"Communiversity" is my term for a
self-sufficient university-based community.
Communiversity would consist of a cluster of intentional communes
centered around a small community supporting university.
community supporting university is the key to the Communiversity
concept. This type of university would support its cluster of communes
by supplying all the technological information and organization needed
to create and maintain a healthy community. In other words, the
university would be a working school as well as a center for study.
Besides teaching liberal arts and science courses more or less Free
University style, the university would function as the center for
The university would also serve as
the center for ecological study and action for the surrounding local
and regional eco-systems. The university would be co-operatively run
by commune members to meet the needs of each commune as well as the
The population size of a Communiversity would be
around 500 persons, the universal average number for a dialectical
group. The number of persons per commune with a Communiversity will
have to be worked out between participating communes. A maximum
population limit for each commune and the whole community should be
mutually agreed upon and enforced. If not, both commune and community
structure will eventually disintegrate with over-population pressures.
The Communiversity would be located
rurally away from dense population areas. Ideally, the community site
would be at least 1500 acres of forest and open meadows well watered
by streams or a river.
Architecturally, the Communiversity would break away from the practice
of designing community structures like concrete fortresses.
Communiversity homes, school, and work environments would be
organically designed, varied, and unobtrusive. Great care would be
taken to insure that local eco-systems would be kept from harm.
The Communiversity could support itself in
our competitive economic environment through various small
co-operative enterprises such as: organic food production, mail order
supplies (Whole Earth Catalog-type stuff), printing and publishing,
arts and crafts, fairs and festivals, and manufacturing
self-sufficiency kits for communes and communities, to name only a few
possibilities. The community-based industries could have big city
outlets with a rotating schedule for community workers. As
self-sufficiency technology progresses, communiversity members would
have to spend proportionately less time doing community support work.
beauty and utility of the Communiversity concept lies in its role as
an organizing catalyst for a true pluralistic society, albeit on a
small scale. By combining strength with the communiversity structure,
intentional communes will have a greater chance to survive and
flourish, providing needed models for better social arrangements. The
co-operatively run communiversity provides the basis for the
unification of communes without the loss of communal identity. How the
participating communes are socially constructed and internally
governed would be their own affair. The most important criteria for
membership within a communiversity would be each commune's ability to
co-operate with the rest.
proposal in 1968 led to the formation of Lime Saddle Commune in 1972
as the organizing base for an intentional cooperative community, the
Village. The project failed before it really began as investors
acting on the bad advice of one lawyer backed out the purchase of the
800 acre Oregon land site for our Communitarian Village. Lime Saddle
Commune didn't last too much longer as it too went the way of the
great majority of new communes in the 1960's and '70's communal
movement in America.
1985 to 1990 I maintained a community activist resource library and
meeting hall called "The Bridge"*.
Of all my social change efforts, The Bridge was the most successful.
We had many different groups using the facility and many local people
in the Mateel community (Southern Humboldt County in N. California)
gained cooperative community information and learning experience in
their visits to The Bridge. In 1986, I tried to develop a new version
of the Communiversity concept to fit the times which were fairly
anti-communal as the communal movement had died in the previous decade
leaving a legacy of disbelief in the intentional cooperative community
approach. The Mateel Communiversity also didn't last long (about four
months) as a major problem arose which was lack of follow-through
commitment by local people. The Communiversity needs "students" to
function well and our Mateel Community is full of older counterculture
veterans who have their own visions to follow. In short, we had too
many chiefs and not enough Indians.
Below is a
listing of classes and events that went into the Mateel Communiversity
before dissolving. One project though was resurrected a few years
later, the New County formation project which became the Sequoia
County effort to break off from Humboldt and Mendocino Counties to
form a new county with a new and fairly radical agenda. The Sequoia
County effort was unsuccessful at getting enough signatures to put the
measure on the ballot and it too dissolved but the impetus for
formation of a new county still simmers in the Mateel and Southern
January 6th at 7PM at The Bridge will be the time and place to lay out
a schedule of dates, hours, topics, and formats for the Mateel
Communiversity as a learning, teaching and study center. Here it will
be possible for those of us interested in some fairly well defined
topic to decide to gather periodically to work the topic over.
Enclosed is a Study Group/Class Proposal form. You can fill this out
as much as is pertinent and return it to The Bridge or bring it to the
January 6th meeting. We're hoping to begin to fulfill the original
mission of universities--to pass on, and further develop by critical
discussion and experimentation, solid knowledge and understanding. As
a Communiversity, our learning activities would have the specific
intent of directly benefiting the community we live in.
study that have been already raised include "Old Growth/wilderness",
"Climax Social Evolution Theory", "The Individual vs. the State",
"Healing", "Studies in Spiritual Ecology and New Gnosis literature",
"Social Process, Social Psychology", "Works of Ivan Illytch",
"Anthropology", "Vegetarian Cooking", "Arms Control issues",
"History-- Goddesses and Patriarchs", "The Legal System", "Women's
Studies", "Co-counseling", "Life drawing", "Course in Urantia",
"Shakespeare reading", and "Philosophy of Transformation". Bring