Re: more perspective on rules and regs
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 05:31:37 -0700 (PDT)

On Apr 16, 2006, at 10:50 PM, <truddick [at]> wrote:

Not specifically cohousing, but a similar kind of idea:  a suburban
Cincinnati couple was prohibited from putting up a privacy fence because it
was too “visually imposing”.  So they found a way to express themselves
without breaking any rules! 0417ohtoile

In "we-they" governance, acting out like this is often the only way to emphasize that we are all in this together folks. We need to find mutually satisfying solutions if the boat is to stay afloat. But when transfered into consensus communities it is odd behavior.

What most intentional communities are trying to achieve is governance by agreement, not by authority. The objective is "we" not "we-they."

Since people who move into a community have not been part of those agreements, it is often hard for them to see that they are violating the whole concept of community, not just one agreement. The learning curve is steep so they continue to behave as if the rules are there to be broken.

Instead of making their case for changing the rules--updating the agreements--they figure out how to "get away with things." How far can they go? How long will it take people to notice? Often there is some element of "Aren't I cute?' or "See, I'm smarter than you and you can't catch me!". Anyone who opposes them is viewed as being the big bad parent.

When a two-year-old does this, it is cute and it is smart because they are just learning that they have free will. But when an adult does it, it loses it's appeal.

This makes it very difficult inter-personally for the person who wants to function as a "we" in accordance with the governance structure that preserves the integrity of the community.

Sharon Villines
Dynamic Governance (sociocracy)

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