At the Hippie Dippy Quaker Camp, they did not celebrate independence day. They had INTERdependence day complete with fiddles and a Contra dance to emphasize the notions of Stewardship, Sustainability and Community. It's a simple concept that can be applied in any number of environments - not just an idyllic place created with the specific intention of nurturing the life of the spirit in community like a pod of organic farms in a valley in Vermont.
We create little communities of our own where ever we are. In the subway, for example, when some random person starts making a speech and you share a smile with a stranger, you've created community. I'm pretty sure that establishing human connections is just about the only way to sustain ourselves through the Decline of the American Empire - or The Dark Times, as I like to think of it. We're up to our ass in The Dark Times now, if the government is any indication, and as we move forward into an election cycle filled with Teabagging Clowns like Michele Bachman, it's only getting worse. The thing is, though, that it's only awful when you look at stuff like American Exceptionalism.
Dennis Trainor, Jr discusses American Exceptionalism in this short video which ends with an invitation to join a specific community, October2011.org, Stop the Machine!
I may actually attend this event. It's right at the beginning of school, which is a tricky time for me, but I think I can swing it. Chris Hedges, Cornell West, Bill Moyers, The Yes Men, Tikkun and The Punk Patriot are all pledged to attend, and I want to be a part of that community.
The other day, I was talking with a friend and said something about spending the morning working on The Revolution. He expressed some doubt that a revolution will ever come. I said, "Maybe not, but it won't be because I didn't get off my ass." I have a feeling that it's too late to stop the machine, that the scales have tipped and the world is sliding into serious Idiocracy. So be it. But as long as we're living, we still need the human connection - the shelter and support we find in Community or Fellowship, if you will.
That brings me back to The Hippie Dippy Quaker Camp, Farm & Wilderness as it's known in real life. When Velvet started going there years ago, I had my first experience with Silent Meetings and was impressed enough to start researching Quakers. There are meetings for business and meetings for fellowship - and the same guidelines apply in both. When somebody has something to say, everybody listens and nobody speaks for a few minutes afterward so that the comment can be fully appreciated. If somebody has a response, s/he doesn't say, "Mr.Bill is Wrong," or "I agree with Mr.Bill." If you have to reference the comment at all, you say something like, "While I was listening to Mr. Bill, I thought _________________," because it's not about Mr. Bill or about You. It's all about the idea and finding resolution or consensus.
Imagine a classroom or a conference room where individuals came together in fellowship to discuss issues respectfully and thoughtfully. It will never happen in Congress, for sure, where people come together to stuff their wallets - but it can happen in small groups here, there and everywhere. I'll call that Thing of Beauty #14-101. For me, it just happened to be at a farm in Vermont - Thing of Beauty #15-101.
Meeting Spot at Tamarack Farm