A Question of Size

This is the next in a long series that I’ve been posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth and the sixth and  the seventh, and, from last week, the eighth

At the very end of January, I posted this question that I have heard others talk about:

I don’t know if this really isn’t a subject that a lot of folks are concerned about or whether people are just getting burned out on so many questions, but there weren’t a lot of comments. However, I thought that the four comments that this question got, were interesting:

I realized that I (Raven) never responded to my own question. I will put my thoughts out here.

I agree with Theresa that a large network filled with communities of all sizes is ideal, because I think that different sized communities appeal to different people. I also think that there is such a thing as too small and, perhaps, too large.

First of all, I think that less than four people is not a community. Three people is often just a couple plus a friend, or possibly a three-some. I think that you need to have at least four folks to have a real community. (And sometimes, even then, it’s just two couples.) But I also think that having four or five members is still a very brittle community. If you lose one or two members, the entire community can be gone. (This is something that I have experienced and find it useful to think about. I think that I will post more about this on Monday.)

On the too large side is Dunbar’s number. I think that there is a reason that Twin Oaks has not quite reached a hundred adult members and many communes and communities fall far short of this. I know that Dancing Rabbit has talked about wanting to be a village of five hundred to a thousand people. As far as I know, after twenty years they have never had more than seventy people. They keep getting new people but I think that they are also losing folks at a similar rate.

I think that once you get to over a hundred people, it really seems less like a community and more like a village. I think that many people want the intimacy of smaller communities, even if they also want the diversity that is possible in larger communities.

Feel free to chime in, in a comment, if you have an opinion about the ideal size of a commune.

A Question of Size

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