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Novella Preface

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Should You Read This Novella?

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Chapter One: O Brave New World


      When Elbridge Henry and Diotima Mason decided to build a commonwealth community there were at that time 18.6 million homes in America standing empty, the highest number in U.S. history.

      The criminal cabal that had seized control of America in the early decades of the twentieth century had looted $3 trillion from US taxpayers from war profiteering invasions and over $23 trillion in bailouts of criminal financial enterprises. Banks and mortgage companies had defrauded workers of $10 to $15 trillion in mortgage payments and the value of their repossessed homes, but the workers were being fobbed off with $300 "relief" payments--which it turned out had to be repaid in the following year in taxes.

      In America at that moment in time--because of the capitalist "system:"

  • Every 2 minutes a baby was born into poverty.

  • Every 7 minutes a baby was born at low birth weight.

  • Every 15 minutes a baby was born to a mother who received late or no prenatal care.

  • Every hour a baby died before turning one.

      Diotima and Elbridge were among the few Americans who realized that the U.S. had become a totalitarian police state, debased into a militaristic aggressor nation, and its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq pretexts for war profiteering and world economic conquest. America had fallen to the status of a global destroyer and American Constitutional freedoms were being decimated on an ongoing basis.

      From their continuing study of the world situation, Elbridge and Diotima understood that capitalism is a totally failed, unfixable system which is rapidly destroying the world through murder and corruption. People worldwide, they discerned, must arrive at the awareness that fascist capitalism is no longer an acceptable or viable economic system. Once humans realized global capitalism's annihilative malevolence, two responses became possible:

  • Performing acts of revolutionary violence to hasten the breakdown of the capitalist political-economic system

  • Creating an alternative, humane system to replace capitalism

      The first of these alternatives (revolutionary violence) was being proposed by authors such as Derrick Jensen and many others. Jensen and his ilk also believed that no structural patterns were necessary because something magical called "the land" would teach workers how to build a new society.

"Over the years I have been criticized because I do not suggest models by which people should live. 'You're only interested in tearing things down,' some people say, 'not in providing alternatives.'

"I do not provide alternatives because there is no need. . . Once civilization is gone, once it is only a terrible terrible memory, the land, too, will teach us how to live." 1

      Diotima and Elbridge were intent on avoiding what they considered the insanity of revolutionary violence. Their intent was to peacefully replace capitalism with a new commonwealth order. So this retired American couple decided to do something to try to save America from devastation by predatory capitalism.

      They knew that it would be impossible to transform, in a single step, the entire nation from production-for-profit capitalism into a production-for-use commonwealth system because the cabal would never relinquish their total control of U.S. economic and political power. Most American people, they realized, are so conditioned by capitalist principles of greed, corruption, and unbridled competition, that they lack the values and skills required for a cooperative society. The only way to move toward a commonwealth would be to create a series of successful small cooperative communities and gradually leaven the larger society.

"Almost without exception, everything society has considered a social advance has been prefigured first in some utopian writing."

David L. Cooperrider, Appreciative Inquiry


That Hath Such People In It!

      They understood that the majority of Americans had been debased into mental morons by the cabal's destruction of the entire American educational system and through brainwashing and propaganda. So they didn't suffer from the naive delusion that the workers of the world would suddenly, somehow miraculously, come awake to their devastation by global capitalism and seize the reins of political and economic power, spontaneously creating a beneficent Brave New World.

      Diotima and Elbridge agreed with Erich Fromm that "a new society is possible only if, in the process of developing it, a new human being also develops . . . if a fundamental change occurs in contemporary Man's character structure."

      Both Elbridge and Diotima had been involved in small experimental communities in the 1970s so they knew from personal experience that building a genuine cooperative group requires screening and training. Only the appropriate kind of person could participate effectively in a cooperative community, so persons would need to be screened and then successfully complete a carefully-designed training program. What had wrecked all the American nineteenth and twentieth century small community experiments had been untrained, presumptuous, egomaniacal participants who believed they knew enough without needing any prior training.

      Their previous experience in small communities had also convinced them that only competent, successful persons are capable of effective participation in cooperative ventures. Engaging in their accustomed mode of dialectical interchange in considering this question, Diotima and Elbridge concluded that a person or a couple would need to have exceptional reasoning capabilities and substantial net holdings to be involved in the commonwealth community they were building, willing to invest $50,000 in the enterprise. They didn't want to be forced to deal with irrational, incompetent persons who had not been intelligent and resourceful enough to attain a high degree of personal development and success--hence the screening test and training program.

      Diotima and Elbridge understood that requiring members to attain proven capability in progressive awareness (critical thinking, self-awareness, and critical consciousness) essentially meant that the cooperative commonwealth communities would be planned, created, and sustained by what Plato had described as philosopher-rulers. All members of the communities would possess the intellectual, emotional, and moral qualities of philosopher-savants.


Co-Creation

          Diotima and Elbridge understood fully what a miracle it was that they had been able to discover each other and then find that they were so concordant in thought, sensibility, and action that they were able to develop a dyadic, 2 co-creative unity in all aspects of their life together. They constituted a cooperative commonwealth community in themselves.

      In Pythagorean/Platonic philosophy, the transition from one to two, from the monad to the dyad, represents the first step in the process of creation--unity polarizing within itself becoming duality. Three, the triad, represents continuing creativity into an unlimited domain. One contains the seed, and two introduces potential. Three brings extension into being, allowing the potential contained within the monad, the dyad, and the triad to manifest into true expression, the world of plurality and multitude.

      The concept of a cooperative commonwealth community was Elbridge's and Diotima's joint creation, developed through ongoing participation in dialectical interchange. They understood that the expansion of the ontology of the community from a dyad to a triad 3 would be an essential, substantive step forward: the realization and population of the community beyond the initial co-creators.

      They found it interesting to think of the appearance of a tetrad: a group or arrangement of four.

      The best way for them to create a new community, Elbridge and Diotima decided, was to announce their plans on the Internet, inviting applicants, and then develop a screening and training program with which to select candidates and train them in the attitudes, sensibilities, and skills essential to the success of the community.

      Once they had screened and trained a small group, they would move to a small town, continue announcing the community on the Internet, screen and train new applicants, creating the structure for the community, and gradually take control of the town, transforming it into a commonwealth community. There wouldn't be anything underhanded about this procedure. As members were screened, trained, and admitted to the cooperative, they would unostentatiously buy homes and businesses or professional enterprises in the town, becoming residents and active citizens.

      They placed the cooperative community announcement on their Internet blog site and began almost immediately to receive applications for membership.

      The expansion of the diadic community of two--Diotima and Elbridge--to a triadic reality, they discovered, was much more challenging and difficult than they had anticipated. The majority of "applications" they received were of this debased nature:

1. "I would like to point out that I consider this a mutual application. That is, both of the parties involved are in a mutual discussion (or perhaps dialogue) aiming at the truth. . . (A long, irrelevant description of the person's background followed.)

"My goal of the this [sic] email is to connect with like minded individuals. I hope to receive an email back and perhaps engage in discussion and dialogue. I do not necessarily seek to become a member of this community for obvious reasons. Such as I am in the process of attaining a college degree. I seek to become an engineering scientist. That does not necessarily mean I will conform to orthodox science, nor to irrational quantum mysticism, simply enough I will unravel truth through the scientific method."


2. "Hi Henry,
I passed your sites [sic] screening test with a score of 14/15. It was easy to do as the Coop's views and mine are very similar on all fronts. . . I do not want to take up much of your time now as I am not financially in a position to make formal application and, at 56 with a couple of health dings against me, I may also be disqualified on that grounds [sic]. . . I know I have not touched on why I think I might be a good candidate other than to say we agree, but I hope you will nonetheless respond to my email. I am seriously concerned over the direction the U.S. is headed in and worried for my sons. I also want to know that it is possible to have successful societies that are far more equitable than the capitalist nightmare we are all in now in this "each man for himself" reality."

      Fortunately, there were a few applications from intelligent, creative persons such as Emily Blake:

Personal Data: Age 52; female; Caucasian; Independent (not Democrat or Republican); college degree in creative writing; formerly a technical writer, now a licensed real estate salesperson and broker; Santa Rosa, CA

Religious affiliation: Raised a Baptist, now associated with no organized religion; have not been involved in a spiritual or metaphysical program

Medical and psychological state: No ongoing medical problems, not currently and never previously involved in a psychological, counseling, or psychotherapeutic program or a medical regimen (such as anti-depressants); sexual orientation: heterosexual

Overall goals and expectations in participating in this enterprise: Desire to help build a cooperative community as delineated in the novella; hope to help others respond to capitalist genocide by creating a commonwealth culture

Sense of "discontent" I've experienced that leads me to apply for acceptance into this enterprise: Constant financial tension and uncertainty due to capitalist dog-eat-dog egomania; lack of meaningful relationships and cooperative activity

Achievements: I've worked my way out of a background of reactionary religious and social dogmatism to a position of rational awareness of myself and my world.

Relationships: I was married for a short time and then divorced. The marriage was based on unreal expectations and mutual dependency. As I've become more emotionally and intellectually independent I've formed only a few relationships with men and women I respect. My mother and father are deceased and I have only a distant relationship with my one brother (a Republican).


The Triad

      Emily flew through the screening and training program without a hitch and they were able to complete her preparation with a final face-to-face dialectical interchange. Emily had suggested that a section of the training program should deal with authentic versus inauthentic authority. When Elbridge and Diotima agreed and asked Emily if she'd like to construct just such a test, she was happy to follow through.

      When the next applicant passed the initial screening and testing, Diotima, Elbridge, and Emily engaged in the initial dialectical interchange with the candidate named Justin Brunkin. Justin lived in Athens, Georgia, worked as a manager of a storage facility, and had recently received an inheritance of $120,000 from his widowed mother. His educational and work history were minimally acceptable and his net financial worth was limited to the money he'd inherited. From his answers on the screening tests, Justin appeared to understand the conceptual principles of the CCC enterprise and seemed eager to participate in building a commonwealth community, so they decided to invite him to participate in an initial dialectical interchange via Internet chat.

      The failure of Justin to perform acceptably in the initial dialectical interchange meant that as yet only Diotima, Elbridge, and Emily constituted the commonwealth community. But they were aware of the miraculous nature of their triad and moved ahead to build the enterprise.

      Now that there were three persons involved in the cooperative commonwealth community, they could begin to think of where they wanted to locate.

      Diotima and Elbridge were then living in La Mesa, a small city just east of San Diego. The municipal Web site described La Mesa as"the "Jewel of the Hills." But La Mesa's population was 58,000 and Diotima and Elbridge wanted to start their cooperative community in a small town of not over 3,000 population.

      Emily, Diotima, and Elbridge decided they wanted to remain in California. Elbridge and Diotima had both grown up in the Midwest and had had enough of cold, bleak weather for a lifetime. After extensive search on the Internet for the ideal small town in California, they narrowed their choices to three locations: one in Humboldt county, one in Sonoma county, and the third in San Luis Obispo county. The three visited each town, remaining for several days in a local motel to get the feel of the population and the locale.

      They finally selected the small town of Outlook in San Luis Obispo county, because its population was just under 3,000, the people seemed pleasant and friendly, and a citizens' group in the town had recently succeeded in forcing the repurchase of its municipal water system from a European corporation that had bought it in 2002 during a state-wide privatization mania.

      Being single, Emily was able to relocate immediately in an apartment. She joined a small real estate office near Outlook and began to assist Elbridge and Diotima to find a suitable home. They traded their costlier home in La Mesa for a larger-size, smaller-priced foreclosed home in excellent condition in Outlook. The home included thirty acres, sitting back from the road, with trees surrounding it, and bordering a small creek.

      Two of the required features of the property they bought was that it have its own spring with potable water and solar panels on the house roof providing most of the electricity for personal use. Elbridge and Diotima realized that the cabal ruling America could at any time provoke a total economic-political breakdown, so they planned for their personal and community survival.

Somewhere

      In reply to their announcement, they received the kind of responses they'd anticipated. The screening test linked to the Cooperative Community announcement appeared to work as planned. Using Internet document hit counters, they determined that about the same number who read the announcement went on to take the screening test, but less than half of the people who took the screening test passed it and went on to apply for the training program. Several irate persons emailed to call them communists, elitists, or fascists; another declaimed that she was not in need of any training in anything, since she was a member of Mensa, thank you very much! The negative responses convinced Emily, Diotima, and Elbridge even more of the need for a screening and training process.

      During the first few months they received a score of serious replies from persons who appeared to understand what they were doing, and they kept pouring in. A real overlookOver a dozen applicants proceeded through the screening and training procedures, bringing them to the final phase: being invited for a personal interview. A few persons failed in the training program, retaining their delusion that freedom meant believing whatever they felt like believing, repudiating the need for proof or evidence for their ideas.

      Elbridge, Diotima, and Emily interviewed the next applicants--a couple named Patrick and Julia Mercer--while they were still living in a motel in Outlook, speaking with them while they all lounged on a lofty aerie perched on a mile-high ridge not far from Outlook that Diotima and Elbridge had discovered during their hiking trips.

      Julia was a high school science and mathematics teacher and Patrick was an information systems technician with a Tulsa telecommunications firm. Patrick and Julia had never before experienced dialectical interchange, and they were fascinated by how the process created an atmosphere of extraordinarily open, honest communication while generating an enigmatic joining of psyches in a type of mystical oneness.

      Emily, Elbridge, and Diotima explained that they employed dialectical interchange during the online chat part of the training program and would be using the same process to interview and train all applicants for the cooperative community, since it allowed them to discern a person's essence.

      Julia and Patrick completed the training program and were tentatively admitted into the cooperative. They were excited about the prospect of joining Diotima, Emily, and Elbridge in the enterprise and asked what would be their next step. They had enough money saved to carry them through the transition phase, so they could begin the process of selling their home in Tulsa while preparing for the move to Outlook. Julia decided that before returning to Tulsa she would apply for a full- or part-time teaching position in the local high school. The company Patrick worked for had a nearby branch and he applied for and received confirmation of a transfer.

      Patrick and Julia looked at a number of homes, using Emily as their real estate agent, and found just the right home for their--and the cooperative's--needs.

      Over a period of six months, Emily, Diotima, and Elbridge interviewed and trained nineteen persons, accepting thirteen of the nineteen: five couples and three individuals. They selected applicants based on their specific skills and their attitudes toward cooperative living. The list of applicants continued to grow, but they decided to complete the relocation of the persons already tentatively admitted. The relocation and initial participation in forming the cooperative would constitute a further evaluation process. It had been made clear to all persons that they had been tentatively accepted but that final admission would occur when the cooperative had been formed and all members had voted them into full membership.

      All persons tentatively admitted to the cooperative agreed to proceed on that basis and within another six months they had all relocated to Outlook. Elbridge, Emily, and Diotima began meeting regularly with these thirteen people to define, plan, and create the commonwealth cooperative. One of the prerequisite readings for this process was Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward.




To Chapter Two



Notes:

1 Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. II, Resistance, 2001, p. 889

2 It's interesting that dyad is defined as:

3 A triad is defined as:
  • "A union of three closely related or associated persons, beings, or things"
  • "A trinity"
  • "A chord of three tones consisting of a root with its third and fifth and constituting the harmonic basis of tonal music"