Forced initmacy

“i appreciate the work you do around here, like fixing the floor in the smoke shack or the many times i see you up very late packing seeds.  There is no doubt in my mind you are a good communard in this sense. ” i was doing my clearness with Bobbie who might be 35 and has been at Acorn a bit longer than i have.  But this was not the important part.

bobbie marina background

Bobbie far from Acorn

“But when i think about you more deeply, i realize i have an enigmatic experience of you.  i think i have a pretty good understanding of who most of the people who live here are and what motivates them.  With you i am much less sure.  i know that i like you and have enjoyed your company, but really what this clearness drives me to do is suggest we hang out more so that i can get to know you better.”  She smiles and agrees and a few minutes later our clearness is over.

Show me what is really inside

Show me what is really inside

With Chubby Squirrels on my mind i am thinking a lot about what are the best practices we have in our communities, and the more time i spend at Acorn the more i fall in love with the clearness process.  Put roughly it is a forced opportunity for intimacy.  Not everyone takes it, of course.  There are a fair few “Oh, we are clear” style quick clearnesses.  But there is an opening at each one, an opportunity that i have tried to take seriously and every time i have felt better about my connection with someone.

Every forming community must ask itself “What are we going to require of our membership, what is our mandatory behavior?”  Non-violence is often required, as well as some form of work commitment.  Acorn also requires clearnesses; you must do at least two a year with everyone who lives there (your own clearness with each member plus each other members clearness with you).  On the relatively short list of required behaviors this  opportunity for intimacy has been selected.

And if you are going to force anything, this seems like the right thing.

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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.

6 responses to “Forced initmacy”

  1. cardin seabrook says :


  2. moonraven222 says :

    I agree. I really liked the clearnesses when I was at Acorn.

    I felt it gave me a chance to connect (at least briefly) with each person there. Unlike other communities where you might not have to interact with a person applying for membership (and thus an applicant may only talk with a percentage of the people in the community), at Acorn new folks get a chance to make a small connection with everyone who is a member. It may not be intimate, but at least there is a real interaction.

  3. Ashborn says :

    A bit odd, for an outsider’s perspective. The “clearness” process could be seen as a enforced opportunity to hit on potential dates, and lead to an awkward/creepy situations.

    On the other hand, nice to be clear and open with your co-workers / fellow communards.

    I suspect someone in a monagamous relationship would be affronted by the whole process.

    • neK says :

      If getting to sit down for one-on-one conversations with co-livers/co-workers to discuss thoughts and feelings about living and working together would be precluded simply by being in a monogamous relationship, then that sounds to me like one solid strike against such kinds of monogamous relationships.

  4. paxus says :

    @Ashborn – What a curious comment. There is a very high sensitivity to creepy or inappropriate boundary crossing at Acorn. And in the dozens of clearnesses i have heard reported about, this has never come up as an issue.

    There are several people who embrace monogamous relationship models, none of them have ever felt uncomfortable as far as i know. Perhaps you took my blog post title in the wrong way.

    The forced intimacy is not sexual or romantic, rather it is members having “required” conversations to maintain the emotional hygiene of the community. The format and culture around clearnesses are such that people are hyper sensitive about the other persons emotional state – i would hazard you have never been the creepy person trying to hit on someone at an inappropriate time. But i can promise you this is exactly the wrong environment to advance a creepy agenda. The communication is rich and empathic and intimacy building, the opposite of a fertile environment for making people feel uncomfortable.

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