Thursday, July 03, 2008

more thoughts on the Intentional Community concept

Bat had a really cool observation to make after reading my post about the Second Life Intentional Community.

We were discussing the fundamental differences between making a community in a virtual environment such as second life as opposed to the actual rendering of a physical community.

In Second Life, the differences between the two can be quite profoundly obvious of course and the group have battled through plenty of discussion on what these differences are and how we might actually DO the IC concept (as proposed by Dave and Steve) within the limitations of the Second Life metaverse.

Bat originally observed that the whole notion of using Second Life for this purpose, while not actually flawed as such - but is, however, kind of "silly" when we are paying real world money for the region and items used on the Perfect Paradise island!

Ostensibly, we "should" be aiming to be self-sufficient and using MINIMALIST economic practises ..aka very "simple" means to re-create the Intentional Community model. He always suggests boot-strapping the concept for being sustainable inworld, rather than just throwing real world pocket money at it - which makes the whole experiment a mere doddle and an entertainment rather than a serious attempt at learning a new way to relate to the world... a world....any world! In other words, we design, create, and generate our own items - and Linden Dollars - through our own collective and creative ingenuities!

But his words clicked with me today when he said that what the proposed Second Life model is supposed to do is to give those of us, involved in the process, a way of learning new ways to ADAPT to change both within and outside of Second Life.

With this in mind, it's very true that we cannot even begin to predict what kind of a real world future we are all facing as economies perhaps crash and burn around us and that real world life-styles, incomes, housing options and all the stuff we've taken for granted as being our "right", start to change and metamorphose into other things quite different from our current expectations and experiences!

What IF there were, suddenly, no bees to make honey in the world? What IF we lived in a world where our only real food options were rats and cockroaches? What IF we did indeed have to find caves to live in again because housing, as we currently understand it, was beyond our financial reach?

The notion of learning the attributes that make us able to adapt to changing fortunes, is the key to the Second Life experience. In there, the rules of engagement are almost alien and as such we need to develop ways of understanding how to cope with those differences both as individuals and as teams. Survival means learning to manage, adapt, be aware of and to change our approach to the given environment in which we find ourselves.

What we LEARN from each other within the Second Life IC will be how to integrate and develop those personal strengths, ideas and methods that will help us, as individuals and as a group, to be able to adapt better, to environments that are very different to our actual, current experience of life.

Second Life offers us an ideological platform for making these internal growth changes. By its design, it is an environment that is entirely "different" from the one we have always known. Things work differently, behave differently, have different outcomes and different coping requirements.

It is, however, in here that we can tell the stories that spring from our past, present and imagine the possibilities of our futures, so that we all learn from each other how we might be able to adapt to a changing world outside of Second Life.

It calls us to be honest, to have imagination, to be generous, to strip away all personal ego-centric goals, so that the spirit of intention is one of embracing diversity, simply and ethically, along with our human survival in mind. It calls for the absolute humility to embrace diverse cultures, beliefs and yet still find common grounds for developing loving and sustainable relationships. To learn what it is to be human and what is means to stay that way or evolve into something less or more! To learn how we cope and strategise for the unexpected and how we develop our own survival instincts, both as a group and as individuals.

It will teach us a lot in preparation for the time/times when real life presents us with very different situations we've not encountered before.

The intrinsic ability to adapt to these changes and survive them is the key to making the Second Life IC not only workable but also increasingly important.

It's not about learning how to make honey when we can no longer buy honey... that is only a part of the equation! It is, however, learning how we protect what bees we have now so we, (or our decendents), WILL have honey to make someday! It is also about learning what MIGHT we do if there were no bees in the world ever again! That's just one example of the discussions that could be possible for us.

The options for discussion and relationship have grown exponentially on the basis of this idea! At least for me anyway!

How we survive as individuals in the event of any potential cataclysmic event...good, bad or otherwise... is the key learning we need to make here. The ability to adapt to changing tides is a strength. Doing this adaptive processing as a group is another skill that requires much learning, patience, tolerance and experimentation.

Doing all this within the alien and obscure environment that is Second Life is our first challenge. It may seem idealistic, stupid, excessively fatalistic, or it may indeed be a small, winding track toward creating a new kind of Human Being! Time will tell!

To adapt is Human. To learn how to adapt is beyond being merely human!

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