The future of RCL and the question of openness

  • 12 May '15

This would be a great place for us all to have a discussion about the future of RCL. I note with interest that some people in Costa Rica, Peru and Oaxaca have thoughts of a greater emphasis on permanent living solutions in our communities, while others maintain the opinion of "complete openness".

I believe communities need permanent residents in order to work, and more can be done within RCL to offer more structure for permanency, while maintaining a certain kind of openness. When complete openness becomes draining in a community, it's not in fact open. Community members might fear new arrivals and their hearts might not be open to receive them... in which case openness is not open at all, and the community might not be socially sustainable. I believe in a structured, controlled openness where a limited number of new arrivals can truly be integrated in the community, even for a short amount of time. But only within the limits of social sustainability.

What is the solution? Should RCL forever mean "complete openness" or can RCL evolve into something slightly different? Should we leave it as it is (with the danger of losing new communities who might feel too restricted by "complete openness") or make some changes? Should we make many kinds of Crystal Lands, still within a network, where the R for Rainbow can mean "complete openness" and other types of Crystal Lands can have different guidelines on issues such as openness?

I like Linux and how the kernel / core of the open source operating system has evolved into hundreds of different operating systems with slightly different purposes, yet maintaining the core values of free as in libre, free as in gratis and open source. Could we see RCL as one such operating system and perhaps define CL as the core?

It would be interesting to hear people's opinions, especially those who have lived in an RCL.

With love
Martin

Sam
  • 1
  • 14 May '15

Hiyaaa! First of all congratulations for this brand new setup, I must say I like it better than the facebook group which was becoming chaotic...Which is the exact same situation I saw during my stay on the RCL in Costa Rica. I felt the gathering of such vibrant different colors of people was a benefit to develop a wider range of interests and possibilities by sharing our visions, but was slowing the process of effectively going deeper into the started projects...
It is very important to see everything that we do done for a purpose, through discipline and meditation, creativity and love, respect and harmony... We can only do so on a social level by harmonizing and sharing a common vision.
I came up with the idea of having a core group of people who agreed to the same vision and dedicate for a certain amount of time to instigate the heart of the project both physically/communally/spiritually... After this time which should be enough for setting up the (Kitchen, effective toilet system, water system, crops sufficient to sustain the small amount of people currently living on spot) in synergy with the vision of the community for this specific project.
This is actually what I am planning to do but I am still at the stage where I want to know what people think of this. Of course after the lapse of time for the so called (pre-permanent land seed camp), the community is fully open but simply asks for a minimum contribution to the plant resources (plant his/her own garden basically) and have a welcoming ceremony at the same time in celebration for the fertility brought to the land... What are your feelings on this? Could it save us some energy regarding the beginning stages and help us get in the serious of things faster and easier...? I reckon it would help over the focusing of the energy of the whole group over fewer projects at the same time...Because being and living together, one and another dont necessarily help eachother work and build, although teamwork and healthy interpersonal relations gets us much further...

  • 19 May '15

Thanks, Sam, and I don't disagree with anything you say. By the way, see the latest News post from Costa Rica to see the importance of this discussion.

I will share briefly what we are doing in the Oaxaca scouting mission, even if we don't yet have a piece of land to live on. We also believe in more focus on permanency for RCLs to work better, yet maintaining openness as a fundamental principle.

Some of us went to the Valley of the Elves to witness how they have been doing things in order to survive and flourish for decades. They have a "house circle" of permanent residents who decide what happens in the community. New people can ask to observe or even participate in the house circle, but to become a full member you have to ask the house circle to consense for your inclusion.

Beyond already operating with a house circle of future permanent residents, very little has been decided in Oaxaca and I don't speak on behalf of anyone else. But I imagine living in a community which is run by the house circle, whose members have to have an equal legal responsibility for the land and the community. Within the limits of SOCIAL (and ecological, of course) SUSTAINABILITY, the community is open to receive visitors, who may ask the house circle to become temporary residents when they feel like giving more energy and going / growing deeper into the community, and finally they may become full members of the house circle, which includes the priviledge to be able to build your own house (which, I suppose, will become communal when you decide to leave the house circle). We feel that the consequences of living in such a way is true openness, even if it may appear to the contrary. This vision will give us peace of mind to truly welcome new arrivals and allow them deeper into our hearts, because we know and trust that we have created a system of inclusion that works. Yes, I'd like to see it as a system of inclusion rather than exclusion! I imagine we will probably operate with limits of total numbers, a limited proportion of visitors / temporary residents / permanent residents, or similar protection mechanisms. And because of that, when someone new turns up, I will be very happy to see them because I trust that the community is able to take care of its social sustainability.

If such a vision is judged to be outside of the RCL vision, we will of course accept that. But we hope, through our possible inclusion in the RCL Network (at some point in the future, when we have land), that our vision will help to give shape to the vision of RCL, and that the whole project can evolve.

We are very interested in discussing our vision with everyone else involved, whether or not your land has "officially" been accepted as an RCL. We are still very excited about RCL and all the possibilities for growth, and we feel very connected with all the other lands.

All thoughts and feelings are welcome. Thank you for sharing.

  • 24 Sep '15

I was just looking at the "rainbow Crystal Land" facebook page and thinking about why the "r" in rainbow is uncapitalized. Who made this change and was it intentional? Is this a message that we need to deemphasize our connection to Rainbow Gatherings? I just watched a video of a Permaculture Design Course taught by a Costa Rican woman in Costa Rica that repeated multiple times that consensus does not work in permaculture communities, yet this is the supposed theme of the RCL in Costa Rica that was logged in the so-called "consensus book":

I intend on expressing my thoughts on this video in talking circle when I return, perhaps in January 2016. Although the tica permaculture teacher does not address it, many agree that transient visitors are less valuable than long term residents in RCL talking circles, which makes consensus unfair. When I return to the Costa Rica RCL, it is likely I will suggest a modified consensus policy that meets the needs of the varying levels of participant commitment. Unless someone has some feedback for me, this modification could reduce RCL affiliation to traditional Rainbow Gatherings and offer a reason for why that "r" is not capitalized.