Re: The Red Mercedes [was Consensus, Majority Vote, "Blocks"]
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2011 09:01:52 -0700 (PDT)
On 20 Oct 2011, at 1:57 PM, Dane Laverty wrote:

> Okay, I've taken my first swing at fleshing out what my "red Mercedes" ideal
> community looks like in a blog post:

One of the basic assumptions in cohousing and probably in all intentional 
community activities that is assumed is the absence of conflict. If I want to 
cook community meals and see it as a great advantage, I assume everyone else 
who wants to cook community meals and sees it as a great advantage, will also 
be the kind of person who will:

be on time
do what they say they will do
purchase healthy food when possible (no fructose, etc.), 
like the foods I like (bland, vegan, etc.)
want to serve them the way I like (family style, buffet etc.),

and will be willing to sit down and talk long enough to resolve differences.

It's the bumping up against the inherent body/time rhythms and voice qualities 
and music preferences that cause the friction. I think we all have similar Red 
Mercedes visions, but how do we get there comfortably?

I don't mean to be negative — all these things do work out. But I find the most 
difficult thing is allowing for differences, often very wide, in abilities and 
sensibilities. How to make people feel good when they have done what I consider 
to be a bad job. One that has to be surreptitiously done over again, or live 
with it. 

Conflict is inevitable. Conflict resolution the last thing communities think 
about in their Red Mercedes visions or resolutions.

Sometimes I think every orientation of prospective members and every meeting of 
members should have a conflict resolution  exercise — 5 to 15 minutes so the 
process becomes automatic and the group develops conflict resolution skills and 
expectations from the first minute.

When I talk to people who don't life in cohousing, personality conflicts, along 
with a cluttered CH, is the first thing they want to avoid.

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
"It is harder to be kind than clever. KIndness is a choice and hard. Cleverness 
is a gift and seductive." Jeff Bezos' Grandfather

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