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Natural Awakenings Austin

SPONSORED: The Myth of Utopia vs Intentional Communities

Nov 04, 2019 01:48PM ● By Cat Carrel

By Maria Vidal

Utopia was a political essay based on stories told by Raphael Hythloday, a world traveler who accompanied Amerigo Vespucci in several of his voyages. The author, Sir Thomas Moore, would specifically ask Hythloday about the different types of government that he encountered in his trips. One of the places he described was a man-made island called Utopia. It was a nation with a superior society that based decisions on rational thought, with communal property, great productivity, no rapacious love of gold, no real class distinctions, no poverty, little crime or immoral behavior, religious tolerance and little inclination to war.

These ideologies are inherent in any person that can successfully live and thrive in an Intentional Community. However, the realization of those values requires a struggle against our pride, selfishness, envious and explosive nature. It is a never-ending process that helps us flourish as individuals. Before you consider living in an Intentional Community you need to answer these two questions:  Am I willing to work on my shortcomings? And, can I do so within the environment provided in that community?

These are difficult questions. The good thing is that before you move into an intentional community, you should be able to get a gut feeling about people and environment. Also, there are documents that give you the option to buy property in the community and explain the conditions of the membership. Very similar to researching residential real estate, you make phone calls, visit and discuss financial details. Remember that not only you are looking for the ideal place to live, but the community is qualifying you. 

The word ‘utopia’ is not paired up with ‘impossible’ in the Thesaurus.  The synonyms given are “ideal”, “paradise”,  “heaven” and so on.  Most of us in America believe in heaven but raise an eyebrow when we hear talk about “utopic communities.”  Images come to our mind of religious cults and despots. Or, we remember the images of the hippies, living happily together on the side of a mountain, waiting for the next concert to start. 

Intentional communities are neither. You have nothing to lose by researching the topic of co-housing and more specifically, explore the set-up of residential co-ops and intentional communities in your area.   This is not about affordable housing, it is about living a better life, creating community and, in time of crisis, supporting each other as a chosen family.

Maria Vidal, developer of Buenavida, can be contacted at [email protected]

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