A. Allen Butcher • Utopia Writers Guild • School of Intentioneering • Denver, CO • July 2016
Each of us sees things that others cannot, or have not yet. So the challenge is to interest others in and to teach what we see through our personal, unique perspectives of the past, present, and future. Utopian literature provides methods for presenting ideas about alternatives to the dominant culture and projections of positive futures. To encourage people to share such perspectives and projections a project of the School of Intentioneering is to inspire and support a “Utopia Writers Guild.”
To support writers of positive or idealistic societies and to counter the influence of the dystopian paradigm, where what we always see is DE-ATH, or “Done Everything—Away To Heaven,” it would be helpful to have a support group that will encourage and review the work of those who write with a positive utopian theme. The Guild is intended to celebrate writings about idealistic societies, whether real or fictional, supporting the ambition to LIVE FREE in communities where what we see is that “Labor Is Valued Equally, For Realizing Economic Equality.”
Valuing all labor equally involves the use of labor systems in place of wages and salaries, which pushes monetary economics out of communal societies. Yet not all utopian writings involve communalism, some develop the idea of a perfect monetary system that supports tribal or neo-tribal cultures while safeguarding the environment rather than destroying it. And that is clearly an utopian ideal!
The Utopia Writers Guild is an initiative of the School of Intentioneering intended to support writings on the differences, similarities and interdependence of the dominant culture or First World with the alternative or parallel culture of the Fourth World. As there are many such differences and similarities, the Guild is developing programs to focus upon contemporary, historical, and fictional countercultural traditions. The primary resource for this work is “The Intentioneer’s Bible,” which includes the themes of: tribalism and neo-tribalism; the rise and development of monetary economics; women’s spirituality and aspects of feminism that value the partnership of women and men; worker and consumer cooperation; and the many forms of intentional community including ecovillages, community land trusts, cohousing, cofamilies, cooperatives, and communalism.
The mission of the School of Intentioneering is to teach people about Fourth World communitarian or intentional community traditions in relation to the dominant market-based culture of the First World. The First and Fourth Worlds are parallel cultures, both moving apace with the other through time. While at times the differences between the two are expressed in conflict, each culture often learns from and adapts aspects of the other.
One of the primary dichotomies between the Fourth and First Worlds is how each compensates labor. While the dominant culture uses differential wages, paying differing amounts for various types of work in a debt-based economy, the parallel culture values all labor equally through time-based economies using labor-gifting and labor-sharing. This is the red line between monetary economies and communal economies. Rather than paying money, communal society compensates labor through member’s access to the wealth of communal services. This difference does not exist in all of the Fourth World as sharing privately-owned property is more prevalent than sharing commonly-owned property in the counterculture, yet it makes a very clear line of division between the two primary economic and cultural paradigms. These reflect the two cultural values of competition and exploitation, and of cooperation and mutual aid; the two of which usually avoiding destructive conflict by emphasizing their interdependence.
While any other inequality may exist, the feeling that “we are all in this together” is maintained in the Fourth World as long as everyone benefits either according to their personal needs or in the same way as everyone else in the society. In the Fourth World this is done through forms of time-based economies of gifting and sharing, while in the dominant First World the monetary system accommodates ever greater disparities in wealth among people. The monetary economic system of the dominant culture provides for differential compensation for labor, resulting in everyone being in the monetary system for themselves.
The dominant culture has its spokes persons and media outlets, which the parallel culture needs as well. To provide for this the School of Intentioneering is both a school-of-thought and an educational organization teaching gifting and sharing partnership culture in the competitive, dominant society. For teaching Fourth World lifestyles the School of Intentioneering provides two online books. The first is free for download in two-dozen PDF files at: CultureMagic.org The second is not free and is currently only available as an ebook at: Amazon.com
The book “Culture Magic” covers almost every aspect of communitarianism except childcare, a topic which is being developed for a future work. However, the material in “Culture Magic” on the history of communitarianism has been greatly expanded into the new thousand-page book, “The Intentioneer’s Bible.”
“The Intentioneer’s Bible: Interwoven Stories of the Parallel Cultures of Plenty and Scarcity” is an alternative history of civilization, presenting how the dominant and the alternative cultures have developed apace through time, beginning in our prehistory through to today, with the final section of the book being projections of the future. To support the use of “The Intentioneer’s Bible” as a textbook for an online class, scripts for videos can be written, produced, and shared on YouTube. Beyond that, scripts for full-length movies based on various stories found in “The Intentioneer’s Bible” can be written, with these writers becoming part of a Utopia Writers Guild.
The School of Intentioneering serves to teach people about alternatives to the dominant culture. The two online books currently available in the Intentioneer’s series present alternatives to the dominant culture of Western Civilization including: an economic system based upon time rather than debt for creating gifting and sharing economies; a political system affirming that the primary dichotomy is between participatory and authoritarian forms of governance as a more definitive method for emphasizing individual sovereignty than the usual liberal versus conservative dichotomy; and a religious tradition emphasizing partnership between women and men rather than patriarchy. With alternatives developed for the three primary cultural aspects of economics, politics, and religion, the focus can then be upon writings that present and discuss the issues of children and family in community, which will begin development with a project of the School of Intentioneering called “cofamily.” Cofamily may be seen to become the first new intentional community movement of the 21st century.