Re: Work or Pay Systems
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008 05:11:12 -0700 (PDT)

On Aug 1, 2008, at 2:06 AM, Brian Bartholomew wrote:

The game theories have the "nicest" results when all parties believe
the game will go on forever.  I buy certain brands at the grocery
because I have a history of satisfaction with those brands.

It's nice to know that someone has done research on the effects of "forever" relationships. My personal ability to attach to people and products I know are "temporary" is almost non-existent. I recently felt so betrayed by IKEA when I went back to replace water glasses and found they had changed all the styles, I don't want to shop there again. I'm back to the more expensive glasses I know I can match in 3, 5, 15 years.

I was stunned when I heard a month after move-in that my neighbor two doors down only intended to stay 2-3 years. It was a "good buy." It felt like a breech of covenant or something.

My concept of cohousing was that people would only move into cohousing if they were intending to "stay forever." I believed that the intention really was to build an old-fashioned neighborhood where people belong and wouldn't consider it to be temporary. Obviously things change and people have to move or find out it wasn't a good fit, but I expected a serious intention. One that was strong enough that we would all do the work required to learn to accept each other as we are and not keep trying to change or overrule each other. To understand how to build a life together that worked for everyone, or for as many as possible.

That this isn't true means I am also beginning to have doubts about the process of building consensus with a changing group of people. What is insidious about this is now realizing that some people may have already become "temporary" in their own minds. They are making "temporary" decisions while I am still trying to make decisions that build a foundation for the future.

Two units changed 1 1/2 years ago, one changed this week, and another will change in the upcoming months. I feel like saying, okay, no decisions until everyone gets in place. Then we start over again. And we use preferential voting.

The sociocratic standard is that consent decision-making requires a defined group of people who have agreed to make decisions together. When the definitions are blurry, in commitment or in bodies, it doesn't produce good results.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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