A developing intentional community in SE Arizona
Any group, even one that values Voltaire's "balm of tolerance," will have compatibility issues. Intentional communities will develop their own culture based on shared values, and since there can be a vast number of differing and often incompatible values, applicants will want to consider the group's culture and whether they will fit in.
The group's culture will initially be set in motion by the founders, and since that would be us, Sue and Eric, we'll have to say something about our views and values. For example, while there are no doubt groups that would welcome fundamentalist bible-thumpers (or koran-thumpers), we would prefer such devotees to look elsewhere. Applicants will want to know such things up front.
So here's the philosophical big picture for those it may interest (otherwise feel free to skip to the next section!): The fundamental dialectic in human culture is between belief and inquiry. Inquiry (as in free, curious, and critical) began with the Pre-socratic Greek philosophers in the 6th century BCE, persisted as scattered "candles in the dark" for about a thousand years until the end of the Roman Empire, was snuffed out and successfully suppressed by Christendom for a thousand years, was reborn in the Renaissance, and persists among many scientists, scholars, artists, and assorted "free-thinkers" to today. A belief-based culture and an inquiry-based culture are fundamentally different. For believing minds, conclusions determine what their reasoning shall be. For inquiring minds, reason and evidence determine what their (tentative) conclusions shall be. Believing minds crave certainty, inquiring minds embrace doubt. You either think belief, doctrine, and dogma (your own at least) are good things (Dennett's "belief in belief"), or you don't.
We live within a global culture of belief, we tolerate believers, but our shared values with them are necessarily limited. We prefer to not exclude anyone from consideration—some "believers" would be quite acceptable as being nice counts for a lot. But applicants themselves should consider on which side of the divide they fall, and what sort of persons (atheists? liberals?) they would be comfortable being around. If you have some cherished beliefs, religious or political, and it's vitally important to you to be around people who agree with you, then you should probably look elsewhere.
So that's the big picture, but there's still the devil in the details. We don't smoke, for example, so any indoor smoking would have to be prohibited, and those sharing indoor facilities would have to be non-smokers since smoke clings to hair and clothes. Some limits to personal freedom have to be considered, otherwise one smoker moves in and everyone else would have no choice but to move out. As horrifying as the thought might be, for non-hermits some limitations on doing-your-own-thing must be mutually agreed to.
We also don't use mind altering drugs, legal or otherwise, but a large segment of the population seems to think that the chemically unaltered life is not worth living. If getting high is your thing, then look elsewhere please as we'd prefer not be around those under the influence. Having a glass of wine with dinner would not be an issue. Getting quietly drunk in your room and not coming out until sober, if a rare occurrence, could be overlooked. If you've ever wondered if you might be a user, you probably are and should seek help—but we're not a rehab community.
We happen to be a straight, monogamous couple, so swingers might want to look elsewhere, but a gay couple would not be an issue. Since an applicant might at some point find themselves living with someone who's gay, and if that would be a problem for them, then they need to consider that they might have to move out (or decide not to move in in the first place). Race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and (non-dogmatic) religious interests are non-issues, but culture can be an issue—a militant Islamist would just not fit in. But on the whole, variety adds spice to life.
Nursing, according to opinion polls, is considered the most ethical of professions. As nurses we consider ourselves to be reasonably ethical. If a life of crime appeals to you, you should look elsewhere. We strongly advocate lifelong learning, so if going off on rants about “pointy-headed intellectuals” is your favorite thing, you might want to look elsewhere.
About the only interest we have that might be considered weird (apart from wanting to start a Greek Unorthodox Church of Latter-day Geeks and building a temple to The Unknown Goddess—St. David being a nearby Mormon town) is that we have some concerns that the future of civilization may have some major bumps in the road coming up this century. Bumps that may require Alysion Acres to become a survival retreat. Bumps, for example, like a global pandemic—a real one.
One value we share with our Mormon neighbors is that we're thinking that the ability to be self-sufficient for a year (or more) might not be a bad idea. Having an artesian well is a big plus; having a year (or more) supply of food and essentials would be even better. If for any reason trucks stopped moving goods into our cities, shelves would be bare within a week and after that you don't want to be in the city. We're far from being survivalist nut-jobs (although we own the URL 'thrivalist.org,' so maybe we are thrivalist nut-jobs). We're not thinking the world will end in 2012 for some woo-woo reason, but the next 5-50 years, for a variety of pretty sound reasons (something to do with the exponential function), is at best problematic. If you're certain that the future will just keep getting better and better, then you're probably a little too optimistic for us.
Other issues? Pets that are not a problem are not a problem. No pets, however, can run loose—if for no other reason than the coyotes would eat them. Barking dogs, except perhaps to their owners, are obnoxious, so no, no, and no. If you have a pet, it will be considered, but we'll want to know almost as much about the pet as we do you. Some pets, like some people, just won't fit in.
We've mentioned sex and drugs, so that leaves Rock'n Roll. Your musical tastes will be a non-issuse since residents, being naturally considerate, will not broadcast their music, TV, or other auditory offerings.
Technology can be a wonderful thing and headphones are to be used as needed. The only broadcasting will be by mutual consent, say, for Movie Night between certain hours in the community room, or for a music recital by a resident or guest.
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