A commune is not a fairytale-princess,

To dream of at night

Calculate, contemplate, take aim --

And go, though over trifles.

Communism isn’t only,

Of the land, of the factory in sweat.

He is at home behind the table

In relationships, in family, in existence.


Drag out the future! V. Mayakovsky

We have already been frightened many times by Hollywood films depicting the zombie apocalypse. They say a certain virus falls upon humanity; people become zombies and will view each other as food.  I shall reveal to you a secret: regrettably the zombie apocalypse has already arrived.  I came to this understanding not long ago in the Moscow metro.  Look at people, and they all go about, and almost all have -- a screen before their face. And there’s no point in politely asking in the car: “Are you exiting?” because they cannot hear you: after all there are headphones in their ears!  And they might not notice: the screen of a phone (tablet, computer…) is before their eyes. Recently a friend called from Hong Kong (but China is the lawmaker of modern industry, and a step ahead of the whole world) and he said that there in the streets it’s generally impossible to find even one man, who isn’t fixated by his monitor.  What does this signify? That the main virus that will make people something like “homo iphonus” - this virus is disconnection.  And if before we didn’t recognize our neighbors on the porch, now we sometimes risk not noticing them at all.  While living people sail by us, we look at their photos on the internet, but not them in reality.  Instead of communicating in person, we write to each other, not finding time for meeting.  And this isn’t bad, but it’s necessary to understand disengaged people in less developed areas. Divide and conquer.  With a divided people it is easier.  In moments of crisis, people unite in a community -- this is historical fact.  For example, Israeli kibbutzim.  Now life is calm, rich, estranged...and kibbutzim (communes) have lost their former significance.  It is just like this with us in the country.  A satisfied, rich, comfortable life disintegrates.  And especially, when there is inequality in satisfaction, comfort and wealth.

And what’s to be done? Take now (in any “now,” but especially in the “now” of changing times) the exact time to recall that man is a social creature and lives a community life which is intrinsic to us.  No, of course, it’s not necessary for all to settle down in one house and do everything kolkhoz-style, no.  But treating the virus of division a little would be useful. For example, calling guests to your house. Not on a “skype conference,” gazing into the camera, but in real life, a real-life encounter, to drink tea together, chat dance, read books aloud.  To share something good together.  To not send your children to play an online game, but to the garden, to play some kind of “kazakhs-and-robbers” and if they don’t know how, to go with them and teach them.  And if you yourself don’t know, to rip away mama, papa, and grandmother from the television and discuss.  And generally, it’s necessary to learn together, in one place.  And also to love those, who live with us, because that is what was left to us: live those who are close (living with us), and not those who are far, living far away, where to love is easy.

And so, you create a community or even a network.  You organize clubs, circles, sections.  You talk with living people.  You learn to go out and meet them.  You go visiting and have guests over.  Now there are many virtual communities devoted to interests, and this is good, but in any virtual meeting there must be an actual meeting, in order to keep the virus of disconnect from sneaking in.

One more moment: community-- it’s not just cohabitation, it is more, the aggregation of people with different experiences and expertise; with different experience and knowledge, finding themselves connected to each other.  And it is also a great task.  It’s good to have a large circle of associates, your personal community in which different people are.  I so would separate two types of community: first - there are the people who live in one place and have something in common (I wrote a bit about this in the book “We build a village”), and second - people who something unites, who you can call your circle of associates.  Community.  People outside the money system, outside politics, but who can be useful to each other.  It’s good if each person develops different skills, in order to be able to contribute. The man of the community doesn’t have to go through nonsense at the clinic, he simply visits his friend, the doctor.  Or he asks his friend over.

In the ideal stable community are people, living in close proximity, who have something in common, and at the same time each of them are individuals, and to each his own.  In addition the community supports enough outside communication with different similar groups of people.  Ideally it makes sense to aspire to create a network of stable ecovillages (communities) which can meet, trade, and so on.

For inspiration watch the film Power of community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.  There it tells about the real experience of a real country.  I highly recommend it!

In the community, life is good.  But it is skill and hard work that make it healthy and prosperous.  But it is well worth the effort. And again it is a process.  We strive ‘to’.