Comments

  1. Thank you for this uniting vision Charles. I live in a small intentional community, in a northern California location, that is home to numerous well known future-oriented teaching facilities like those you mention. Though I know that they all have some national and international connections nothing is unified and inter-connected enough – but the seeds are there none the less.
    A friend of mine was just telling me yesterday of an idea that she holds of a new “Prophecy” – a vision to hold that counteracts the depressing ones that we are all feeling we are “supposed” to believe.
    I’m currently working on a book with a working title of: Creating Community on Your Own Block. It takes the principles and actions we do in our own 18 person community and extends them to people who may have small and local possibilities of creating a close, connected helping network without the difficult step of actually finding one piece of property to live on. The combinations of finding the land, building the buildings (often illegal to build more than two buildings), figuring out a unified purpose, gathering the people, creating equitable money situations, and on and on makes the Dream of an intentional community very tenuous. The fortitude to continue in the face of all of this and still love the people you are trying to start with is daunting. I say “Just start”. Be the connected people you know you are and start creating right where you live. No matter if one household is conservative, or even liberal (!), and you don’t think you’ll “groove”. Just start. We are all humans and we all need to feel we belong and that we are contributing to a more beautiful world. All of us…
    Thank you for all you do!

  2. I left high school for university in 2013 but I was in the same situation as you. I also “didn’t have a particular ambition” or desire to go down a certain path. Going to the best university in the world, which others would salivate at, was just what I had to do to “do things properly”. It was expected of me; because it was so “easily” within my reach (just do well on some technical mathematical questions), it would have been embarrassing not to go. I also wasn’t aware of alternatives. It seemed like the thing to do. But I was also not entirely happy about it. I didn’t positively enjoy it, it wasn’t what I myself wanted to do.

    Maybe I will have to “wait for sons” for my own “nebulous intuitions” about what’s really worth doing to solidify. Maybe not literally sons, but it reminds me that it may take some cultivating and fermenting and
    “…a long long time, only time can help
    and patience, and a certain difficult repentance
    long difficult repentance …”

  3. To echo what several others have already said here, this resonates with me so deeply and describes beautifully just the way I feel called to serve.

  4. ooof! takes my breath away. these thoughts are as clear and practical as they are visionary and inspirational. thank you for the boost of morale i am feeling!

  5. A new technology of reunion (which I think of as a technology of wholeness) is the evolving knowledge around “wise democracy” – power, participation and wisdom of, by , and for the whole. What does that mean? How do we DO that? A few of us have sorted various dimensions of this into a fabric of design principles/considerations each one of which has about a dozen different practices or resources attached to it. We don’t yet have a curriculum or “place” where people can learn and develop this technology together, but we have created a great starting place at http://wd-pl.com to which readers are invited – to which we have added freely downloadable cards to use to learn and apply the associated ideas. Folks will find LOTS to explore there and an opportunity to become part of a “community of practice” (or “transformational learning community” = TLC) into whose hands/minds/hearts the whole project will evolve. This is a strand of social DNA awaiting your exercises in replication and evolution…

  6. I have this dream every now and then. It started a couple years ago (that I can remember) and it keeps evolving over time every time I dream of it. I’m touched to read this and find such resonance with what’s being built in those visions…indeed feels like “something that wants to happen”. Cheers!

  7. Amazing. I have actually just been imagining lately an “Institute for Sacred Economics.” Who knows, maybe this is something that will actually be born soon!!

  8. Thanks Charles. Had never thought of this! Some of it I initially and predictably found new and strange….a good sign! Now it makes great sense. It is great that you have opened up this path, this possibility.

    I

  9. I have recently become aware of something called Nature and Forest Therapy (Shinrin-Yuko) and a possibility of becoming a Guide right here within the forest we steward so that people could come and connect with the forest and natural world. The forest is the therapist. I feel strongly drawn to this concept and will continue to explore this possibility.

    It probably is not a coincidence that I recently read your book – The Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible – while being the support person for my family’s annual reforestation project. My 2 sons (self-educated free spirit style at home) and husband and I plant about 3,000 seedling trees each year on land that was previously pasture for cattle. We will probably complete that effort in another 2 seasons.

    We have created a special trust for this forest to protect its wild nature and hope to obtain a conservation easement for it before our lives have completed.

    Please keep sharing your thoughts about tomorrow’s world that our heart’s know is possible. I believe it will inevitably arrive to create a world that works for all of us.

  10. Thanks for this inspiring writing. I am part of an effort to create something very close to what you define as a ‘Institutes for Technologies of Reunion’ it is called UniTerra. very close to Barcelona (Spain). The web isn’t yet available.

  11. Thank you! This is so clarifying! I have had this in the back of my head name-less, form-less, word-less, but you have made it as clear as day. This is the path I want to offer to thousands hopefully millions in my country, Guatemala. I would love to focus them (the research centers, at least 12 across the country) on Urban Reunion Technologies. Thank you from the wholeness of my heart!

    • Thank you, Charles
      As usual, when you point to your life experiences they bring up and reflect my own. The system you describe to address the failings we felt when we were “getting educated” fits the needs quite precisely: Each must come to his and her own about what their own personal interests are, and – more importantly – how to go about satisfying them while keeping alive the enthusiasm that such personal curiosity generates.

      Several days ago, I began my 9th decade, and the one acre property where I live continues to evolve into a working/living area where – when I leave – it will become a place used by residents for the benefit of the community. Essentially, the land is to be a resource of learning and doing. innovating, and creating; the very stuff I wish were around when you and I were growing up.

      Kike,
      Having spent nearly 3 years in Panajachel, Solala, (“dropped out” from the USA in the early 70s) I’m very interested in the groups of 12 innovators you know in Guatemala. Perhaps we might connect, and spread the Reunion.

      peace,
      greg in altadena, CA

  12. A beautiful articulation of the alternative university which is in the process of being born:

    “an organic, decentralized network of programs; a distributed university, organizationally diverse, united by a common purpose. Young people spend a month here, a summer there, a week somewhere else, a year in another place, exploring different programs and weaving them together into a coherent education. Over four years, they develop the skills to find a place in a regenerative, holistic system.

    Also in this time they forge lifelong bonds with people who will be deep allies”

    I left my conventional career track to nurture the emergence of this new interoperable system of loosely connected learning opportunities. I call it Gilded, a marketplace for on-demand skill development, which connects learners with employers and training providers. I use that language because the initial entry point is community colleges and trade schools that are in a position to respond to industry workforce needs, specifically vocational skills. We push many people into a college track who would do much better in a hands-on learning environment. They even find greater economic empowerment and financial security with these skills.

    But the goal isn’t to stop with developing this new infrastructure — or interstate highway system — for vocational career pathways. Once the infrastructure is in place, it can be opened up to other segments. It simply becomes a distributed network of learning opportunities, where learners discover pathways as they emerge and support their peers.

    I agree that distinct moments of transition need to be ritualized, but the whole notion of four years of learning and graduation is dead. It’s not a part of the alternative narrative, in my opinion.

  13. The egocentricity experiment with human design has run its course – its climax is our confluence of crises. Virtually all system solutions and ascension paths proposed by even the most enlightened among us fail to breach egocentricity’s stronghold. The forecast for our imminent extinction is well founded and arguably certain unless we become something new. Metamorphosis is appropriate terminology here. At this Moment in history, ages of humanity can be metaphorically distilled into a litter of newborn kittens, blind from birth, whose eyes are now poised to open onto their world for the very first time….are we ready? This is our evolution.

    Relieving humanity of egocentricity’s bondage by consensus is impossible. Political proposals are hopelessly impotent. We need metamorphic catalysts immediately – means and methods to efficiently transmute egocentricity and profoundly evoke our innate senses of interdependence and compassion. Accelerating selfless (ego free) Love for oneself, one another, Gaia, and the Universe is the principal component at the root of all such action. Progress must manifest virally – just as news that ‘War is Over’ will spread like wildfire. Time is ticking. This is our evolution.

    …..well?

    https://bohobeau.net/2016/07/24/care-to-evolve/

  14. While Christianity was severely distorted by early marriage to empire, and thus did more than its fair share of helping to create the mess we are in, what about the possibility of transforming the numerous dying churches, unfortunately often the more open-minded ones, into centers of alternative learning and wisdom along the lines you envision? Just a thought here about one option, immediately available, for finding sacred places to ground some of these new transformative communities. I make this suggestion as a member of the clergy who belongs to such a church, which is close to either closing down or reincarnating as something other than a mainline Protestant institution. Indeed, there would even be some continuity to strengthen such a transition from church to institute for technology of reunion, because at the unorthodox margins of the Christian tradition can be found bedrock for blending spirituality with ecological passion. Has anyone come up with a better meme for a sustainable and compassionate world than Schweitzer’s distillation of all religion into the elemental, universal value of reverence for life?

    • Newton, this is a very interesting idea. Where is it that you are a member of the clergy? Daniel Smith, Leverett Mass.

  15. Yes, this is great. As important as they are, I think this idea can go much further than intentional communities, because it opens the effort up to much more diverse and indeterminate networks, more experimentation, exchange, and working with relationship at all scales–i.e., all scales expanding out from a given institute or network of institutes.

  16. Thank you, Charles. I am again amazed by the depth of your thinking into all these areas. I have wanted to connect just to let you know that from before the time I met with you in Germany I have been recommending your last book to all my supporters and everyone I meet, and I am now recommending it and your website to my sons , 41 and 37, beneficiaries of our standard university education, Tokeem an engineer out of MIT who has made his own business translating German technological materials, and Tashin who graduated from an early ed. college at 18 Summa cum laude with a thesis on “Marx and Feminism.” It is such a relief to read you and know you are there and helping re-union along when at 88 I am not sure how much I will see of that before I check out. Meanwhile I have just finished the first draft of a new book ‘A Permaculture of the Heart’ about all the good work being independently developed in the last 3 decades in the area of helping people and relationships to flourish at their best.

  17. A wonderful and timely article. Thank you Charles. My sons are signed up for the conventional university route. If I can help them see the narrative we live and breathe for what it is – just one narrative – then the possibility of others naturally arises. Your work helps enormously.

    On a different note I wonder if we should set aside and celebrate a reunion day. A sacred day to enjoy and give thanks for all that reunites. I can see downsides too (commercialisation and attendant cheapening) but thought to throw it out there as an idea.

  18. You help give a voice to what is a screaming silence in this world.

    It is my life’s work to be a part of creating an ‘alternative university’ as you describe it and I truly believe it can be the one thing that ‘saves the world,’ as cliche’ and naive as that may sound.

    Looking forward to bumping into you in the process, brother.

  19. What a marvellous dissertation. What a wonderful explosion and expansion of my consciousness. Thank you so much for writing like this.

  20. Very inspiring, thank you!

    Does anyone here know of an intentional community of the type that Charles describes in New York or New Jersey? Or even a town where these kind f values are practiced..

  21. I feel deep appreciation and excitement that you put these ideas out in a substantial way. I have recently been in the same field of consciousness and weeks ago (probably synchronized with your thinking on this, Charles) I compiled a list of qualities that would be embodied in a school where I would want to teach. Many of the qualities you list are the same ones I’ve included – and you have some great new ones for me to ponder. Something you didn’t write about, but I think resonates with the Institutes for Reunion is to not isolate or “mono-crop” by age but rather create diverse learning communities where elders and children can learn together with college age students (One of the best teaching experiences I had was the most diverse one, at a community college with diversity of every sort including age – high school age to senior citizens in the class, and it was a generous class spirit due to this diversity.)
    I have been dreaming of starting such a school in a very small, organic way but dream that it will eventually include abundant light, plants and animals, and a totality of experience that nourishes the body, mind, spirit, with the whole result of revitalizing and invigorating (rather than depleting and competing). It breaks my heart that our typical institutions are not sustainable for our mind/body/spirit. Still, I wouldn’t want to “throw the baby out with the bath water” when it comes to “higher” education. For example, I think about how I got to where I am and see that it included some moments I liken to an old-growth forest. Because we so often consider learning to be encased in time (a semester) we limit ourselves. My moments of educational nourishment were not confined to time. When a giant tree falls and becomes a nurse log it creates life that extends beyond the scope of the duration of it’s “lifespan.” For me, my transformative education moments included love within/beyond a nourishing intellectually rich community where teachers and faculty saw who I really was and empowered me to choose my path and articulate my vision. They included spontaneity and joy – a faculty who broke out dancing when that was not the point of the meeting! These qualities still exist in education, and are embodied within many of the faculty with great, generous heart who remain committed to giving back to the next generation. Yet I also see fear of lawsuits and threats of job loss as a way that these spontaneous, heart felt moments when faculty get “weird” or “out there” as a major loss and something I want to bring back. It is not a coincidence that this mentor of mine also taught classes on Wildness. The aim of mainstream academia to perpetuate the status-quo, with pseudo “breakthroughs” that come from things like military grant funding, is ripe for deep and substantial transition. I was recently a lead administrator at creating a new major that was interdisciplinary and restorative for the environment and social justice (one in the same.) The institution I am a currently part of couldn’t really see this through because of a budget crisis. It was deeply troubling that the initiative exists to transform education from within and yet it’s not where the money is, per se. Not yet anyway. I appreciate your giving articulation to these vital ideas around helping youth to fully emerge into their power as adults in a way that restores communities and our sacred earth. I am on this journey along with many of you. May we all more fully re-connect and allow our heartfelt vision for a revitalized form of education to bear many fruits.

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