Re: The Red Mercedes [was Consensus, Majority Vote, "Blocks"]
From: Dane Laverty (
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 09:59:39 -0700 (PDT)
Sharon, I've been thinking over your observation here, and trying to figure
out what motivates me toward community.

My selfish reason is that I want to live a lifestyle that requires less
time spent at the office so that I can have more time for recreation,
sociality, and personal pursuits.

My less selfish reason is that I want to provide a "reset button" for
people. I want a community for people who are stuck without skills,
education, or work experience, a place that provides people with the space,
contacts, and resources they need to figure out what they want out of life
and then help them "shove off" in the direction of their dreams.

So I guess what I'm envisioning isn't so much a long-term cohousing
community as it is a sort of staging area, a boarding school for life. I
would be a place where people would come for a few years, get set up, and
then head out again.

I'm not sure that this addresses any of your points about the assumed
absence of conflict. My hope is that, since this community would function
more like a program than a neighborhood, and due to the short-term nature
of the stay for most of the residents, there would be less friction.

I think you've touched on the key point with your suggested regular 5 - 15
minute conflict resolution meeting. In the computer programming world, the
popular methodology *du jour* is called "Agile programming". It consists of
several team management practices, one of which being the "daily stand-up
meeting". In the daily stand-up, each team member has a chance to report on
progress and raise any concerns or blockers. Most of the meetings are
boring and pass without incident, but frequent and regular team meetings
help nip problems in the bud before they grow into unmanageable monsters.


On Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 9:01 AM, Sharon Villines
<sharon [at]>wrote:

> 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
> ----
> 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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