In Second Life, I have become involved in a tiny movement, of sorts, about socio-bio-political change through the concept of an Intentional Community.
I wrote just the other day on the notion of being "intentional" in our thinking and behaviours but I honestly wasn't thinking, specifically, at the time, about the Intentional Community as I wrote that post.
The Second Life Intentional Community at Perfect Paradise is a virtual experiment as a prelude to the establishment of a real world IC where people choose to come together to live, work, and play with very few "rules", as simply and with as little impact on the planet as possible.
Dave Pollard in How to Save the World, and Steve Hinton of Inventing for the sustainable planet (see links to both blogs below), are both involved in this experiment. Both men are passionate and devoted supporters of the need to develop new strategies and thinking that defy and move outside of current, standardised thought and behavioural processes, such as those espoused by government oligopolies and other fundamentalist organisations.
It is however very difficult to extrapolate most of the intentional characteristics of a real world Intentional Community into one in Second Life.
For one thing, Second Life by its very design makes such notions as physical living spaces, green design, ethical treatment of animals and the environment all moot. These things can only be talked about as theoretical ideas in discussions and conversations within the metaverse itself. The strength of Second Life is though, that people can converge in one place and DISCUSS all these ideas and develop a Community through Conversation.
Second Life offers all of us a glimpse into the possible systems of RELATIONSHIP THROUGH CONSENSUS that would perhaps define and would make (or break) a real world Intentional Community. It is in our very different individual temperaments, thoughts, beliefs, understanding, knowledge and experience that each of us will bring to the group through our relationships and conversations, ways in which extraordinary people can learn to live, work, play and re-design our lives with the whole planet in mind.
The other gift of Second Life is that people can come from entirely divergent real world cultures and locations bringing with them inherent customs and ways of relating that for most of us would be impossible to experience even in a physical commune arrangement.
For the likes of Dave and Steve, who are adamant that our current North World concepts of economy and consumerism - these being the traditional idealogical wellspring of individual wealth, prosperity and happiness - are coming to an abrupt end and that we need to totally rethink and rework these old philosophies so that we do things, not just smarter, but also more ethically for all life on the planet.
The INTENTION is to build small self-sustaining, emergent and loving communities that are not reliant on multi-national, despotic, consumer conglomerates for their daily bread!
And if that sounds completely idealistic and pie-in-the-sky...who knows? It either is or it isn't! It does not mean it's not worth a try eh? The whole truth and nothing but the truth is always a bit murky around the indefinable edges on very BIG ideas such as these. Cynical types will probably suggest we are all tree-hugging greenies who want everyone to move back into the caves and eat nuts and fruits! Well...it worked for a good number of people for a very long time so I guess its quite probable that some would suggest we would be better off doing that kind of lifestyle! But even then, I personally think we'd find ways of keeping the internet and the fridge!
The concept of IC isn't about trying to defeat technology as such...its about using it with as minimal effect as is possible on the planet. Yes! It's a line ball call sometimes, I agree, but the intentions are honorable in that they're about human survival for the generations to come - not just our own skins.
The point to all this though, is that there are people in the world, myself included, who DO understand that the way we are living currently, might be rather easy and comfortable but it is also a lifestyle that is coming at a rather exacting price - one we rarely see or calculate accurately. We all need to understand the nature of that price we are each paying for our pursuit of The Good Life - as we've come to understand that ideal so far.
It is men like Dave and Steve who are proposing theoretical and ideological dreams for what CAN be possible if we learn how to work together collaboratively in very different ways to what we have always known and taken for granted.
So, I invite those reading who are interested in building a virtual world community of very diverse people from around the real world globe, who are trying through concrete intention, to make it better for everyone, to come along to Perfect Paradise and enjoy good companionship, conversation and all the learning possibilities we've only just begun to consider.
*Gaia Blog about the Perfect Paradise IC in Second Life*
*Steve's Blog - Inventing for a sustainable planet.*
*Dave's Blog - How to Save the World*