Re: Consensus-A Time to Rethink?
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 95 01:59 CST
As someone who is not actively affiliated with co-housing but interested in
its development I wonder if any co-housing group has taken the approach that
Scott M. Peck, a best selling author and pshcyiatrist, in his book "A World
Waiting to be Born."  In a nutshell, and for those not familiar with what I'm
talking about he describes establishing community, a true sense of it, in a
process of four steps:  a)  False community, where people first come together
and exchange pleasantries and find what is common between them and generally
do not look at or deal with all the areas of separation and different
perceptions.  They may think they have community based on their common goals
and some common perceptions but then>  b)  Disagreements arise.  This
includes all the personality factors, prejudices and differing perceptions of
what is so.  The fullfillment of this phase is where differences arise often
with anger, chaos, resentments, accusations etcetera.  This is where, in
life, most relationships terminate for people who do not have a deeper
committment to what the common goal of the group or relationship is.  Often
this is also where compromises are made that don't really please anyone,
where grudges are held and majority votes are made for expediency etc.  This
stage obviously needs experienced facilitation or just a good dose of common
sense, tact and willingness to move beyond the seemingly irreconcilable
 differences.  The hard part comes in allowing the next stage: c)
Hopelessness, leading to a sort of a void, a 'giving up' of the stances and
positions and allowing some room for new perceptions and possibilities.
  Finally d)  Community.  Where the truth of what is best for the situation
and for everyone overall is arrived at on a concensus basis.

The above description is my own adhoc summary of what Scott Peck has applied
to a number of organizations and companies.  This is not a one time thing but
an ongoing process that gets repeated as the sense of community is deepened.
 This process, I would suspect, has been gone through informally by
co-housing groups at various times.  But has anyone consciously address this?

Just some thoughts.  For a better understanding I'd suggest reading Scott
Peck's material.

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