As I wrote in my last blog post, I have been putting most of my thoughts in writing on Facebook. I have been surprised lately, to see how often my thoughts are repeats of what I’ve written before. Usually, when I post, my ideas seem like they are fresh creations of the moment, rather than something which has been pulled up from the past. The theme of ‘power’ has been a constant. I wonder sometimes, if I’m like an uncle of mine who I remember as having a one-track mind. On Sunday mornings, he would stand and offer a sermon with the same topic based on the same biblical passage –
“A woman shall not wear men’s clothing, neither shall a man put on women’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to Yahweh your God.” (Deut. 22:5).
Apparently, in his mind, all social problems were related to the disobedience of this law. OK, so I admit that, in my mind, there is nothing that isn’t in some way related to power. But that is because I see the universe as constituted by experiential relationships which require power to come into being. Therefore, power is absolutely related to everything. I also believe many of our ideas about power are fundamentally flawed which isn’t necessarily sinful (maybe pathological?), and I do see a connection between our ideas about power and social problems. And environmental problems. And economic problems. And, as it goes without saying, political problems.
Well, this blog is dedicated to Neighbors Gatherings and therefore, staying consistently in my track, requires me to write about power in connection to my subject. There are hints of this connection on my Neighbors Gathering website (which I will exploit in future blogs), but I discovered it this morning in a post on FB from three years ago. >> I am an anarchist.<<
I didn’t understand the connection at the time, so when I was asked in the comments following by my friend, William,
“As a ‘REALIST’ AND PRAGMATIST I need a model of a society that impliments relational power. Cultural inertia is a fact. That fact opposes any sudden change unless there is a compelling change in the social environment, eg. a Pearl Harbor kind of incident. Perhaps the soon to be experienced global effects of climate change would bring about the conditions where the need for cooperation is paramount…. I do NOT have a model to even suggest which is why I need to have one.”
it didn’t even occur to me to suggest Neighbors Gatherings as a model of communities based on relational power. I knew that Neighbors Gatherings were different from other forms of neighborhood associations (usually legally defined) and what I have experienced in organizations in general. Now I’ve come to realize that Neighbors Gatherings is not an organization. But, I didn’t necessarily have the language tools to describe the difference. For instance, I’ve always used the term “community” to describe what I was trying to create but recently ran across the term “communitas” which helps to describe the difference. And, several years ago, I didn’t know anything about what ‘anarchy’ meant (other than the popular misconception), and now it has become a self-label.
So, with new tools, and hopefully more clarity, I’ll go back to what I’ve written in the past, make some revisions, and perhaps come up with something new and fresh. And, I have to admit, I do it with a sense of urgency, or a sense of mission which may be due to the apocalypticism I was exposed to as a child. But be that as it may, it is part of me, I think it is justified, and I cannot help but express it.