10:56:49

there's a popular belief that goes something like: πŸ—£οΈ "Things are very bad in the world and you personally have the power to stop them! and if you don't try, you're complicit in the badness!" and i just don't think the evidence supports it

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11:32:32

giving it "the old college try" (one year and i drop out)

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11:46:05

friends are coming to town this week. time to vacuum the futon

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12:15:43

what should i tweet about today? you have 5 minutes

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12:32:15

how do i make Caps Lock map to Ctrl in Linux? I know how to do it with Gnome settings but this machine is using XFCE

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12:34:35

THE mIsspellings will continue until caps lock improveS

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12:35:49

aw shit fine

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12:37:21

it's a spoooky sunday afternoon, and you know what that means. time for... π•‹π”Έπ•ƒπ”Όπ•Š 𝔽ℝ𝕆𝕄 𝕋ℍ𝔼 β„‚π•†π•„π•„π•Œβ„•π”Ό

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12:39:21

let's set the scene: I lived at a remote wilderness commune for three years. I don't want to say which one, because i don't want to attract the attention of its egregore. if you know the names of several communes in the USA, this is likely to be one of them

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12:43:54

if you drive the paved roads out there (single-lane, rock face on one side, sheer drop on the other, graffiti on the rock declaring "BEGIN FREEWAY") you can either take a 13-mile dirt road driveway that wants to eat your oilpan or park and hike 5 miles up the mountain to get in

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12:43:54

it's near the California/Oregon border, deep in the mountains. it's 60 miles to a gas station, 100 to a Walmart. our neighbor on every side was National Forest land for a very long way

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12:44:34

here we go https://t.co/BqMcrURE6L

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12:47:27

once you get there, you find an 1800s ghost town that was renovated by hippies in the 1960s and upgraded by anarchists in the 2010s. it's a mishmash of ancient wood construction, microhydro power, goats, 5mil plastic greenhouse, greenhouse made from old windows. v "solarpunk"

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13:02:41

the reason it's on my mind this morning (aside from the number of mutuals talking about starting intentional communities) is that we used to have the dreaded "SUNDAY MEETING" this was officially NOT RELIGIOUS but in reality it felt VERY RELIGIOUS

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13:16:47

some of the most evil people I've known have also had the worst posture, teeth, physical degradation in general. i'm not saying that physical degradation only happens because of evil. obviously poverty, disability, bad luck &c could cause. but does being evil destroy your body?

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13:25:55

SUNDAY MEETING was a tradition since the 60s, even though no one had been there that long. It was held irregularly, often on Sundays but not every Sunday. I don't know exactly what it was like early on, although as the self-appointed librarian i did read the old meeting notes.

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13:25:56

what it was like in the 10s was a horizontal consensus circle with a stack. think 🏴,🌈,πŸ‡΄β€‹πŸ‡¨β€‹πŸ‡¨β€‹πŸ‡Ίβ€‹πŸ‡΅β€‹πŸ‡Ύβ€‹. we go around and check-in with each person, then the Facilitator goes through the Agenda and the Stack Taker keeps track of who gets to talk next. FIFO model

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13:27:51

whenever the old hippies came around, the "Greater Family", they would revert to the old model where you pass a "feather" (problematic) or a "talking stick" (not better) around the circle and each person would share their "heartsong" (right?) on whatever the topic of the moment

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13:33:03

both of these meeting styles, despite their egalitarian rationale, were very contrived and artifical. they would fail anytime something controversial came up, because people would revert to domination tactics of various flavors. emotional displays, poker-faced scheming, nemawashi

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13:36:10

what's the strongest kind of coffee

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13:37:19

i had a half cup of strong coffee left and i added some water and microwaved it for 90 seconds and now i have diner coffee

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13:40:29

not that I was innocent! there was an ongoing social game in which people were Sorted into Houses. yes, like Hogwarts. and I was in the Slytherin equivalent for sure

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13:48:40

as in many cases, infrastructure defines superstructure. there were only so many Cabins at this place, and you couldn't build any more because then the Land Assessors would come out to assess it. and then they would notice that people were living in these "outbuildings"

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13:54:50

so we only had a few Cabins. and because of the steep valley fork we were in, there were only so many good flat spots to build a Cabin. so they were spread out in two directions at distances of up to a mile and climbs up to 700' from the "Main House".

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13:57:56

and thus you would walk home with your cabinmates after after-dinner smokes and you would gossip and discuss how Our Team was different and better than Their Teams. classic setup. Eagles and Rattlers

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14:07:16

except in our case it was β€’ the Gatehouse β€’ the Gulch β€’ the Meadow β€’ the Love Shack β€’ the Steam Bath β€’ the Spider Dome god, looking at them written down it is so ridiculous. we were like the Lost Boys. but it was all real and it happened to multiple generations of people

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14:09:18

π—Άπ—»π˜π—²π—Ώπ—Ίπ—Άπ˜€π˜€π—Άπ—Όπ—» if you want to ask me questions about commune, this tweet is a good place to do it. brb

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14:13:32

yeah, I have a "colorblind" dating policy. I don't see red flags

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14:16:03

eat salted lemonade. its good

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14:19:56

this happened roughly once a year with various echoes and foreshadows on a monthly basis. it was like a good season of prestige TV. except you couldn't binge it and also the characters could ruin your life

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14:19:56

this is an excellent question! it turns out, there were many different reasons that people were there. but because we didn't have a nuanced language to talk about that, those distinctions didn't really come up until it was too late and the ad-hoc social cohesion would shatter

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14:20:20

oops i meant to link this question. this is the good question https://t.co/uHdslrxidT

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14:27:06

so what was the point? there were a few common ones, with permutations: 1) i hate my life and need somewhere to escape 2) i have a romanticized view of the 1960s/1800s/Indians/cavemen and want to roleplay 3) i believe in magic/religion/Hogwarts/D&D and want to roleplay

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14:27:08

(i had already had my romanticized view of the 1960s disillusioned by much experience with the Rainbow Family)

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14:27:08

4) i am literally a fugitive 5) my friends moved there and they told me and a bunch of other people to come help take it over 6) i have a utopian political project and i want to see what happens if we try it away from mainstream society i went for a combination of 3, 5 and 6

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14:31:43

this is a subtweet of my past self. i'm no longer dating

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14:38:32

but the best regular event was spending all day making a huge meal, eating it together at a huge table and then piling onto a small porch to play music, smoke cigarettes and drink homebrew for hours. just a heap of smelly people passing slobbery rollies and cuddling. like dogs

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14:38:32

another good question. there were a lot of singular events that i really liked -- big parties, magic rituals, long jam sessions, births and slaughters (goats, mostly) https://t.co/Xn9TmuGvYc

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14:39:55

tfw when you're old :)

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14:50:39

speaking of dogs. we were supposedly a Goat Ranch because we had the infrastructure for Goat Milking and Storage. the Goat Committee would take the goats for Goat Walks. there was a Goat Manager we had roughly 8 to 16 goats at any given time. but at one point we had OVER 25 DOGS

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14:54:07

and there was no Dog Manager. each person would manage their own dog to their own criteria, adjusted by arguments with other dog owners and various treaties decided by internal dog politics. non-dog people (like me) were considered to not have skin in the game, and ignored

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14:57:57

excuses i have heard for why your dog is not following the rules: "doesn't know the rules" "too stupid to follow rules" "too smart to follow rules" "that's my service animal" "that's not a dog, it's a dragon" "that's my service dragon" "i don't own this animal, it has free will"

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15:06:25

oh also we had like 30 chickens and somebody would have to feed them and (infrequently) muck out the coop. but they were all old, and no one was allowed to kill them , so we got like 3 eggs a day. and those would be earmarked for baking or for whichever babies were on the ranch

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15:22:30

why we weren't allowed to kill them? I HAVE NO IDEA. some weird ideology or another was the rationale, but ultimately it was about power politics. several groups were attempting to "vibe out" the other groups and take over the ranch for their friends

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15:26:32

so initially i went there because i was enchanted with Rainbow/Occupy-style autnomous zones, and i wanted to see if they could be made permanent. my ideal was "a federated network of horizontal, bioregional, low-energy locally grown autonomous zones" and i wanted to manifest it

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15:33:03

what i found, of course, was the Tyranny of Structurelessness. when you make the rule "no one has explicit power, we alre all officially Equal", you don't get rid of power. you just force everyone to pretend that the obvious hierarchies don't exist. https://t.co/aVw4ZMebxN

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15:33:04

it's easy to say "of course" about this, especially with hindsight. but i don't feel i watsted my time. that's hwy it was an experiment! i needed to see this fail mode (several times lol) in case we humanity was missing a huge opportunity . unfortunately, what i found was: nope

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15:39:57

tag urself i'm Gatehouse

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15:46:23

maybe among people with a strong shared cultural background, this type of organizing is possible. (see: Rojava, Chiapas) but in pluralistic American society, even a group of "radical leftists" couldn't organize horizontally without creating secret wars and status games

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15:53:34

why do people like capitalism and industrial society? is it because they're stupid and misled and don't know better? or is there something about market economics that allows it to scale to more people than a communally decided resource distribution can? https://t.co/vDCeKOSOC8

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15:56:58

this is why i have a weird sort of pride in being a "small business" now. unlike in commune life, my value and contribution is not defined by how well i can empathize with people or say the correct shibboleths. it's jsut defined by how well i sell book https://t.co/iopY4Gy8Bo

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16:00:29

POV: you just said the wrong shibboleth https://t.co/7t2YCJ4LNB

image from twitter

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16:12:52

to wind up, SUNDAY MEETING had several variations on the two main forms mentioned above, and a dissimilar strain u might call "conspiracy of leaders" which was not explicit but formed spontaneously near the kitchen stove once shit hit the fan https://t.co/4UDvdbUrcL

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16:18:34

none of these forms were chosen democratically. they were all formed by strong-willed people, deciding on an arbitrary structure that "the people" must use to enact "the people's will". the democratic or horizontal structure continued to exist because it was a convenient front

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16:21:04

as different strong-willed people cycled through the place, the direction and intention of the community would change. which, cool, better to adapt than to stagnate. but the lessons learned didn't percolate back into the "Traditional Guidelines", so the same problems would repeat

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16:23:29

the people that updated their beliefs the most -- those of us who learned something The Hard Way -- would leave the commune and its mindset behind. our knowledge could not be backpropagated. the society was all fork, no merge

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16:30:29

when i think back to the times we sent cold emails to "Greater Family" saying things like "hey you learned herbalism here, can you send us your herb book for free?" πŸ˜† no wonder they didn't want anything to do with us. they left for a reason

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16:32:23

much of it was very pleasant! i liked the living way out in the woods part. but this was probably the most "urbane" version of homesteading, in the sense that we always had new people and goods. and still it was too few people. i'd rather live around strangers than busybodies

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16:40:29

many things still yet to write about it: β€’ magic classes β€’ cars: crashes, towings, shootings, burnings β€’ babbies and why you can't have them β€’ drought β€’ plagues (multiple kinds, some repeating) β€’ infrastructure β€’ ghosts, possessions, shadow people, "Charlie" what u want

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16:43:20

this concludes today's Tales from the Commune. send questions or comments, and feel free to mingle. refreshments will be in the hall. thank you for coming, you are now blinking manually, have a good evening

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