New-Paradigm Sustenance

Probably wouldn’t be a bad time to talk a little about Survival and Community in the New Paradigm.

I know you don’t like it when I talk about Identity, but here’s a great summary of the general principles of Manifestation…

She’s speaking of Money, but it’s the same for the Energy of Abundance, or for that matter, any other Desire.

Whenever anybody talks about Responsibility though, I think it’s worthwhile to differentiate it from Blame.  Blame is when you look behind you and try to figure out what failed.  It’s good hygiene to never Blame a failure on a person, especially yourself, but on a collection of circumstances.  Blame is actually optional, though it’s useful for helping to avoid repeating missteps, as long as you don’t blame a person.  Responsibility – the Ability to Respond – is when you look ahead and figure out how to Respond to a challenge.  Taking Responsibility for Abundance means rationing your beans over the winter so you still have enough to plant once Spring arrives.

The following is pretty intellectual, and if this doesn’t feel like the right time for an intellectual exploration, put it off till tomorrow.  Either way, consider it just sort of a broad-brush idea generator, not any sort of concrete suggestions.  Gar Alperovitz and Steve Dubb have published an interesting article on the kind of redefinition of Community that the New Paradigm is Co-Creating…

but it’s written on the scale of “how to fix the US,” which is only relevant to folks who are  far more extroverted and politically involved than I and probably most of you.  But if we tried to translate it into something useful to us on a local level, it might look something like this…

  • Community Banking – Credit Unions in the US are today owned collectively, where the depositors are the shareholders.  There used to be Mutual Banks that were organized the same way, but I haven’t seen one in a while.  You have to be suspicious – for instance, a company named BankMutual has a great story, but it’s a public company, which means that somebody else owns it.  It’s not always easy, but there are ways to research a company to see if it’s really a co-op.  A clue is whether they talk about members rather than customers.  In my neighborhood the local Credit Union, even though it’s a co-op, is focused more on growth than on service, which isn’t a good sign.
  • Universal Healthcare – You probably won’t be doing that on a neighborhood scale, but two Community parallels are Energy Medicine and Tapping.  Their are many ways that neighbors and Community members can share Healing and avoid the Sickcare that passes for Healthcare in the US.
  • Community Wealth – If you don’t have a co-op structure to your Community, you will need to be mindful that the first rule of Win-Win is that if you’re playing Win-Win and others are playing Win-Lose, you lose (you can see how much I trust people!).  God forbid you need lawyers to run your Community, but there are many lawyers who aren’t practicing, and there are many people who have good judgment (the two categories may or may not be the same).  You might consider appointing three of those kinds of folks to oversee the way your Community handles assets, so you really can accumulate Community Wealth, which might take the form of Community garden space, or a small storefront for distribution of group purchases, a well, or a local off-grid power source.  Make sure you have shares, and make sure there are rules against any person or group owning a majority of shares.
  • Leveraging Public Assets – That doesn’t mean borrowing seventy times your assets like they do on Wall Street.  But it could mean renting out portions of the Community storefront to Community members or neighbors, for conducting Community-enhancing business operations, or setting up a farmer’s market for excess garden production.
  • Long-Term Organization – Alperovitz points out that a Community needs to be willing to fail, and that most successful Community Organizations have gone through many iterations, and continue to evolve, keeping what works and letting go of or reorganizing that isn’t working as well.  Remaining mindful that building Community is the goal, not getting invested in making a particular form of organization work.  What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.  Again, Starhawk’s Empowerment Manual seems like required reading.
  • Reduce Corporate Power – The movement on the national scale is late and barely there, but at least it’s begun.  Alternative Radio is a graduate library of the efforts that have been going on for a long time, and folks on that long list like Vandana Shiva and Paul Cienfuegos are experts on the subject.  I particularly recommend Vandana Shiva’s Shakti: Feminine Power for Change, and Paul Cienfuegos’s Ending Corporate Power.

Not that I have any experience with any of this; I’m looking at this as a total neophyte.  This I know, however…

and this…

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