[My original posting of this story had some details incorrect about the specifics of the accident which have now been corrected.]
There are definitely things which happen differently on the commune than they do in the mainstream. This is in part because there are some fairly extraordinary persons living here, one of whom is my dearest friend Shal.
Yesterday night Shal was walking out of the wood shop at night and someone had left a half done project with a 3′ x 3′ piece of sheet metal leaning against a 2′ metal box in the regular path of walking, which was obscured in the darkness outside the shop. Shal walked into the sheet metal, fell and his chin/throat was caught by the top of sheet metal jutting up from the box, cutting him. He spent half the night in the emergency room. Very fortunately the cut did not sever any nerves, arteries, or even veins; so no serious damage. It could easily have been far worse.
When i saw Shal he was clear in his upset. It was not directed at the irresponsible member who left these dangerous object around. Instead he was upset with our culture which permits this type of on-going hazard. He is very pragmatic in his emotional expression. He wants to channel his upset into useful action and he has an action plan. He is going to go to the wood shop every night and make sure this path is free from these types of dangerous obstructions.
Shal was clear that this person is not the problem despite that their action nearly very seriously injured Shal. In this sense his anger was oddly indirect. He intentionally never named the person who was at fault, he was clear that he did not want their mistake to be punished in anyway, even by damaging their reputation.
And i cant help but think, in this strange way, Shal has a lesson for all of us.
I think living communally makes people become extraordinary because it encourages you to see the community before yourself, or at least as an extension of yourself. The mainstream “me first” or “all mine” way of thinking is all kinds of messed up. Glad Shal is ok
I dunno, lately I am seeing a lot of the “all mine mine mine mine” thinking being accepted and even encouraged in some members here at Green Acres. A terrible reality to face in utopiaville. And as much as I love Shal, I wonder about this other person. If we are not confronted with our mistakes, and allowed to respond and rectify them, isn’t any chance to accept personal responsibility being taken away? Is policing the woodshop every night a burden that Shal should have to take on? Unless he really likes it, I don’t think he should have to pay for someone else’s mistake with both a frightening physical injury and a tedious nightly legacy of safety patrols. If it were my mistake, I would want to know what I had done. I wonder… is it possible that this person would respond to interaction so badly that Shal does not even want to try?? hmmmmmm……
@Veebo: Shal had a very long (and i am sure somewhat uncomfortable) conversation with the responsible person, my guess is they dont feel like they got off easy for this mistake. Shal can take on this task lightly, i believe from talking with him and i dont thing their interaction went especially poorly. And i can certainly imagine running into selfish behaviors here in commie dreamland.
I think living in community, you forget just how bad the rest of society is (concerning the “mine all mine” thinking)