Community Ethics

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Ethics are defined as the "moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior."

We talk of intentional communities but it is not enough to be intentional. One must have ethics. It is said that Permaculture Ethics include:

Care for the Earth
Care for People
Return the Surplus

Ethics are "rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad" in the formation of ethics of an intentional communities?

Permaculture is dealing with and dealt with by nature. Intentional communities are also subject to "the Law of Nature and Natures God" therefore ethics of a community must be natural in accordance with Natural Law. From the beginning God commanded man to tend to the weightier matters of Natural Law.

Natural Law is "the dictate of right reason, showing the moral deformity or moral necessity that there is in any act, according to its suitableness or un-suitableness to a reasonable nature. Sometimes used of the law of human reason, in contradistinction to the revealed law, and sometimes of both, in contradistinction to positive law.”[1] It exists by virtue of the God of creation before the gods many of the world institute any legal system to govern an intentional communities.

Natural Law is supposed to be "right reason" or "divine will" but who determines what is right and divine? Legal systems are created by consent through Social contract and often increase their power through continued Contracts of the people.

The basics of every society or intentional community within society should take into consideration the fundamental rights of individual in their natural state which means the fundamental responsibilities of the individual should remain untouched in the formation of a community. The fundamental responsibilities of individuals concerning the application and performance of their social duties to their fellow man must be made the province of the daily choice of the individual.

What are some of those basic duties and rights?

"And the LORD God took the man,
and put him into the garden of Eden
to dress it and to keep it." Genesis 2:15

This duty is also an authority but the exercise of this authority is not done alone but with other men. We must perform this duty without depriving other men of their rights, or oppressing and denigrating them.[2]

Communities must have ethics as well and many ancient cultures have summarized those rules. The ancient Egyptians had a list of rules which expressed their ethics or law call Maat. The Ten Commandments of Israel were just an abbreviated form of these rules and are still seen over the supreme court of nations as basic and fundamental yet not always applied equally in all things.

While the Law of the Maat was exemplified in 42 Negative Confessions Maat was the spirit in which justice was applied rather than the detailed legalistic exposition of rules. The same is true of the Mosaic Law.[3]

If the law is Spirit and there is a Law of Nature then nature conforms to the law. Nature is the manifestation of the God of Nature and exemplifies the righteousness of nature and of God, defining God as the Creator of Nature.

So to establish the ethics of a PermaComunity we may say the law must be written upon our hearts. There is a moral code written pm pir hearts and upon our minds then it is the Spirit of the law within us that moves and determines our actions.

The Law of Nature says:

Seek Righteousness
Cultivate a love for the People
Share the Surplus

Nature is a system of systems. While the earth is composed of elements like atoms particles and molecules their arrangements in ecosystems forms units within Nature. Every creature is a unite composed of systems but even units may gather and form systems we call communities. see Permaculture

Intentional Communities should consider Permaculture if they are to form PermaCommunities.

While individuals are the primary unit of a community the community itself is an entity.

The individual does not reproduce without an organic union for the purpose of reproduction. Nature draws individuals together but with that purpose. No purpose is truly isolated in nature so the draw without reproduction frustrates the whole of nature.

The individual has a body with different organs that have a purpose or purposes. The primary organ of society is the family which has multiple purposes and functions.

The elements of a community are the people and their natural needs which includes "relationship" within each organic unit (family) and the other elements of community and their natural needs of those units.

Mankind is gregarious[4].

Natural systems share their byproducts with other systems that coexist with them. The elements of the herd need the herd and while they move with a self interest they cling to the whole herd and product all elements of the heard as if protecting themselves.

This is because of "relationship" and mutual identity and natural empathy. Isolating elements of society while important to personal identity can be counter effective to mutual identity.

Gathering together and sharing common difficulties and trial creates relationships that allow life to be shared naturally. Without proper sharing in good or bad times their is no balance in the natural cohesion of a community.

Principles and Function of Permaculture can give us a spiritual overview of a PermaCommunity for all communities are a apart of nature.

  • Observation of the rhythms and reason for the driving forces of each unit of the community is essential. To observe you must gather and communicate, share and record within the community as sentient beings with a long term mission.
  • Connect the organs/Families in small intimate congregations and connect those congregations within the layers of relations common with society through share their surplus and their sacrifice through charity, hope and also organically through marriage overlapping elements/entities which establishing balance diverse blood relationships of multiple families and inheritance.
  • Allow the natural storing of energy and materials within the entities and structural elements of the community including the individuals, families, extended families, their institutions as well as the congregations and congregations of congregations. Every level of society should store energy/wealth within the living control of every entity. Wealth and energy must flow by free choice. The "flow of resources" by love and free choice is essential to build a capacity for life and liberty.
  • Each entity has function but in its relationships it may provide secondary functions to enhance other elements of the whole system of society. Location, love, and liberty in a system establishes symbiotic relations and functions stabilizing the flow and storage of wealth.
  • Separate entities function as multiple parts of a whole system to create synergies[5]. Some redundancy not only protects against failure but may add both competition and variety which promotes innovation and growth. Without variety stagnation may produce both imbalanced and vulnerability to insidious disease.
  • Work is shared by complimentary systems which require less or no external management with the flow of charity. Nature is always looking for the easiest way to accomplishes the most change but with man a sense of righteousness, mercy and love produce the service required with in all societies, but freely through choice.
  • Self manageable systems have beginnings and ends with the individuals at first and are eventually strong together within larger systems because of common practices, and purposes.

Principles for Living Systems

  • Optimize the intersection points of society. Those contact points within the society should maintain a record of those within its cell group (the congregation) and create relationship of communications, charity, service, trust with the ministers of other cell groups within the whole of community as brothers.
  • Collaborate systems in order to facilitate the flow of charity, the promotion of moral ethics, the permanence of the family unit. the protection of what is proper and property, the administration of justice and mercy, communication within the living system of needed information, the distribution of the freewill flow of service...
  • Renewable through being fruitful as individuals and as congregations in free assembly.

Be Attitudes

  • There are no problems only challenges and opportunities. Strive, persevere and bless those who do also.[6]
  • Yield freely all that you have to sustain others as much as yourselves passing it on to other entities with true needs in a way of strengthening them. Share with others within your congregations but equally with others...[7]
  • You are the giver of life and the hand of the creator.[8]
  • There are no mistakes if we learn their lessons. He who does nothing makes only one mistake.[9]

Community Rules

The apostles learned the intricate details of the kingdom and how it worked as a functioning body in one accord tending to the needs of people who sought to be free from the princes of the gentiles who exercised authority one over the other. Their rules were designed to be guidelines reminding others what to expect along the path.

At least 30% of the Dead Sea Scrolls were concerned with the beliefs and rules of the community, including The Community Rule, War Scroll,[10] Pesher, a commentary on Habakkuk, and the Rule of the Blessing. Like the Didache they were common in early Christian communities. Geza Vermes, an Emeritus Professor of Jewish Studies states that there are no precedents in ancient Jewish literature for the lists of social rules. Early Christianity clearly emerged out of the precepts and forms of Essene Judaism.

The word “yahad”[11], which is a key element of the Scrolls according to their authors, is commonly translated “community” but emphasizes a deeper “unity”. Because the members remained individuals, but acted in one accord, “yahad” might be better rendered as the “United Ones”. The liberty and independence found amongst their practices made them revolutionary. Their austere life of service to each other and others made them almost impossible to infiltrate and their dedication to love and forgiveness barred every attempt to create disunity.

The Roman authorities, Herod the Great and eventually the powerful bureaucracy of the Pharisees and scribes were in a constant state of paranoia which compelled them to send out their spies and provocateurs to root out any threat, whether real or imagined.

The Essenes were not naturally immune to division. Without diligent quest for humility pride could take root in any community. Some steeped more in self righteous tradition than in the substance of the spirit of the laws and rules of society believed that Paul the apostle had every characteristic of a provocateur.

But a closer examination, through the love of Christ who came to save all men, will reveal that the rules of communion and community were a reflection of the the revolutionary teachings of Christ.

“The Master shall teach the saints: To seek God with a whole heart and soul, and do what is good and right before him as he commanded through Moses and through all his servants, the prophets. To love all that he has chosen and hate all that he has rejected. To put away all evil and hold fast to all good. To practice truth, righteousness and justice upon earth. To walk no longer in the stubbornness of a wicked heart and eyes of fornication, doing all evil. To bring all those that have offered themselves to do God’s precepts into a covenant of loving kindness. To be joined to God’s scheme of things. To walk before him perfectly according to all the things that have been revealed of the appointed times of their testimonies. To love all the sons of light, each according to his lot in God’s scheme of things. And to hate all the sons of Darkness, each according to his guilt in the vengeance of God.” 1QS 1:1

Men self governed in virtue and living together by loving kindness, rejected the hypocrisy of the compelled Corban of the government formed by the Pharisees and formed a government blessed by the blood of Jesus Christ, who was the light of their world. Rome had proclaimed Christ the King and the Pharisees had proclaimed everyone who got His baptism, rather than Herod’s, was free to follow Christ’s government and cast out of theirs.

That government operated by faith, hope and charity but the rules were often written down, the leaders were called teachers, not rulers, they acted as servants, not masters. They only had the power to turn away from those who turned away from the common rules.

No one had to act or work in accord, but if one would not do according to common practices and precepts of liberty and love they were counted a fool.[12] Law
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  2. Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.
  3. Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
    Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
    Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    Galatians 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
    Galatians 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
    Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
  4. (of a person) fond of company; sociable
  5. the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
  6. Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  7. Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  8. Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  9. Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
  10. A manual for military organization and strategy including a prophecy of a war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness
  11. 3259 דעי ya`ad a primitive root; AV-meet 7, together 5, assemble 4, appointed 3, set 3, time 2, betrothed 2, agreed 1, appointment 1, gather 1; 1) to fix, appoint, assemble, meet, set, betroth
    3054 דהי yahad [from דוהי and הדוהי Judah ] Judah-the territory, to conform to הדוהי Yᵉhuwdah (YodHeyVavDelethHey) ... הדי yadah (YodDelethHey) ... to live a life or the way of praise. The word די yad means hand which is the instrument of doing. And the Greek 2448 Ιουδα and 2455 Ιουδας
  12. Matthew 7:24 “... whosoever heareth these sayings [logos] of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock... And every one that ... doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:”