Monday, May 14, 2012


It is a question these 5 people are seeking to answer for themselves.  All are Individualist---(some extreme) engaged in this bold experiment of separate/togetherness.

One thing is already clear---the dogs love it.  Here Luke and Coffee girl have fun.
Poncho, the 17 yr old poodle is beyond such rough housing and prefers to be cuddled by Boonie.

Ah but Rain--the most adorable puppy in the world ---bouncing all over our forest campground gets lots of  attention from everybody. 

One day Boonie takes 3 of us on a hike to the WEB OF DOOM.
And there it is----aptly named---its purpose obvious---to prevent careless and reckless hikers from falling to their death is this very deep mine.

Laurie is first to test her courage.  It is super spongy and one's foot could easily slip through the squares.
And of course Mr testosterone wants to stand directly over the pit.
Back in our forest home--one day---out of the woods walks this intrepid trio:  Jim/Gale/Debbie who tracked us down from clues on our blog.  They are grand adventurers and bloggers themselves---wandering the country in their RV's: We had a great exchange---hope we cross paths with them again.
Laurie was persuaded to entertain us.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I honestly don't know the answer to my title question.  I meet lots of loners that are low on the self actualization scale----angry, ignorant, paranoid,lonely, addicted etc---BUT THEN I meet a fair percentage 30-40% that are settled comfortably into their solitude. (most of these have pets)  They have an interesting life---hobbies---a pattern of place and activity that satisfies--are often well read and fun to engage.
When I meet folks who run with a pack---I'm equally ambivalent--some are lazy and uncurious--hiding out in the crowd---socializing to keep nothingness at bay.  While some packs are exhilerating and nurturing----transformative even.
The quest-for-community caravan----thus far---is satisfying and stimulating.  We have great sessions of walk and talk.  Our association is not burdened by common meals or house sharing or money sharing---so we can focus on idea sharing.  Also, we are all mobile.  More are coming and we shall see what a density of 6 or 8 or more will do.  Perhaps one of my readers can clear up the title mystery for me.


heyduke50 said...

I don't always agree with your philosophical comments but I do believe you were spot on this is hot out here in the desert... but it is grand!

Teri said...

I think everyone needs to be part of a community, the question is what type of community. Not everyone belongs in a typical suburban setting. And the real hard-core loners have problems, as you have stated. I needed to get away from my family and friends?? and decided to head out in an RV. I choose a work-kamping lifestyle for now. I can participate as much or as little in outside activities when I am done working for the day. I am in a campground and have the conveniences of a full hook-up, which I prefer over boon-docking at this time.

Michael said...

Here's Pattern 26 from 'A Pattern Language' ©1977

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

Make certain that the full cycle of life is represented and balanced in each community. Set the ideal of a balanced life cycle as a principal guide for the evolution of communities.

This means:
1. That each community include a balance of people at every stage of the life cycle, from infants to the very old; and include the full slate of settings needed for all these stages of life;

2. That the community contain the full slate of settings which best mark the ritual crossing of life from one stage to the next. To live life to the fullest, in each of the seven ages, each age must be clearly marked, by the community, as a distinct well marked time. And the ages will only seem clearly marked if the ceremonies which mark the passage from one age to the next are firmly marked by celebrations and distinctions. By contrast, in a flat suburban culture the seven ages are not at all clearly marked; they are not celebrated; the passages from one age to the next have almost been forgotten. Under these conditions, people distort themselves. They can neither fulfill themselves in any one age nor pass successfully on to the next. Like the sixty-year-old woman wearing bright red lipstick on her wrinkles, they cling ferociously to what they never fully had. This proposition hinges on two arguments.

A. The cycle of life is a definite psychological reality. It consists of discrete stages, each one fraught with its own difficulties, each one with its own special advantages.

B. Growth from one stage to another is not inevitable, and, in fact, it will not happen unless the community contains a balanced life cycle.

1.Trust vs. mistrust:
the infant; relationship between the infant and mother; the struggle for confidence that the environment will nourish.

2. Autonomy vs. shame and doubt:
the very young child; relationship between the child and parents; the struggle to stand on one's own two feet, to find autonomy in the face of experiences of shame and doubt as to one's capacity for self-control.

3. Initiative vs. guilt:
the child; relationship to the family, the ring of friends; the search for action, and the integrity of one's acts; to make and eagerly learn, checked by the fear and guilt of one's own aggressions.

4. Industry vs. inferiority:
the youngster; relationship to the neighborhood, the school; adaptation to the society's tools; the sense that one can make things well, alone,and with others, against the experience of failure, inadequacy.

5. Identity vs. identity diffusion:
youth, adolescence; relationship to peers and "outgroups" and the search for models of adult life; the search for continuity in one's own character against confusion and doubt; a moratorium; a time to find and ally oneself with creeds and programs of the world.

6. Intimacy vs. isolation:
young adults; partners in friendship, sex, work; the struggle to commit oneself concretely in relations with others; to lose and find oneself in another, against isolation and the avoidance of others.

7. Generativity vs. stagnation:
adults; the relationship between a person and the division of labor, and the creation of a shared household; the struggle to establish and guide, to create, against the failure to do so, and the feelings of stagnation.

Integrity vs. despair:
old age; the relationship between a person and his world, his kind, mankind; the achievement of wisdom; love for oneself and one's kind; to face death openly, with the forces of one's life integrated; vs. the despair that life has been useless

Jim and Gayle said...

We went in search of the web of doom yesterday but didn't find it. Glad you posted a photo as we were beginning to think it really didn't exist. It was a good excuse for a nice hike, though.

Dan Arnold said...

As with many things, the choices are not mutually exclusive and there is a great middle ground. I like to travel alone and enjoy my solitude. It's a nice change from my regular work routine that requires interaction.

But even on vacation, some of the best memories emerge from meeting new people and sharing. What's nice is to have some control over how much interaction one has, and when.

Anonymous said...

Michael's post really has some great points. I tend to agree with the point that a community needs to be age/life stage balanced.

I need community, and I also need my solo time. I guess I feel I need balance between my time and the community time.

Where I am staying in Montana on my parents' land, it is a small ranching community with many retirees. People seem to live here for the beauty and wild freedom of the land. You really hear about it when the government (usually forest service) does anything to threaten the locals' freedom. They have also created a tight-knit community where one can participate at will.

My parents volunteer a lot in the community functions and I have become involved with them. I tell them I'm earning parking credits! There are many positives as they all help each other out with projects - fixing things, weed spraying, taking care of an elderly neighbor. They have regular monthly community dinners that many lonely folks count on. Most age groups are represented with an emphasis on the older generations. The balance is a bit off there and is the primary detraction from the community from my perspective. I have met no other single people around my age/stage of life. If that piece was here, I could see myself staying.

Until I find I more balanced community, I see myself to continue to seek just that.

Another note - I read recently and agree with the notion that landscape creates culture. Part of the community equation is the overlying inherent culture. That is also one of the major criteria I look at when seeking community and I am continually drawn to mountain/forest/or oceanic resort-type towns as the place became a community in part due to the natural beauty and recreational opportunities of these places. That is, the landscape created a culture that really resonates with me.

Thanks Randy for your question and thoughts on this. I think the world is hungry for community to feel at home with, while being one's authentic self.

Randy said...

Thanks all for your insights---I've learned here much more than I've taught:--- not uncommon occurance on this blog. Michael(are you my dear friend from Salt Lake?) much thanks for sharing that marvelous analysis. I will preserve it to keep myself alert to stage-related challenges.
Kathy (we miss you) thanks for your contribution---I believe you've zeroed on the central question of balance.

Ashley said...

I'm fascinated by the "web of doom"...

The Tuckerbag

Michael said...

I consider myself marvelous but I'm not from Salt Lake. A place I'd rather be except for the aliens there that insist they know what ward I'm from. Randy, I emailed a whole bunch more from the book 'A Pattern Language' a week ago. Did you read it?