Ann: could we try a study group?
From: Benjmsher (
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 12:53:57 -0600
As usual in cohousing discussions we can't get anywhere on a subject as
controversial as this one given the diversity of people in our subculture.

We can't get to guidelines because of that diversity.  It strikes at the
heart of the philosophy that cohousing welcomes any and all comers without
respect to the personal philosophies of participants.  

This value-neutral approach may also ultimately cause cohousing to fail as a
movement (or possibly to thrive if this value, of diversity, ends up being
more critical than other values).

One way out of this fog perhaps is to have a study group within cohousing
communiites (that incidentally might include some folks who don't live in
cohousing) on parenting/child development.  The study group would not take as
its primary task a specific problem such as child labor but rather strive for
assimilating a more comprehensive understanding of parenting/children in our

Creating a study group would be a further enhancement on community sharing
beyond the mundane matters of feeding ourselves and taking care of our
physical surroundings.  

Some topics for discussion in such a study group could be 1) learning how to
strip "work" of its derogatory connotation and understand the split modern
society as erected between work and play; 2) recognizing the way in which
modern, affluent, machine-oriented society tends to make us lazier across the
generations; 3) considering  the notion of persons taking individual
responsibility for their actions as the foundation of citizenship in a
democratic society; 4) that the current mode of production in the U.S. ill
affords families the time they need to raise their children in a better way
and that cohousing is just this tiny island buffeted by all the absurdities
of our contemporary way of life; 5) that in a celebrity-oriented,
individualistic culture that  atomizes us and makes us competitors even
inside marriages, the net effect is that children are valued less than once
they were as we adults go about the business of pursuing the act of
self-distinction as our way of confronting our mortality since conventional
religions have lost their legitimacy in a scientific age and we really don't
have one positive clue how to confront the fact of our mortality.

In short, I believe that only when we can step back, together, and take a
look at the whole picture of our lives in a deeper way and share our deepest
selves with each other, will we be able to equip ourselves with enough wisdom
to set to work on these particular questions such as child labor in

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