Re: Division Question & Consensus
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2020 08:29:36 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 2, 2020, at 5:55 PM, Bonnie Fergusson via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l 
> [at]> wrote:
> Karen is correct, probably one of the reasons we've managed as well as we 
> have for 20 years is that the original group got training in consensus 
> decision making before move in and also hired such experts to help update our 
> skills several other times over the years, when we seemed to be getting stuck 
> or had new people move in. 

I would add to this that when a group begins, things are discussed and decided 
as a group. But as time goes by information gets transmitted much more often 
from one person to the next. It becomes a game of telephone. New people will 
have a different belief depending on which person answered their questions.

I had this experience this morning so I’m hot on it. Suddenly because the 
person who lives next door or who ran the orientation session or welcomed 
someone to a team, becomes THE AUTHORITY on whatever the new person asks a 
question about. It isn’t always the member presents themselves or their 
information as the TRUTH, but new members are looking for the TRUTH. It’s much 
more comforting to believe you have it. 

As time has gone by I find more resistance to having these meetings with 
discussions of issues that are unrelated to a specific policy decision. Those 
who have been here 20 years are already tired of them and there is little point 
in new people going off and to do them alone.

Sharon Villines
sustainablecohousing [at]
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