Exporting Revolution

Roberto and i and Marta and Clementine spent the latter afternoon in our little Bolo labor collective.  Bolo has reached this precious place where we spent perhaps half of the first 30 minutes of the meeting laughing, occasionally uncontrollably.  It is a tight, deep little transparency group where everyone feels safe and pretty open to being as genuine as they can get.  i experience it as both healing and oddly calming.

Then Roberto and i hoped into a car and drove to Acorn.  Tonight was the first night of the new transparency group over there.  i was excited, proud and a bit nervous.  i thought the techniques were fairly universal, i thought they would get it and like it.  But i certainly was not sure.  Before we started i was told about some of the clever policies they have at Acorn, that would not translate well to a Twin Oaks context (sadly).

For example, they have a fun budget.  If a group of 7 people say they want to do something vaguely recreational or fun together, the community will kick in $100 for the event.  This has sent the group bowling and funded community parties.  It is one of those clever things that small communities with reasonable income streams can do and it has a huge add to the quality of life of the members, not so much because they use it all the time, but because it is there all the time and is a vehicle for collective creativity.

We moved out of the farmhouse where we were originally scheduled and into the Straw Bale house (also known as the cuddle hut – because the cuddle collective lives there).  This warm friendly open space was perfect for a first gathering (except for the lack of good back support).  And given the smallest amount of invitations, the 8 or so Acorners went for it.  They talked deeply and honestly about themselves.  i watched as people strengthened their connections and dispelled myths that were in their way.  Confidentiality agreements prevent me from writing much here.  And you should know it was a roaring success.

Specifically, funologically it was an A event because it changed people’s lives.  Folx who did not think they would get much out of it or even stay thru the event were converted.    People who had a desire to connect, but had been blocked committed to connecting with each other because of this interaction.  The purpose of the transparency group is not to heal the relations between participants AND it turns out that even without that intention it almost always happens.

From a memetics perspective, it was bigger.  It is clear to me that i could do a bunch of this.  Setting up groups, parachuting in with my orange jumpsuit, facilitating a handful of sessions, leaving behinds some fingerbooks and web links and creating something that the participants in felt were precious and then i would skip town.  It felt like more proof that we do know what some parts of this revolution look like.  And despite the historic events in Tripoli and in Madison, tonight i was happy to be exporting revolution much closer to home.

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

11 responses to “Exporting Revolution”

  1. Clementine says :

    This is a beautiful piece, Pax, and I’m so glad we get to experience this stuff together.

  2. richard jbird lisko says :

    Portland so far has been an enviroment that seems to be open to the ideas of radical honesty and i would love to know how to be a “transparency group” hooker. Please give more info, Pax. The revolution will be transparent!

  3. sara says :

    i love this. and i think richard’s response begs a transparency group fingerbook. i’m just saying; i could look for some sexier pictures than the help button.

  4. Abigail says :

    Yay!! Yes, transparency groups can change the world – especially if they include a little theatre (fluid sculptures???)

  5. kelsey says :

    I feel like there already are markets for this that you could plug into. Businesses, organizations, or any place that has people work on teams, all do “community-building” sorts of exercises… and I’d be willing to bet that what you’d do would be 100x better. You should look up The Food Project in Boston– they have an organizational communication strategy called Straight Talk that is pretty interesting, and that I think they might be in the business of exporting. I LOVE to think of you out there spreading a transparent communication revolution. Tally ho.

  6. Brian Crouthamel says :

    WOW! I love this idea. To be able to open up to those around me and be understood and give and receive support would dramatically change my life for the better. I’m so glad I found Twin Oaks.

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