What is an "Intentional Community"?
from: "Intentional Communities: Lifestyles Based on Ideals"  by Geoph Kozeny of Community Catalyst Project, San Francisco, California http://www.ic.org/pnp/cdir/1995/01kozeny.html
                An "intentional community" is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common
                purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. The people
                may live together on a piece of rural land, in a suburban home, or in an urban neighborhood, and they
                may share a single residence or live in a cluster of dwellings.

                This definition spans a wide variety of groups, including (but not limited to) communes, student
                cooperatives, land co-ops, cohousing groups, monasteries and ashrams, and farming collectives.
                Although quite diverse in philosophy and lifestyle, each of these groups places a high priority on
                fostering a sense of community--a feeling of belonging and mutual support that is increasingly hard to
                find in mainstream Western society.

                Intentional communities are like people--you can categorize them based on certain distinguishing
                characteristics, but no two are ever identical. Differences among them, whether obvious or subtle, can
                be attributed to variations in philosophy, in mission or project emphasis, in behavioral norms, or in the
                personality and style of the leaders (if the group has identified leaders), and the individual members.
                Each group is somehow unique.

                The scope of their primary values is equally broad, including ecology, equality, appropriate
                technology, self-sufficiency, right livelihood, humanist psychology, creativity, spirituality, meditation,
                yoga, and the pursuit of global peace. However, even among groups that base their philosophy on
                "achieving a holistic view of the world," it would be quite surprising to discover a community that has
                achieved "perfection" amidst the fast-paced chaos of modern life. Communities draw their membership
                from society at large, and those members bring with them generations of social conditioning. The
                attitudes, behaviors, and institutions prevalent in the broader society--including the very things we seek
                alternatives to--are a significant part of our upbringing. Merely identifying a problem and expressing a
                desire to overcome it does not mean that we presently have the perspective or skills needed to
                transcend it. The problems we see "out there" in the mainstream--greed, dishonesty, excessive ego, lack
                of self-esteem, factionalism, inadequate resources, poor communication skills, you name it--all manage
                to find a significant role in alternative cultures as well.

                What is encouraging about many intentional communities is their tendency to be open to new ideas, their
                willingness to be tolerant of other approaches, and their commitment to live in a way that reflects their
                idealism. Although communities exist that are close-minded and bigoted, they're the exception, not the
                rule. More often than not, people who consciously choose to live in an intentional community also have
                parallel interests in ecology, personal growth, cooperation, and peaceful social
                transformation--pursuing the work necessary to change destructive attitudes and behaviors often taken
                for granted in the prevailing culture.

                Among secular communities, the inspiration is typically based on bold visions of creating a new social
                and economic order--establishing replicable models that will lead to the peaceful and ecological
                salvation of the planet. In some cases, however, secular groups may opt for isolation, seeking to escape
                the problems of the rest of the world by creating instead a life of self-sufficiency, simplicity, and
                serenity.

                Most members of intentional communities share a deep-felt concern about home, family, and
                neighborhood. Beyond the obvious purpose of creating an extended-family environment for raising a
                family, communities create an environment of familiarity and trust sufficiently strong that doors can
                safely be left unlocked. In today's world of escalating crime, merely having that kind of security may be
                reason enough to join.


Remark: After twenty five years of trying to establish an 'Intentional Community' I have given up this concept and will try
now to find another form to realize projects in 'togetherness' with people. From my experience I can say that the concept
of an 'IC' can work only for a certain time, but then it will not give anymore satisfaction being identified with it and people
will look for a different way in their living situation. This became very clear when I observed again and again that people came
here with the expectation to live the concept of an 'IC' and then were disappointed when reality didn't meet their images they
had brought with them. A very few could drop their images and expectations and confront the situation and with this also find
themselves, - the majority just left, - disappointed. So now I have changed the 'frame' of FalconBlanco and have founded a
'Non profit Organization' with clear goals (which will be described in the statutes). And so people who come here can engage themselves and participate to realize these goals... In a way nothing has changed how we live our daily life and how we respond to it and to eachother. Important seems to be that we strive for the same goals and direct our energy...
BeiYin
back to index page