Heroes and the 5 year plan

The current group of planners (the communities highest executive decision makers) are trying to do some long term planning.  They have created a couple of rounds of surveys and in good commune style are bribing people to fill them out with cookies.  They cover a large number of topics: Sustainability, infrastructure, culture, raising quota, shrinking the hammocks business, recruiting more families, giving residences more autonomy and on and on.  For each topic you are asked to give both the  desirability and the priority.

So it is quite likely that there will be a number of people, who for example, want to get the roof of the Ta Chai Living Room (TCLR) fixed.  This roof is already leaking and the insulation is missing in several places.  This project will get both high importance and priority marks.  But it may well still not get done.

We run on an all volunteer system, so often times the difference between us collectively desiring something and it actually happening is there being a hero who wants to make it happen.   In the case of this example it need not necessarily be someone who can physically fix the roof, it can just be someone who wants it done and is willing to organize the work.

Sometimes you just need a hero

And at the same time we are rough on our heroes.  You can get appreciated for getting something desirable done, there are thanks and respect and those good things.  But there are also lots of concerns, and challenges and suspicions around people taking leadership roles.  You need to have the right kind of personality to make championing a cause work for you in this environment.

Deborah used to joke that we worked on a system of reluctant leadership at Twin Oaks.  Members did not really want to be managers, or planners or responsible for larger things.  And people took this on (reluctantly) because this is what the community needed.  And thus we were somewhat protected for the less noble motivations that many leaders are driven by.

And it mostly works that way.

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

7 responses to “Heroes and the 5 year plan”

  1. Michael Hobson says :

    So, is there no maintenance manager? I guess the leaking roof, along with my last visit to T.O., would lead me to believe there is not. Why wait until things fall apart and a hero is needed?

    • paxus says :

      Dearest Michael:

      it is not enuf to have a maintenance manager when you have 2 dozen old buildings. We have people who fix things and they are prized and appreciated and over worked and under supported.

      We wait because you can always put something off.

      Paxus at Twin Oaks
      12 Not Here 2012

      • Michael Hobson says :

        I agree that a maintenance manager is not enough, an entire maintenance crew is more like it. But, I guess that is more labor hours for everyone. I just finished Voices from The Farm and the building situation reminds me of a quote, “things that belong to everyone belong to no one.”

        I live in an old house and am always fixing things, upgrading, remodeling etc. It would be hard for me to watch things fall apart and do nothing about it. Perhaps I would be one of those people who fix things, although I can see getting quickly overwhelmed and just going with the flow.

        I’m re-reading A Walden Two Experiment, last time was in the 80’s. My first thought is of the contrast between a budding new community, constantly fixing and building and the current state of disrepair. But digging a little deeper, it is easy to see that culture developing, the one that doesn’t sweat the details. I suppose there will always be a balance, tipping too far one way or the other at times. Maybe that is just how things work when you have 100 different visions of utopia trying to coexist?

  2. paxus says :

    @Michael: We are certainly below the repair level that most people in the middle class would be unsatisfied with. Currently phones can only receive incoming calls – this would be considered unworkable in Babylon. This is sadly considered not that unusual here. And we have a sauna, a weight room, a stocked free clothing library, 17 vehicles which run almost all the time, a music room filled with instruments which are mostly lovingly tended.

    It is clear not true that things that belong to everyone belong to no one (tho our bike fleet suffers quite from this attitude). We have lots of examples of collectively owned, reasonably maintained things. And we have a tremendous number of things. We can live in run down buildings, but we are going to get 363 means out twice a day and over 4000 tofu shifts filled in a year.

    Paxus at Twin Oaks
    13 Not Here 2012

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