Contemplating Intentional Community?


As more peo­ple become famil­iar with the sev­er­al exper­i­ments in inten­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty spon­sored by Mag­ic, we are asked with increas­ing fre­quen­cy how we have arrived at our present sit­u­a­tion, and how we envi­sion devel­op­ing our com­mu­ni­ties in the future. We have pre­pared the fol­low­ing set of ques­tions to serve as a frame­work for dis­course about inten­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty as we prac­tice and aspire to it.


  1. How do you define community?
  2. What do you val­ue in community?


  1. With what pur­pose will you become part of anoth­er com­mu­ni­ty? (Please con­sid­er the mag­ni­tude, dura­tion, and qual­i­ty of results you intend.)
  2. What do you feel is miss­ing from your present situation?
  3. How do you want peo­ple out­side the com­mu­ni­ty you con­tem­plate to think of those with­in it?


  1. What mon­ey or in-kind income do you imag­ine nec­es­sary to meet your com­mu­ni­ty objec­tives? (e.g. — You want to form a coop­er­a­tive nurs­ery school for 20 chil­dren and imag­ine 20,000 hours of labor or $300,000 nec­es­sary each year.) What assets? (e.g. — You want to live in qui­et and imag­ine a com­mu­ni­ty own­ing 500 acres of remote rur­al land.)
  2. To what extent will these flow through or be held by the com­mu­ni­ty, to what extent by indi­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, and to what extent by others?

In ques­tions 3 and 4 (below) please con­sid­er at least food, shel­ter, cloth­ing, med­ical care, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, edu­ca­tion, recre­ation, trans­porta­tion, and fam­i­ly relations.

  1. What goods and ser­vices for com­mu­ni­ty ben­e­fit will you pro­vide: a) with­in, and b) with­out the com­mu­ni­ty? (e.g. — A nurse liv­ing in a rur­al com­mu­ni­ty which oper­ates an organ­ic farm might pro­vide pri­ma­ry care with­in the com­mu­ni­ty one day per week free of charge, and out­side the com­mu­ni­ty one day per week for fees which she gives to the com­mu­ni­ty, and two days per week to increase her savings.)
  2. What goods and ser­vices will you draw from: a) with­in, and b) with­out the com­mu­ni­ty? (e.g. — A mem­ber might want 80% of the her/his food to be grown with­in the com­mu­ni­ty, and might want to vaca­tion in India each year.)


  1. What domain of your life do you intend to place with­in the purview of com­mu­ni­ty advice and con­sent (e.g. occu­pa­tion­al choice, liv­ing place, child-rearing)?
  2. How do you imag­ine deci­sions being made with respect to those parts of life sub­ject­ed to com­mu­ni­ty advice and consent?
  3. To what stan­dards shall com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers be held?
  4. How do you pro­pose mem­bers will enter and leave the com­mu­ni­ty (e.g. — tri­al mem­ber­ship, asset trans­fers, etc.)?
  5. How do you imag­ine the oth­er par­tic­i­pants (e.g. — num­ber, train­ing, age, worldview)?
  6. Describe a typ­i­cal day in your life once your com­mu­ni­ty is formed, not­ing both the activ­i­ties which are with­in and those which are with­out the purview of the community.