- Everyone who wishes to be is included in our community; there are no a priori conditions for involvement or participation
- There is no a priori ideology on issues; every social and professional class of people is included, regardless of background or ideology

- Humanity is highly diverse, in innumerable ways
- We embrace diversity, and see in it a source of strength and vitality
- We respect the differences between human beings; the strength and vitality of community does not depend on uniformity or widespread agreement on highly specific issues.
- We can strongly disagree on specific issues without wounding or fracturing community or our interpersonal relationships

- Dialogue takes place among equals; there is no implicit a priori authority
- Everyone is a student as well as a teacher ("If the messenger be an ant, heed him.")
- Begin dialogue with another person by trying to agree; look for a favorable interpretation
- Recognize that truth has many aspects, and no one has all the aspects; be open and receptive to new insights from new perspectives
- There are at least two sides to every controversial issue; don't judge a question until you have heard all sides
- The rhetoric of dialogue is subject to misinterpretation; strive to grasp the true intent of the speaker
- "Know that you do not know." Be open and receptive and humble.

- Combine the specialized expertise of individuals ("Many hands make work light")
- No one of us knows everything, but many of us together know a great deal
- We all have different roles to play within the context of a larger whole
- "Vision of the Network" -- the insights and views of many people come together to form a brilliant and many-aspected perspective on all issues

- Be as trusting and open as possible to your fellow human beings
- Begin a new personal relationship by being friendly and receptive and accepting, and do not judge someone because of their class or background or ideology

- This is a big world, of tremendous diversity, but there are many aspects of reality which we share
- We can identify those common factors, and build interpersonal and inter-community relationships based on them
- We must identify and honor both similarities and differences between one individual and another, and between one cultural group and another

- "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Golden Rule)

- We seek to maximize individual freedom, and do what we can to empower the freedom of the individual, without compromise to the context of the larger unity
- Individuals are free to define themselves to us and to the world in any terms they choose; we do not create categories and classes and place them within them

- Decisions affecting the group should be made by the group
- Majority opinion should be respected, but must be constrained by principle
- Collaborative methods can be formalized to develop optimal designs

- Wherever possible, ideas and hypotheses should be carefully tested, according to well-defined and explicit principles
- New ideas should be subjected to "peer review"
- Scientific methods should be applied in any context where applicable

- "Judge not lest ye be judged"
- Strive to overcome the "us against them" mentality: minimize blame
- "Let the past be prologue"

- Insofar as possible, each person must take responsibility for their own welfare and well-being
- Each person is responsible for their own behavior, and should not blame or assign this responsibility to others
- In this context, remember that "we are our brother's keeper" -- and that "all men are brothers" ("all people are brothers and sisters")

- Read and listen accurately, to what people actually say
- Do not project interpretations of their meaning based on ungrounded assumptions
- This is especially true in the context of electronic networks, where body language and other communication clues may be absent

- "Give me the strength to change what I can, to leave alone what I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference"

- Strive to be good. It is not always easy to do, but it is noble and honorable, and connects the individual human being to the core power of the universe
- Be as loving and gentle and kind as possible
- Support your fellow human beings in every way you can

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Comment by Stephanie on January 10, 2009 at 10:18am
Just re-read your writing and find it so valuable. Maybe it should be on the first page and stay there a long time.I think it's great.
Comment by Bruce Schuman on January 7, 2009 at 12:21am
Well, like the old hippies say -- a good planet is hard to find. Let's fix this one :):):)
Comment by Bruce Schuman on January 6, 2009 at 5:14pm
Good morning from Santa Barbara. Thanks for these comments. Sabine -- it is always such a pleasure to see and feel your responses....

This little statement on community -- is actually something I wrote back in the 1990's -- and has been sitting on our "United Communities of Spirit" project for years -- http://origin.org/ucs/philcom.cfm

Many of these ideas I was taught or learned from some teacher or guru. I didn't invent all of this -- I learned it, from many sources. But I remember way back -- about 1986 -- I just became "possessed" by an idea I called "Vision of the Network". That idea -- was that individual human beings -- always see the world through a "point of view" -- a perspective -- that is always "local", always partial, always somewhat "biased" by the immediate situation. But -- the "vision of the network" -- is the vision of 10,000 eyes -- seeing the world and everything from every point of view at the same time. Maybe this is just a dream, or a fuzzy metaphysical abstraction -- but I can feel it -- and maybe our electronic connections are slowly bringing people into resonance, in ways that could give us this kind of integrity-of-vision...

So, all of this is not new -- but today, it feels as true as ever, and maybe more important than ever. Of course, anyone is free to copy or print this statement -- I would love to see it be helpful somewhere.
Comment by Sabine Theresia on January 6, 2009 at 7:52am
Ohhhh, Bruce! You are a great think tank for our community HERE! During the last days, it really seemed as if you were brooding on something, and when I came here at 5.00 a.m. a new strong and beautiful chick had slipped out.
Your inputs here are so valuable, they are very clear, coming deeply out of the setting HERE and NOW and show your great ability to feel what is the matter and what can bring us closer to what we want to live here.
This is what touched me most:
* "Everyone is a student as well as a teacher." During the last days, I realized, that I learn a lot by watching what is going on in this big 'street café' with all of us meeting, sharing, reacting ... but more than that by watching what is going on within me, for example, when something does not happen as I expected it to do or as I would have liked to. The strongest feelings within us, especially those ones of disappointment or strong inner demarkation from anything / anyone here give us the chance to watch and understand our inner absence of peace. And that can give us valuable insights into the way life is happening and developing itself.
* I' ve never heard the sentence "Let the past be prologue". I hope that I never will forget it and integrate it into my BEING and ACTING.
* The wisdom "Give me the strength, to change what I can..." is one of those few wise sentences, I met early in my life (maybe 25 years ago). But whenever I heard / saw it again, I thought: "Yes, that's still something I want to educate my mind with much more." And I think, especially this one is so important for all of us having the deep and strong longing for PEACE in the whole world. It goes together with
* "Know that we do not know", that is most important for us by watching the conflicts or even wars of others from the outside. How can we come and say: "You must do this, you must do that!" ???
* Being good "connects the individual human being to the core power of the universe." This is not moral, that's pure wisdom. I think we all got more or less sick by all those moralistic rules given by our parents, teachers, educators, official institutions, religious institutions and communities ... But if we get aware of this deep truth, it immediately influences our inner and outer BEING and ACTING. Then, automatically, we reconnect ourselves to the deepest source of everything and everybody. And we also can give those a chance, that up to now didn't have so many chances, to see the light and feel the warmth on the other side of an endless seeming shadow.
Thank you again, Bruce for your amazing BEING and WRITING here.
Comment by Cida Medeiros on January 6, 2009 at 4:08am
I agree! It is usefull for life! Thanks!
Comment by Stephanie on January 6, 2009 at 1:28am
This really sums things up! Have you read this, used it before? It certainly looks very very professional.
Want to print it out even for the family...it can be used at home right?

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