It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood:
An Invitation in Becoming the Beloved Community
Vaclav Havel has written that we must live the truth we wish to see in the world. Likewise, John Lewis has stated that we must live as if the Beloved Community already were and it will be. I paraphrase both. In my life, I strive to live into a truth which I too believe: In the future, those who live well and have little use for money will be considered the richest while those who need so much more than others will be the weakest. Imagine admiration for those we call poor today, and pity rather than scorn, or envy, for the wealthy, and far fewer who suffer.
Therefore, I seek your assistance and offer this invitation: to organize a community of those ready in spirit to imagine, create, evolve, and live into life after late-stage capitalism. I will gladly relocate to be near you and those willing to try. Here is a vision from which we may begin.
We associate in voluntary arrangements of four to twenty-four families to support each other and live well. We make long-term commitments to join in an idea and to see it flourish just as we would with a company, neighborhood, nation, or religious tradition. If a 25th family wishes to join, a new pod is begun. Those who find they cannot uphold the commitment are not penalized; except for the loss of the rewards of participation. Everyone is freely welcomed and released.
“Families” is very loosely defined as those who share a home. This would include young couples who look forward to having children, gay couples who have adopted children, single parents with children, adult children caring for a parent, couples who have no children, and single persons who want connections.
We live in our own spaces within some geographic proximity of each other like a county or a ZIP code. We do not separate ourselves from the community at large, but rather live within and among everyone. We maintain some close proximity so that we can support each other in ways which require personal presence.
We strive to use less of our time for the sake of acquiring money, generating profit, & accumulating wealth and property.
We strive to use more of our time and energy to freely serve each other in the meeting of our needs.
We commit to assist each other in child care or tutoring after school; to care for our elders and disabled members in the home or as they move about town; to grow a community garden to be freely shared among us; to maintain and repair our homes; and to provide basic medical care and attention during times of illness or recovery. We gather regularly to check in and make plans. When necessary, together we mourn. As often as possible, we play, dance, sing, and laugh.
For those already earning above the median in income, and/or those who have accumulated above the median in wealth, we continuously strive to learn ways to earn less income and redistribute our wealth responsibly with intentional generosity.
We strive to live within the natural limits of the environment; to consume less material and energy, to spend less money, to reduce our debts, to use less gasoline and electricity in our daily lives.
We choose equality as a fundamental principle. Equality, in this sense, means everyone is treated equally. No one is denied access to their needs based on the amount of cash on hand. No one is denied safety and security, or the power to make decisions, based on their ability, age, gender, sexuality, or skin tone. We also strive to treat as equals the soil, water, air, and other living beings, our neighbors, those on two legs and four, those with wings, fins, and roots as well.
Conflicts are not created to keep others off-balance or hold onto unequal power. Nor are they avoided, but instead addressed as opportunities to enhance our living well, learning, and evolution. We draw on the principles of kindness, cooperation, honesty, and trust to do so. We hope for a multi-ethnic, democratic community with a diversity of skills and political persuasions. Decisions that affect multiple families will be made by consensus. If the only consensus we can reach is that we are at an impasse, then the majority will determine the direction forward. Those in the minority retain the power to seek reconsideration for their perspective if they feel they are unable to join the majority’s choice.
We hope to learn our lessons and share them with others. We hope others will learn from us. Will you join me in giving it a try? Tomorrow could be even more beautiful. Won't you be my neighbor? May I be yours?