Please indulge me, if you’re reading along here, as I fumble with words today. I wish to locate, coalesce, and attempt to describe an… evolutionary expansion in how I perceive of and relate to Intentional Society.
As a meta preface: The reality of IS, when I can feel the truth of it in my bones, is something I’m uncovering more than creating. It’s already there waiting for us, like dinosaur bones to paleontologists — a configuration of relations within the possibility space of reality. It’s (by definition of purpose) the living system of human awareness and agency, organizing and embodying the attractors constantly bridging from current society to the next. IS is what is possible if we attend to our deepest values and integrate across the whole of our lives.
Now, about that shift in perception. I’ll try saying, “from club to collective” and see if that points at it well enough. It’s a developmental shift, which means going from a “is-a” identity relationship to a “has-a” containment relationship — the ‘ol “transcend and include” move. By using club I mean to connote the tight-knit active social interaction that defines its boundary: the neighborhood tree-house meetup, the after-school drama club. IS has thus far been a club of active explorers, meeting weekly with each other to practice relating to ourselves and each other in awareness-building ways.
IS is that but, now I’m seeing that it is not just that, that it has that and also more than that. In using the word collective I mean to connote a wider variety of self-organized expressions, bounded by an alignment in purpose, goals, perspective, desires. As the “fuzzy cloud” of people around, coming through, and in orbit of Intentional Society (club definition) has increased steadily over the past year, the potential for an expanded collective definition of IS has kept rising.
I now see this as an exciting opportunity for us to expand the scope of “in-ness” that defines the boundary of Intentional Society, to enable and weave a wider web of support among those united by the IS mission, decoupled slightly from the “active explorers club” that remains at the heart of this community. What could that look like? Quarterly intention-setting. Purpose-aligned crew connection. One-off event availability wider than the weekly-exploration stream. A shift in the sense of belonging in/to Intentional Society from being just “something I do on Sunday Zoom calls” toward “a way I live my life, woven with others similarly practicing.” Other things I don’t even see yet.
For quite a while now, I’ve muddled around with “participants” vs “members” vocabulary for active IS folks — moving more towards membership language recently, but this “club and collective” type of distinction now connects back and makes something click here for me as well. Membership as the boundary membrane of the Society itself as a whole, with participation diversifying with different “in what?” scopes. I don’t know if these are the perfect C-words (and what of “community”? a squishy word that smears across both club and collective), but the shape of these constructs seems to be coherent and self-system-resonant.