Kat’s final book is called “Is it Utopia yet?” The title has always struck me as especially clever, because it hits at several different points at the same time. The first and obvious one is a self mocking look at intentional communities. We are trying to make something better with an eye towards making something really fantastic and Utopian. And we know we will not “make it”, we have flawed members, too many disparate goals, and occasional disruptive outside influences and interventions. This on top of the face that we dont even agree on what utopia might be.
But there is a second level in which Kat’s title is biting. This is the question that many people ask the intentional communities they visit, because when the answer is “yes” or close enough, then they will consider joining. What Kat was hitting at with the title is the sentiment that “Once you all have done the hard work of building utopia, then i (who has probably done nothing to help) will consider leaving my circumstance and join you, so i can enjoy the fruits of your labor.”
It must have been a slow news day at the Huffington Post because they kicked out a retread of their 2011 slideshow on communities, which featured Twin Oaks as one of 7 “Modern Day Green Communes From Around the World” In yesterdays article we are we are the answer to the question “Want to Escape the Modern World? 9 “Utopias’ That Really Exist.”
So i have met folks from and been to over half of these places. The Farm in TN does it’s own Communities Conference, which i have attended. Arcosanti was one of my original community inspirations and i visited there in the 1980s. Erica and Matt from Finca Bellavista – the amazing Treehouse village in Costa Rica – spent weeks at Twin Oaks researching before they went down to start their community. i’ve talked to and toured guided folks from Yogaville and i have visited the EcoVillage at Ithaca. No one from any of these places calls their community utopian. This is just HuffPost hype.
Calling yourself utopian is foolish actually. It immediately puts the listener on the defensive and all but guarantees they will start focusing on what is wrong with your place. Even the idea of “Escaping the Modern World” is actually not what most of the people in most of these places are striving for. 7 of the 9 communities profiled can read this article on line (i dont know about Polestar).
The more appropriate title “Want to escape the worst aspects of industrial capitalism.” But perhaps this does not play to the Huffington Posts target audience as well.
It is certainly not utopia yet. Nor is that really our aim. But on a good day, and we have a fair few good days, you can see it from here.