General Question

Hobbes's avatar

Would you live in this community?

Asked by Hobbes (7368points) November 2nd, 2011

Anyone may enter or leave the community at any time.

All members of the community are responsible for the lives of all members of the community.

Local groups within the community agree to help produce food and shelter for every person in that group, and the wider community agrees to share food in the event of a local shortage.

All members of the community also agree to share fresh water as well as medical supplies and expertise when needed.

Every human group is part of an ecosystem of other organisms, both local and global.

Plants and animals cannot use language to agree to community membership, but they can feed and otherwise help us and we can in turn become responsible for their lives.

Though we end the lives of the animals whose meat we eat, we must care for the living as we would for anyone else in the community.

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49 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Sounds like my cup of tea.

bkcunningham's avatar

Sounds like a commune.

Hobbes's avatar


Sort of. I’m just trying to figure out a way to feed everybody without fucking everything up. The idea is that there could be an interconnected network of communities, which could grow organically.

Coloma's avatar

Sure. But, my interests lie in retirement communal living now.

I want to buy 20 acres and set up a mini micro retirement community of likeminded 50+ seniors. Old hippie types that want re=do from the 60’s and 70’s idealism. :-D

I’‘m head goose herd and happy brownie/ soup maker, what can you offer?

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I would love that.

gailcalled's avatar

I couldn’t live in a community that killed and ate living creatures.

bkcunningham's avatar

I want to be the muse. Just feed, cloth and house me and I’ll give you words of wisdom.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m just curious, when one memebr does not live up to their obligations of the community, what do you do with him? Cast him out?

YARNLADY's avatar

In the community I lived in, we would use a procedure similar to shunning. We would simply not rely on the person for anything, not include him/her in any group activities, let h/h sit alone at meals, and simply exclude h/h. Before long, they would leave of their own accord.

I say similar to shunning, because we did not totally ignore them, but simply did not include them in anything.

King_Pariah's avatar

No, I have to admit I am extraodinarily selfish. I only help others if what they need help with or the system through which I help them interests me, amuses me, or has some sort of deep meaning for me. Such a commune provides nothing of the sort for me. Also it feels too… static for me.

Hobbes's avatar


I’m not mandating it for anybody, and I imagine there would be many vegetarian groups, but I don’t feel we can prohibit people from eating meat.


I don’t know. What @YARNLADY describes could work, and it could get more serious if people stopped giving food to the person in question. In the event that someone actively causes harm as opposed to just not fulfilling their obligations, I think the focus has to be on repairing damage and protecting the victim rather than on punishment of the perpetrator, though exclusion from the community would probably be necessary in some cases.


Well, what it provides is the things you need to live. You don’t have to join, and you can leave any time you want. You can also enter or leave individual groups within the community if you can’t deal with a particular set of people for whatever reason. Other than the need for you to help produce food and help others if their lives are threatened, and the restriction that you may not harm humans or the ecosystems that sustain us, you can do anything you want. Helping to produce food wouldn’t take up anywhere near all your time, and in your leisure time you wouldn’t have to worry about where your next meal was coming from.

lillycoyote's avatar

While I certainly admire your idealism, and I hate to be cynical, but if you can get human beings to cooperate, care for one another, each bear his or her fair share of the workload and share their resources with one another then you will have accomplished something that no human being or group or force of any kind has managed to accomplish in the entire history the the human race.

King_Pariah's avatar

What can I say? Pyromaniac and lover of fast cars and big trucks (though diesel is showing promise of being far more efficient than gaso-bleh-line), you’re crimping on my style.

Hobbes's avatar


I know. There are two things I think might get us to this point. One is the pressure of the converging crises we are facing. The other is the widespread acceptance and use of psychedelic drugs. Or maybe we’ll all have a spontaneous spiritual awakening.


I don’t expect to convince everyone, but if you ever need food, this idea will still be there.

JLeslie's avatar

I think I would not live in this particular community, but I like the idea of a commune style type of lifestyle. This one sounds a little too idealistic to me. Does the community have money, or some sort of something for payment of a service? Like the communities that trade one hour of work for a point (it is not a point, but I cannot remember what it is) and then a person can use their point to buy another service, but all services are equal? So a dentist can perform work for a point and then buy sailing lessons with it? The services are all equal, but there is still a way to keep track of how much effort a person has put in. If they do less, they get less, but they can still live in the community.

EmptyNest's avatar

At the very least, it sound like a post-bomb, last resort way of living…perhaps, doing it right this time. ?

Hobbes's avatar

The thing is, I don’t think the services of a dentist and a sailing instructor are equal. If you have serious dental problems, for example a tooth infection, your survival is endangered if you don’t get help from a dentist. Similarly, if we don’t eat or drink water, we die. I think the only answer is to make life-sustaining services free to everyone in the group.

I think the level of work done by individuals could be socially regulated. That is, if everybody in a given group spent the same part of their day working in the garden, it would be obvious if somebody was seriously slacking off, and people would talk to them/shun them depending on how bad it was.


Yeah, I seriously doubt Industrial Civilization is going to turn off its engines and do this instead. The wave must crest before it will fall. But I think what I like so much about this idea is that it doesn’t require everybody to do it at the same time. Communities could grow organically as people decided to join, and if pressure increased I think a lot of people would. I believe pretty much everybody in the “Third World” would jump at this in a moment.

rojo's avatar

Is this Pandora without the Corporation?

JLeslie's avatar

@Hobbes I can probably get on board with life sustaining things being free to everyone I think. It is sort of like how Singapore has public housing for something like 80% of its population. The leader who decided to enact it way back when believed that if the citizenry has shelter they can focus on being productive.

DrBill's avatar

sounds a lot like Pandora to me, but I’m ready to go

zensky's avatar

I have, and I do.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Hobbes LOL. I can’t think of a better way for the world to deal with the converging crises of our era than with the mass consumption of hallucinogens. :-)

Sunny2's avatar

Sounds like an attempt at Utopia. Any group that is willing to try that is certainly worth considering, but I don’t think I could pull my weight any more. I don’t think they would accept me.

Hobbes's avatar


The solutions are already here. We know what we have to do. The only obstacle is within us.

Drugs like LSD aren’t really hallucinogens because they don’t make you hallucinate in the sense of seeing things that aren’t there. They are catalysts for consciousness.


Even if you are physically unable to help with the physical work of producing food, there are other ways you could help.

ETpro's avatar

@Hobbes Sign me up, Where exactly is Utopia from Boston’s North Station?

Hobbes's avatar


In between your ears.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Hobbes Thanks for the correction, little one. You will have to forgive an old lady who came of age in a simpler time, when we generally referred to things like LSD, Peyote, Mescaline, Psilocybin, MDA, MDMA, DMT and other miscellaneous mind altering drugs, including the ones that were only ever manufactured in the chemistry labs of the college I attended, simply by the generic term “hallucinogen.” :-)

Hobbes's avatar


“Psychedelics” hadn’t caught on yet?

lillycoyote's avatar

@Hobbes LOL. The word hallucinogen was more fun to say; we just liked the way it rolled off the tongue. :-)

Hobbes's avatar

I can dig that ;-)

Blackberry's avatar

That sounds great…...but can we swap partners?

LuckyGuy's avatar

How does the community handle a member who only takes but does not give? Or someone who takes more than their share? Or does not participate in the work?

Are they voted off the island? Or do they become food?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@zensky You wrote “I have, and I do.”

How does your community handle the above situations? Do you make the admission to the community selective to exclude such people?
If not discouraged and there are no negative consequences, the bad behavior of one person can potentially spread to others. How is that situation handled?
Does the community continue to support an able-bodied person who spends the day watching TV, or the clouds, and contributes nothing?

lillycoyote's avatar

@YARNLADY I’m hoping that shunning was used only as an absolute method of last resort, when all other attempts to bring the person in line with the values of the community had failed and when the person had been asked to leave and refused; because shunning is hardly enlightened, is downright cruel and if used as an alternative to simply asking the person to leave, is cowardly and shows that no one in the community, or the community as a whole, had the balls to simply kick the person out.

LostInParadise's avatar

At my age, I would be more interested in @Coloma‘s retirement community. I could help with the community Web site and demonstrate the beauty of math to anyone interested.

There are many intentional communities that function in the way you describe. I visited one, Acorn community. They were vegetarian, raising most of the their own food. The meals they prepared were very simple yet very tasty. The site says that their oldest member is 62. At the time I visited, almost everyone was between 20 and 30, so that it had the feel of a place where one spent a few years and then moved on.

Although they do not mention it on the site, Acorn is a splinter group of Twin Oaks, which I did not get to visit, but which seems to have a more permanent group of residents.

rojo's avatar

@Sunny2, @worriedguy. “From each according to his ability; to each according to his work”

Hobbes's avatar


In the event that someone does not fulfill their responsibility to the community, or actively causes harm, the focus must be on repairing any damage and on helping and protecting any victims, not on punishing the perpetrator. In some cases, it may be necessary to partially or completely, temporarily or indefinitely exclude a person from the community, but only if everyone else in that group agrees this must be done. Violence must never be used to punish violence.

zensky's avatar

@worriedguy There are general assemblies – and votes.

Ron_C's avatar

No, sounds boring and I don’t like to muck our stalls.

YARNLADY's avatar

@lillycoyote It only happened once, so I suspect a last resort is the proper description. We were a community of about 200 at the peak, and 40 – 50 most of the time. People drifted in and out. If they found what they wanted, they stayed, if not, they left.

lillycoyote's avatar

@YARNLADY Thank you. For clarifying that.

Pheasant's avatar

Seems like hell on Earth to me.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@zensky So if a capable, but intentionally lazy person does nothing but demand food and services, is he/she voted off the island by the general assembly?

zensky's avatar

It’s more complicated than that. Let’s just say it’s more regimental – most would be forced to fall back in line. Look at Fluther e.g. – it’s a private club on the web. You want to say Fuck you, asshole @so and so – but you can’t, right? You’ll get modded, warned and then suspended and banned. Ultimately, those who stay here stick to the rules. In a commune, it is similar – except it’s real life, work and everyone is dependent on each other. Your initial philosophy is not to revolt and rebel. It’s for harmony.

poopnest's avatar

Yes. It would be like living in a tribe and the Native Americans had is right from the beginning.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

It just seems the same system we are living in now, only the one described above is more intimate—which might encourage more personal and community responsibility. It reminds me of some small islands I have lived on, like Dominica and other small, potentially self-sufficient democratic republics. They work out OK, if left alone.

I’d give it a shot. It could be very interesting for a while and there might be some important life lessons. Interdependency necessitates patience, conscientiousness, magnanimity, and a whole lot more. It may be an opportunity to shine in a smaller gene pool. And if I don’t like it, I can always leave. Sounds OK to me.

Hobbes's avatar

Yeah, the idea is that people would naturally form family and friendship groups, who support each other and are also supported by the wider community when in need.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

That sounds like a great community to me, but I might be afraid of being judged if the others don’t feel like I measure up for some reason or other. I like doing things because I want to, not because I feel obligated to. Some things sound better on paper. This might be one of those things, at least for me.

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