. If I really desire solitude, I do not attend community meals at all. I can eat in my cabin, although it is very small.

I get enough solitude at other times, working alone or with just one other person (a close friend) on my house. No group activity is really mandatory here, so I could be alone all the time if I wanted. However, there are activities that I want to have in my life, such as the parties or group activities with other community members, which I find I enjoy because I am familiar with most or all of the people there and I know they accept me. Furthermore, I am always free to leave.

Even so, if I had opted to be alone all the time during the process of becoming a member, I would probably have been refused membership. This is a community, after all, and there is a desire that members support it. I have learned how to be in community (although I still make mistakes). Perhaps my AS is not very severe. I do know that I have really worked on getting along with people for decades, though. For me, being in the right community is easier than living elsewhere. This is part of the counterculture; people here are open to different ways of thinking and being.

I have lived in "the mainstream" at intervals. I find it lonely and empty now that I have lived in community. There are communities where I would not be happy, but I did not join them, or did not remain. I am fairly happy here, as happy as I would be anywhere else, and certainly happier than I would be in some situations. Having AS can be hard. Some of the people here have really made life better for me. Because the environment, community, and living sustainably are really important to me, I work with my AS traits in order to maintain my connections with this group of people.



hartzofspace
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23 May 2009, 3:01 pm

Riversong, that is awesome!


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Aili
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27 May 2009, 4:03 am

(www dot ic dot org) has a good list of forming and already existing groups.

I think there must be a lot of misinformation about Intentional Communities. Most nowadays are non-income sharing. And the majority of eco-villages are mind-blowingly expensive.

Quote:
I find it easier to be in community because I get to know the other members, and so they become much less scary than seeing people I barely know all the time. With familiarity, quite of few of them even become friends, or at least people that I am somewhat happy to see. I also find it helpful that there are norms of behavior that I can learn to help me get along.


these are good points. i think you also mentioned that people that join these people tend to be *active* thinkers -- willing to think out of the box.

I think that in general, ICs are good for those on the spectrum. I doubt there are really so many of us that really *wants* to be completely isolated. Have the framework there is nice. I know if i don't have someone physically nearby that i fall into depression really quickly. Also, i have kids so i helps that they have someone besides me to be around. Because i just can't really do daily playgroups and such.