Mental health is a somewhat controversial issue in the communes, where mental health challenges sometimes flare up but it’s also claimed that communal living improves your mental health. I decided to put the issue out on Facebook.
As you might note, I only got four comments, but they were all detailed and thoughtful:
As they say, it’s complicated. Still, these are issues that need to be addressed in many communities. At what point is the community helpful and at what point does the individuals mental health threaten the community? There aren’t any easy answers but at some point many communities will need to deal with these issues.
I was thinking about Living Energy Farm’s rejection of Facebook and thought that I would begin the topic on our actual Facebook page with a question. Here’s what I wrote:
Yes, it’s a provocative, forced choice, but that’s what does well on Facebook. I was hoping for comments and I got a few. The first one was from me–I took the opportunity to explain my dilemma.
And several people did wrestle with the question. (Incidentally, for those not used to internet acronyms, YMMV stands for “Your Mileage May Vary”–meaning that this may affect different people in different ways.)
These are pictures from the Facebook feed, so don’t try to click on the links that Boone Wheeler sent.
I am always trying to think of provocative questions to write on our Facebook page. (It’s the nature of the beast–provocative questions generate more comments.) I started thinking about consensus. While I, personally, am a fan, I also know there are people who don’t think that it works. This is the question that I wrote on Facebook:
I got nine comments, which wasn’t bad–and over three hundred folks looked at it, so I would say that it did fairly well.
Here are the comments that we received. As you can see, people had feelings.
I will add that I have seen consensus work and suspect that when it doesn’t, it’s usually because it isn’t being done right–or folks are trying to use it to get advantage–or both.
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Every so often, for a Facebook post (because we are still on Facebook, every day), I ask a question. Sometimes, the question gets lots of views and lots of comments; sometimes there are very few views and very few comments. Of course, I try for the former and often try to figure out what went wrong when I get the latter.
And sometimes we get a decent number of views but few comments. I honestly don’t know why. Maybe it seemed intriguing at first glance, but not worth putting comments on. I really don’t know.
Here’s one that reached 252 people and got two comments–one of which was from us. I thought that it was a good question but apparently it didn’t provoke folks enough to comment–other than Dan Parelius. Here’s what I put on Facebook:
Is that such a confusing question? Here is the only real comment, plus Theresa’s response.
It’s true. We do want to understand better what people are looking for in community. I guess that sometimes they don’t want to tell us.
In early September, I had just reprinted on Facebook the piece I wrote here about the importance of relationships. I was looking for something to write the next day and decided to ask it as a question:
I got several comments and here are some of them. I particularly like the last one.
“You build relationships by showing up, even when it’s hard.” Yes, indeed.
So here is the next in my series of Facebook questions. Having lived in several types of communities (communes, co-ops, ecovillages, and at least one hybrid community) I noticed a re-occurring problem in all of them was caused by the fact that different people have different standards of cleanliness. Given that, how does a community set a standard. Here is what I wrote at the end of February:
While there weren’t a lot of responses to the question, I thought that what there was displayed the spectrum of where different people in the communes fall.
I realized that I never added my own comment–I will just say that at this point, I have decided that I am willing to clean up after people.
One of the differences between co-ops and communes that I often point out to folks is that co-ops have chores and communes have work. I believe that in a co-op living situation, everyone puts in a fee which they take from whatever they get from working outside the home. Since most people (and everyone in many co-ops) have outside work, the only way to get things like cleaning done is to make them chores.
In a commune, since all money is equal, the currency is the work you do, and all work is valued, money earning or not. So cleaning is just another type of work. I happily clean up after people because I view this as my job, just as other people are working hard doing other things to keep the commune going. If I start feeling resentful, I simply think of all the things that they are doing that benefit me, and I see all that I am doing as just another piece of that work. And I happily take on cleaning up the messes as the work that I have chosen to do.
For the last Facebook question that I posted on the regular Friday posts, I chose to skip ahead and do the one on communes as family. I decided to skip the one that I wrote for Valentine’s Day about couples in community. (Wow. Doesn’t February seem so long ago now? It really was a different world back then.)
So, as I return to reposting things from Facebook on this blog, I thought that I would start with that question, romantic roses and all:
I didn’t get a lot of responses, but here are a four of them:
I did wonder why I got so few responses, whether people were burning out on the questions (a format that I recently abandoned) or this was a subject that folks weren’t interested in, or maybe just didn’t want to touch. I think that it’s interesting that there were two positive responses, one that I would see as neutral, and then, only the last one, looked at how coupling can fracture a community.
You are also invited to respond. I am still curious about the pros and cons of couples in communes.