I want to explain why I feel strongly about community and collaboration and why I proposed that Elderventure organise a series of workshops for us to learn about different models of collaborative living and techniques of how to apply them.
Human beings are an odd mixture of angel and devil. We are one of the few species on the planet who can be consciously kind to other species, the environment and the planet. On the other hand our unique ability to hypnotise each other with ideas like "Growth is Necessary" and "Greed is Good" mean that we are raping the planet and on track for total ice-melt and 100ft sea level rise with vast areas of the planet being made uninhabitable. Drinking water is running out, droughts will be commonplace and the aquifers are emptying. Basically, for a species that can't control its greed, there are far too many of us. The fragile 'civilisation' we live in is not sustainable.
So I see, not far ahead, a dramatic collapse of civilisation rolling towards us like a tsunami that is almost invisible as it crosses the ocean but rises up without warning as it reaches land and drowns everyone in its wake. The wave of refugees from climate change and water shortage will dwarf the present tragedy of two or three million war refugees. Literally billions of humans will be desperately searching for new places they can live in a land mass that shrinks as the seas rise.
Maybe the politicians in power also see this vision and are preparing for it by closing down borders and creating regulation systems to tightly control their populations.
I see three ways this can turn out:
Digital Dictatorship: This is already happening in China where powerful Artificial Intelligences with face recognition technology and 200,000,000 CCTV cameras will, by 2025, be keeping watch on everyone and "keeping everyone safe". However, this also means that people with creative ideas, those who disagree with the government and those who are unusual in any way will be locked out of the system and effectively silenced. Click here to see how this is actually happening. The UK is close behind. The only countries that have more surveillance of their populations than us are North Korea and China.
Mad Max: The formation of protective strongholds by the rich, the powerful and the strong. Everyone else is a threat and will probably be killed if they try to break in. This would be the worst side of ancient tribalism but with powerful weapons that can defend against hordes of desperate people. In a way, Trump is modelling the Mad Max model, trying to turn the USA into a huge stronghold.
Cooperative localism: Local communities learning the difficult task of being truly collaborative. This means being really generous, unattached to possessions, valuing others and caring for consequences. If incoming refugees are welcomed and valued then there is a chance that local communities could be sustainable without having to defend their borders. But this requires real spiritual development. It's hard work to let go of fear, of protection and of one's personal property. There are a few communities around the world who are experimenting with ways of living together that are not based on hierarchy, status and wealth and there are several visionary models that show how collaboration and community could work. But they require us to work on ourselves and to practice collaboration in our daily lives now.
As should be obvious I hope for the third but it needs preparation, One of the problems about past revolutions such as the French Revolution and the Russian Communist Revolution is that, although the aims of the revolutionaries were excellent, they themselves hadn't changed. So after the revolution succeeded they really had no idea how to BE what they preached and society just reverted to the old way but with different people at the top.
There is a movement growing for uprising of people in the west to resist the domination of the banks, multinationals and the corrupt political class. I applaud these people who want to act in a non-violent but determined way to make change, But I also see the need for prior training. If we succeed in helping the old system to implode then there has to be something positive to take its place or else the Mad Max scenario will be the only option that people can see.
This is my motivation for proposing the series of "Collaboration Workshops" in Frome that Elderventure is sponsoring.
Last year we hosted a weekend workshop on the Eight Shields Model of Regenerative Community, which showed a really inspiring and practical way in which all ages and capacities of a community could be equally valued.
This year we have invited Daniel Körner to give a one day introduction to the Dragon Dreaming model of Collaborative Organisation which shows how projects can work without hierarchy and with care and value for all participants and for the environment.
The Dragon Dreaming workshop is next Saturday 3rd November at the Bennett Centre in Vicarage Street. Our aim on this day is to develop the primary techniques of Dragon Dreaming collaboration and to use them to support one of the community projects already happening in Frome.
To enquire further or reserve a place on this day, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more about Dragon Dreaming and see more details of the course CLICK HERE