Thursday, July 7, 2011

Community: Another Thing of Beauty

I've written a Dispatch from Menopausal Stoners for Worldwide Hippies wherein I used the Hippie Dippy Quaker Camp as an illustration of how we don't have to buy into the American celebration of the Individual at the expense of the Community (Dispatch from Menopausal Stoners: Interdependence)

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,, 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

The Farmhouse


Blogger Mr. Charleston said...

You go girl. Unfortunately, it's the same old story, same old song. It's always been a class war and as long as we have a consumerism/capitalism economic structure, so it will always be. But we're losing.

Like the video.

July 7, 2011 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Alexa said...

I like to think of a pending 'revolution' as an evolution of individuals into communal connection. Agreed with you that it's our home-bonds (those we're closest with, geographically and in the heart) which evolve us.

I'm dismayed beyond belief that Social Security and Medicare are on the congressional chopping block. Seems to me that Obama's penchant for what he seems to think of as 'bipartisanship' looks more like he's caving to one outrageous demand after another. I wouldn't want to stand in his shoes for anything ... and where's his backbone? (Does my perception make sense?)

July 7, 2011 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Mr. C, I just don't want to go silently into that good night.
Glad you enjoyed Dennis' video. You should check out his site sometime. There's a woman doing Horoscopes who is brilliant and hilarious.

Jaliya - of course it makes sense, and it's exactly what we're all thinking. In THIS community anyway.
And I totally believe that as fucked up as "society" is, there are lots and lots of beautiful people reaching for each other all the time. I'm glad we reach each other.

July 7, 2011 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger VV said...

The wildflowers in the middle are gorgeous! I think stepping back from the larger community, and going to the smallest, closest community helps me not feel so overwhelmed. In my smallest community, I am surrounded by like-minded people all wanting change, progress and willing to discuss ideas and work toward a better world. Every now and then I step outside this small community, see the vast prairie of insanity and reach out to others stuck "out there" and invite them in. Maybe by building our smallest, most intimate communities larger, there will be enough of us to affect change out there.

July 7, 2011 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

Oh...I love the wild flowers.

July 8, 2011 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

I expect that at the end of the day, it's the best any of us can do. Maybe the world will never, ever change - but at least we'll feel good about our time here.

Granny, I love YOU

July 8, 2011 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Cali said...

The state of our Union makes me want to vomit. It is now ALL about creating more and more corporate wealth so that the very few at the top of each corporate ladder may continue to get richer and richer and richer. There is no such thing as "enough" for any of them. There is only "gimme MORE." What's worse, the damn Teabaggers don't even realize that they are merely fighting the battles of the super-rich FOR THEM. As are our own soldiers, but that's a different battle-- sort of.

The government wants us to believe that we are fighting a "war on terrorism," but what we are really doing is fighting a war FOR oil and FOR the military industrial complex. After all, how can Halliburton's executives, et al, keep getting their multi-million dollar bonuses if they can't sell even more bombs than they did last year?

Like I said, it all makes me want to vomit. Yet, it's only the tip of the oligarchy iceberg and it seems that only a very small percentage of American citizens has any idea that this is what's actually happening. It makes me glad to know I'm not going to live long enough to see it at its worst.

July 10, 2011 at 12:57 AM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Cali, you and my blogging buddy Woody Konopeli share a distinctly similar point of view. I'm pretty sure that's why he's been smoking weed full time for more than 30 years ;)

July 11, 2011 at 10:15 AM  

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