Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Long way to Intentional "Community"

I'm a "sort of" member of an "intentional community" currently finding its way in Second Life. I am not really a full member as such as I deliberately stay on the side-lines, preferring not to get just "too" involved.

The community is experimenting in creating a virtual "tribe" of people who 1) want to live sustainably 2) want to build lasting commitments to people they love 3) want to practice 'Love, Conversation & Community'. I've been a full member of a very Intentional Community all my life... that being the Christian Church! Yes! That "silly old fashioned bunch of crackpots" called The Church IS an IC! A common purpose and a REASON to be together far beyond ourselves. The IC in Second Life has too many ideas, more rules than most churches and a lot of really different purposes for existing.

The Second Life IC a bit of a Utopian idea really and I admit to be more than a little sceptical as to its success. People tend to gather for strange reasons and this community is attracting diverse cultures from all corners of the globe, stretching the boundaries of such prosaic things as meeting times and authoritarian concepts. It's muddy, murky, silly, strange and kinda beautiful when you watch from slightly afar. I love the people...well most of 'em, but I shake my head and smile to myself a lot. I guess that makes me more arrogant than most of them put together. I must amend this haughty air I know!

Whilst I personally believe the IC, I'm toe-dipping into, is deeply flawed and will most likely fail in its purpose and goals... I watched an episode of "The Long Way Down" tonight on SBS Television.

Watching the 8 blokes all attempting to get along through some rather tricky goals was quite enlightening. This WAS an Intentional Community albeit not a permanent one! Eight very different men (and some girls behind the scenes too mind you), one vision, a unified team!

I've been musing this evening quietly in the back of my mind as I attend to other duties, wondering what it is about this IC that is so different from the one being attempted in SL.

I'm still at a bit of a loss but my hunch is that it's to do with Shared Purpose. There are no hidden agenda's, no personal ego's getting in the way, no misunderstanding each other and so on. Just one clear, unequivocal REASON for them to be together, learning how to get along to make a collective vision happen.

It's quite, quite different to the Second Life IC I'm currently watching from the edges. There is no real purpose to the group...not a definitive one that everyone clearly understands anyway. There is too much shoving and jockeying for authority among certain members and a LOT of general misunderstanding of the platform of SL itself as in its social dynamics and the reason people use it.

Now of course, a lot of this is my personal observations and it may well be that the SL/IC will be a rip roaring success despite its early birthing hurdles and I'll have to eat my arrogant hat for saying all this stuff. Honestly? I don't see a lot of success in the IC wind for this puppy. It will be nice to be wrong about that!

'The Long way down' is different I think. Very different in that this collective bunch of blokes that rarely have anything much to do with each other for the most part, who all come from different corners of the globe, who are all intrinsically different temperaments, they all seem to share a singular vision that is, well...pretty much identical for all of them.

The vision is to get Ewan and Charley to ride their motorbikes from the top of Scotland all the way down to Johannesburg in South Africa. That's it! That is THE purpose. It's clear. It's precise. It's do'able (they hope). It requires leadership but no actual defined "Boss" so there is no jockeying for a position. Everyone has a specific purpose on the team aligned with their specific skill set. Yes! All the various ego's are sometimes in conflict but they get over it and keep going and get along. They have a reason to BE together and because of that reason, they're learning to care about each other a very, very, very great deal!

SBS TV is televising the Long Way Down series on Wednesday evenings Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time at 20:30. You can watch entire episodes on the web each week after the show has aired on TV here. Just click the tab that says "Watch Full Episodes"

I highly recommend it. They squeeze an awful lot into each epi...and it can seem a little bit light on occasionally I'll admit. Still, tonight's episode (no. 3), really highlighted the commitment and camaraderie of this particular 'Intentional Community' very clearly for me.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Ha Michelle! Your comment shows the strength and weakness of IC. To the weakness.If you SEE a lack of VISION and DO NOTHING then you are just helping the cause of the ruling classes that piss themselves laughing over the fact the well educated cubicle slaves they utilise more hours a day than they pay them for could never be a threat to Business as Usual as they could not organise a piss-up in a brewery. You really gotta do better than this. We are looking at a major economical downturn and those with very little (you and me I guess) are going to have a lot less. This isn't a joke we are on the edge of mass starvation, and we have created a political system where we have signalled we don't care.