wild kingdom…


The Parable of the Water TankPhotograph

There was a certain very dry land, the people whereof were in sore need of water. And they did nothing but seek after water from morning until night, and many perished because they could not find it.

Howbeit, there were certain men in that land who were more crafty and diligent than the rest, and these had gathered stores of water where others could find none, and these men were called capitalists. And it came to pass that the people of the land came unto the capitalists and prayed them that they would give them of the water they had gathered that they might drink, for their need was sore. But the capitalists answered them and said:

“Go to, ye silly people! Why should we give you of the water we have gathered, for then should we become as ye are, and perish with you. But behold what we will do unto you. Be ye our servants, and ye shall have water.”

And the people said, “Only give us to drink, and we will be your servants, we and our children.” And it was so.” from Equality (1897), sequel to Looking Backwards by Edward Bellamy

Lesson / Koan : Knowing what comes next is attractive, in that it involves less risk.

Three things about America rendered it irresistible to utopians.

1.) America was enormous.

2.) America was mostly empty.

3.) America had a tradition of religious liberty, eventually enshrined in the First Amendment.

Collective action: raising a dome.

What's a commune without a dome? 1960's style barn-raising @ Twin Oaks Community.

BTW,

America’s most influential utopian was Edward Bellamy, whose 1888 novel Looking Backward, 2000 to 1887 was a massive best-seller. It was the third largest bestseller of its time, after Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The hero, Julian West falls asleep in 1887 and wakes up in 2000 to find the U.S. transformed into a socialist paradise. Bellamy founded no mini-utopias himself; in fact, preferring to place his hopes in the overall evolution of American society toward a better way of life. But Looking Backward influenced the behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner, whose novel Walden Two in turn inspired the creation of the Twin Oaks Community in rural Virginia in 1967. So Bellamy, indirectly, made his own contribution to the 1960s commune movement. In his book, Skinner answers the problem that exists in many utopian novels – “What is the Good Life?”

NOTE :

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