What is a self-sustaining autonomous community (S.S.A.C)? What makes it any different than eco-villages or intentional communities? The simple answer is that SSAC is not a community where people come together to offer their talents. It’s about coming together and building a place for all the contributing members so that each member can function for themselves and by themselves and eventually sustain themselves by themselves within said community. By contributing member I mean whoever is there that believes in this way of life and that may contribute their time, ideas, work, land, lumber, whatever to get the community up and running. By up and running I mean, a home for each individual member, an automated system to grow their own food, and system to have their own water. By putting our minds together, such a community can create things like an automated hydroponics system to grow our own food (not centralized like a having a greenhouse where members have to take shifts). An automated means in which to filter water. In this way, people wouldn’t have to rely on each other for these basic necessities and psychologically wouldn’t feel resentful and there would be no need to be watchful of who’s doing what and how much one person is doing for the community versus another. This allows for people to then move through their own seasons in life; to be as they are. I know it all sounds idealistic but what is life if not the collection of ideas agreed upon.
So when it’s all said and done, we are not going to need Joe to fix our plumbing, or Jane to do our cooking so that others can go and gather up fish for the whole community. But by all means, if a community member wakes up one day and wants to be a fishing fool, I mean truly wants to do that, then no one is going to stop them. No, Jane will have to fix her own plumbing and Joe will have to do his own cooking. And the community members will be happy to teach other, we can learn from each other rather than rely on each other which is the direction that many intentional communities are moving toward. But this doesn’t mean we can’t help each other, that one can’t shine, and it doesn’t mean that it’s not a community. It’s just that it’s a community of personal, individual sovereignity; a place where an individual can be whoever they are and so long as they aren’t hurting anything, anyone around them then what gives, right? It means the philosophy that underlies this community is about complete self-reliance and allowing ourselves and others to be whatever it is they are. Not intruding on the movement of their growth, not projecting ourselves (but if we do we aren’t going to give laws about how to and not to do it). Ever more moving away, not towards this idea of taking advantage of each other. It’s basically a place where people can experience love in the Jiddu Krishnmurti sense of the word. Where we truly care about ourselves and each other. A love also that Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo talks about. That is, “I love you therefore I want you to be happy” that gentle nurturing kind of love. Think about a community that treats each other like this. I think it will be amazing.
So if we come with an attitude of “I’m willing to learn, show me how to do it, so that I won’t need to rely on others to function in my daily life.” This way everyone will get a chance to explore all the different aspects of themselves. And again I have to stress only if they want. Because they’ve helped in getting the community up and running and so they’ve done their part already. It’s a live and let be philosophy but it’s only going to work if it stays at a certain capacity and with everyone on the same page in terms of this philosophy of love (not the perverted sex-cult love but the Jiddu Krishnamurti kind). So we may grow and let go of old identities that say “This isn’t who you are. You aren’t capable of this.” And with this type of consciousness, the driving force I think the possibilities can be remarkable. Because the way intentional communities are moving today, it’s much like the tiny house movement. It’s still the people of means exploiting those who are at the mercy of the system, the system of the way things are which is fundamentally sick. Finding ways to steal their money, finding ways to take advantage of them, constantly looking for ways to take their energy.
After doing a bit of research on some of these intentional communities I asked myself “whose intention is flourishing here?” Usually, it’s about someone (or in some cases a couple or a couple couples) with some land and they already have property on it and they’re either bored (looking to “spice” things up to have their own little cult), or looking for a “creative” way to pay for the labor to create the community of people that they are obviously looking to exploit. Or they have a farm and they want free labor in exchange to gather up “super ambitious people” to make their farm more rich, more industrious, to grow more food, so that they can go and sell it at the farmers market and fill their pockets. Or in some cases, they’ve used “intentional community” in an effort to capitalize off their little cabin, hotel business. Absolutely ridiculous what’s going on. Now, I’m not saying this is always the case. In some cases it’s a group of families who want a community of other children and parents who are like-minded but you get rules like your children need to be vaccinated. And there’s only drinking alcohol at this time and only on these occasions. So already the power is taken away and one is looking for an intentional community to get away from these ridiculous restrictions of society that tells us what we’re capable of, who we are, how we should be conducting ourselves, and all the rest of it. So how can we create a community where we don’t project our values, free from all aspects of “groupthink,” our demands, our will on each other but still function in a harmonious manner to allow each other the gift to live as we are? No leaders, no meetings, none of this nonsense. I’ve thought it out and it seems that to have absolutely no authority is to create the community together, completely. That is, put resources together, obtain land together, build together, everything together otherwise there will be the authority. The one who says “It was my land” or my “my money” – “mine, mine, mine” the stuff that one is trying to get away from. When it’s said and done everything will be divided the same for everyone, same rights, and ownerships of their space and whatever but one should consider that what’s most important isn’t the land but the way of life and the way of life might have to migrate. So the community again has nothing to do with property and exact locations of where said property will be and all that nonsense. First, lets just focus on the coming together as a community in terms of the heart and mind because all the physical, superficial things will follow if we could all just come together and stop being the lone wolf.
If you like we’re I’m headed in the regard of building a community. You can call it SSAC or intentional community frankly it really doesn’t matter. But if any of this resonates with you please feel free to comment below and exchange ideas with each other. And let’s just see where this all takes us. There’s a path to end all suffering and we can help each other get there. We can get there together or alone but for our children’s sake I hope we get there together.
Namaste, As Salam U Alaikum, Shalom, and may peace, love, and happiness be upon you all.