RE: Limits to CoHousing: Diversity vs vision
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 94 11:53 CDT
Joel Spector  wrote:

>Vision is a good thing.  Diversity also has its strengths.  To a degree,
>these two good things are mutually exclusive.  How to balance them seems to
>me to be the key to the art of "managing" a community.  Or, perhaps, the
>art of managing to be a member of one.  The decision being made is, which
>comes first?  Loving your neighbor, or loving your vision?

Diversity is one of those odd terms which means different things to 
different people, but I would agree that in diversity there is wisdom.  
Although a clear and articulated vision and or values statement limits 
diversity within the stated values, it doesn't affect diversity in 
other areas.  For example at Sharingwood we have a couple of folks who 
are moderately conservative in their politics.  They also have a 
different insite on many issues which contribute value to the whole. I 
am glad they around, even though I don't agree with them always, I 
value what they have to contribute.  Besides, if everyone held the same 
politics it would take away from the fun of the discussion.

As to which comes first, meeting the needs of the individual comes 
first at Sharingwood. As a group we tend not to be fanatical about our 
vision statement and or policies but work out each time a compromise 
that works.   I have come to realize, after three years of life with 
these folks, how much we bend for each other.  This weekend we cut down 
a tree which is within the footprint of our planned commonhouse.  
Several people held an eclectic ritual before the tree was cut.  I know 
this was wierd for some people (One of our conservative's  also holds 
pretty standard Christian religous values) but it was ok.  Afterwards 
in the Sharing Circle we talked about how we felt about this sort of 
community ritual and members  expressed themselves well and honestly.  
I think the key is having the intention to cooperate, the willingness 
to let other people do what they need to, the patience to wait awhile 
for people to adjust, and the tolerance from knowing and trusting each 
other.  The vision is the big picture guiding direction and since we 
realize that community is a journey, not a destination, if we wobble 
every once and while in our vision, it may slightly change our 
direction, but the journey continues.

There are some who could criticize and say we don't live up to our 
vision, that we don't always "walk our talk" and this would be true, 
although perhaps unfair. Our vision is the map of the direction of our 
journey and there are infinite possibilities in which paths to take.  
Maybe our grandchildren will be able to fully live up to and realize 
our vision, but somehow I think by that time the vision we hold now 
will have evolved in the direction of the journey.  We know where we 
started, we can learn from where we have been, but where we are going, 
we can only guess.

Feeling philosophical this morning,

Rob Sandelin
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