The proposed gathering, Living on the Edge is not yet a laboratory where experiments vital to human survival are performed; conceivably, it may be an SOS call from those witnessing their communities succumbing to gravity; however, it may merely be a picture postcard depicting interesting initiatives by the wild and fabulous —Wish you were here ?
How close do we really get to the Edge? Until we supply our own vegetables, we remain an hypothesis; perhaps, we are at best romantic Edge-flirters…
Trained as international tourists, with a return ticket in our secret pocket that will zip us back to oh so familiar cafés – we can gleefully glance at the potential for societal development; entering into close combat with the dirty dynamics of change, is quite another matter. The real work of Living on the Edge begins when we leave behind our blueprints and project proposals, and start becoming part of each other’s lives.
The prototype unMonastery 1.0 in Matera marks this transition.
A young Materani explained to me the career options in the area. There are two major fields of study offered at the local university: the town is obviously full of architects, it also has a very high concentration of archeologists. I am thinking that as much as building a new community within an old one, we should look at our work as unearthing an old community while belonging to the new one. This point of balance may be the Edge we are looking for…
Archeologists dig slowly. Sometimes they use no more than a slim brush, or their breath, to remove the layers left by time. We must also live slowly into our form: building only as we uncover our buried inner needs. To enter into this dialog with the wall-memories of the Matera caves resembles the communion necessary before donning the shamanic mask: absorbing the spirit of millennia of inhabitants; allowing them to govern our beings and our interaction. It is not unlikely that we must grunt, dance and sing before we can produce well reasoned statements of mutual agreement.
It has been established by Pacheca
and seconded by the glorious Jessica that the unMo kitchen must be the Goddess of our Existence. Around this primal field of interaction, we shall channel our mutual nourishment and develop our culture. While it is not necessary that all supplicants to the unMo document their qualification as a gourmet chef; it shall be a shame if they are not so when/if they choose to leave…
The one mandatory qualification for a life as unMonk/ unNun is that we are humans. Humans forget; denial is our speciality. One task of the unMonastery is to become a library of experience: to remind one another. Removed from the coddling of modern convenience, we shall live a life that confronts our civilizedness. It is our capacity to surmount this confrontation that is the true fruit of our labours.