A story on Eco Online caught my eye: Making Communities Viable (July 5, 2010) by Paul Mischefski, commences: The movement towards a return to living in communities is one that is growing in momentum in Australia and world-wide. This is something that Dr Quantum has been talking up for 30 years plus. It is heartening to see that the notion of sustainable community is gaining greater traction with more and more people. So what is it that makes communities so attractive for those with a sustainability mindset? And what lesson do we have to learn fromVampire movies? There is a lesson by the way . . .
In Chaos Theory AKA The Butterfly Effect – we are given to understand that infinite complexity in nature is based on what are called simple rules of interaction. The implications of this for sustainable community development folk is that the greatest challenge that players within communities face is themselves and each other. That is because individuals who are moving from the social structures and fabric of society as it has been written to a new and preferred social structure will inevitably bring with them the simple rules of interaction of the old dysfunctionalism. Unless. . . . Unless . . . unless they don’t.
The old social dysfunctionalism is just like the vampire virus that we have seen in movies. Once you get bit . . . you are it. A vampire. And society is the vampire of all vampires sucking the blood and oxygen out of all living things. Our current vampire stalking goal seems to be to reduce the entire Amazon forest to matchsticks. Society is a vampire. We carry the rules around with us.
What happens when you get up close and personal with a whole bunch of people who want to make communities is something to behold. Cinematic vampires and Wild-West gunslingers – they go together like peaches and cream don’t they? You are about to visit the New Age Vampire Wild West Movie. Is this wierding you out too or is it just me? So there you are hangin with the cowboys and cowgirls of the New Age funky Western Vampire civilization.
One thing that starts to happen is that all the reasons that communities will NOT work with those folks will start to come present. There is a very good reason for this. This is what I think of as the Vampire Killers phenomenon. The 1967 film The Fearless Vampires Killers directed by Roman Polanski is a hugely entertaining and rather excellent piece of cinema in which the vampire killers (Polasnki and his assistant) venture into the realm of the vampire castle to defeat the darkness. They do succeed in driving stakes through Dracula’s heart while he is sleeping in his silk lined coffin, however the film ends on a deeply philosophical note.
Just when the fearless vampire killers are making good their escape from the Vampire castle . . .one of the vampires who has stowed away in back of the sleigh, rears up and is about to put the bite on the slayers. . .freeze frame. So there it is you see. The simple rule of interaction for vampires is that if you get fanged, you BECOME a vampire yourself. The biggest problem with that is not you personally per se . . it is that you are now a carrier, capable of infecting the rest of society. Well . . .here’s the thing. We have been living on the vampirized blood of forests of trees, oceans of fish, herds of livestock and vast colonies of the disadvantaged. Bring up the curtain on an Eco Community somewhere on the Northern Coast of NSW or South Eastern Queensland. It’s time for your favourite half hour sitcom. The New-Age Vampire Wild-West half hour. What’s a catchy title? New FANGled Reality Gunslingers? Cowboy-Vampires of the New Age? I know I’m getting close.
In his excellent book Evolution’s Edge, Graeme Taylor argues that it is not so much the technologies that need to change – though that is part of the puzzle – as much as it is the social patterns. Dr Quantum interprets this to mean the simple rules of interaction, on a personal and interpersonal level. It sounds easy but it’s not. As Australian Futurist Peter Ellyard says The soft stuff is the hard stuff. What is needed are a variety of personal. group and socially transormative skills, resources, workshops, courses and media that enable people to cure themselves of the Cowboy-Vampire Virus. This is a lifetime’s journey, and one that is going to be thoroughly worthwhile. As my friends will not tire of reminding me . . .many have embarked on the journey already and continue the journey. But Dr Q would contend that a weekend workshop or a 10 day Buddhist meditation retreat while thoroughly noble and commendable are just not enough. The communities themselves nee to become sort of workshop incubators in themselves.
Ok so we now have Vampires and Cowboys as metaphores. Let’s mix this up even more. French Philosopher and humanist Andre Gide famously said
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
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I feel as if I am going into the Hunt for Red October Movie with Sean Connery. Is the New Age Community anywhere around here?