About 1975 I went looking for Geoph Kozeny. I found him in a run-down one-room apartment in San Francisco. He told me he had just returned from visiting some intentional communities in the Western States and would be leaving again in a few days.

I'd heard he spent his life 'on the road' visiting different communities, recording the comings and goings of groups and people, their triumphs and tragedies - the town crier for intentional communities. I was doing the same thing on a smaller scale. I lived in an intentional community in British Columbia, Canada where a group of people had gathered on thirty-three acres to live, and share, similar values. I traveled too, but my concern was to educate myself from the experiences of other communities - what made them stay together - what made them fall apart.

Geoph and I talked the night away. I never met him again. I read about him occasionally, - leading a group at a conference in Berlin (how did he get to Germany?) - his name came up now and then in magazines and publications. As far as I know he is still at it some thirty years later - the intentional communities' town crier.

Geoph has committed himself to finding in community a nobler way of living the ideals of fellowship, equality, and justice. He is a member of a cadre of dedicated communitarians seeking the highest ideals of Western society in communities. Their voices are still heard in the mission statements of many communities extolling simplicity, earth stewardship, diversity, consensus, egalitarianism, and spirituality. What is it that makes Geoph and so many others embark on such a quest? Why is it that finding a community where such ideals are put into practice is so important? What is the hunger in men and women's souls in the search for a particular kind of community?

Do you remember going to summer camp with a group of peers, singing songs, gathering around the campfire, sharing your deepest thoughts? There is something idyllic about those times of excitement and growth. There is a great sense of belonging to a special group where the connections made may last a lifetime.

It is not only in summer camp that this feeling of 'specialness' comes alive. It comes alive in sports where 'pulling for the team' feels as if it was a life or death situation. It comes, unfortunately, in war when the members of your squad become a band of brothers. It can come in work or learning situations where the threat of failure spurs a closeness that binds all to a common cause. It is not an altogether unusual feeling. What it tells us is that our tribal genes are not lost - we have a strong need for an emotional connection to community. It is almost an ethical drive to find a group where there is a respect for life and equality; where there is an expectation all will speak and act truthfully; where there is a belief all will deal honestly and fairly. There is also a longing for authenticity. Daily doses of newspaper headlines recording political mismanagement or corruption spur many of us to seek new ethical standards and honesty. Disclosures of dishonesty and fabrication in the highest strata of business test our willingness to be honest and true. The apparent inequalities of the larger world repulse us and we turn to groups and smaller communities for the values we hold dear.

A community does not automatically arise. It is not bricks and mortar - it is the gestalt of connectedness - a natural way of being. It is a connectedness that touches
our deepest yearnings and gives us our most satisfying experiences - a connectedness to what is authentic, natural, and spontaneous in us. It is a search for a feeling of belonging and a belief in the 'rightness' of the groups or community - a search for personal identity reflected in the approval by others. What we seek appears is closely related to what can be called 'communitas'. It is not just community. The general dictionary description of community is too broad. Community in the dictionary can
mean people having common ties or interests, people living in a particular place, a sharing of ideas or particular similarities. It is a word describing almost any gathering of individuals. Community centers are buildings where people from the surrounding area congregate for sports and recreation. Churches have spiritual communities and new immigrants have their community. The Oxford Dictionary describes community as joint ownership, a fellowship, an organized political, municipal or social body, and community spirit as a feeling of membership of a community. None of these descriptions help us examine the depth of emotional attachment to a community. Emotional
attachment has such a wide range - from paying a small fee to enter a building to the commitment required to enter a monastery. What then does it mean to belong to an organization where community means a greater sense of vitality, creativity, and the willingness to seek greater challenges? By what criteria do we assess the depth and breadth of emotional attachment to a community?

That criteria is 'communitas'. It is from the Latin, meaning 'a relatively undifferentiated community, or even communion of equal individuals. This word is more directed towards feelings of mindfulness or reverence. It could describe a company of people on a pilgrimage or quest where people interact freely without the usual socially imposed norms. Communitas involves mutual understanding of a special knowledge. As it is a gathering around a particular idea or an ethical search it approximates the religious experience. Victor Turner, in his book, The Reality Process, (p. 139) says it has "something 'magical' about it. Subjectively there is a feeling of endless power." It is, in the vernacular of the sixties, 'being in the flow' - a period of intense comradeship.

The idyllic days of summer camp have come and gone. The intense relationships they fostered become memories. The hunger for the feelings of communitas now lost in time remains. The hunger for that special time cannot be conjured up. The 'magic' is gone - the synergistic occurrence, that mysterious confluence of events and people, cannot be recalled. What produced the feeling of communitas cannot be brought about by an act of will. Little is to be gained from an exploration of how it happened except endless speculation. It can be considered as a time when intuitively we recognised in one the many - when we had that sudden understanding we are all one.

What we do know is that there were many attitudes and actions contributing in some way to the flowering of communitas. This book is directed towards mapping the environment that nourishes communitas. It does not guarantee communitas will be achieved but the act of preparing the ground will help people form communities much closer to the ideal. Occasionally, a person may fall into communitas without prior preparation but this cannot be relied on. For most of us there is work and discipline involved in coming to accept such beliefs as 'the thought of the many are superior to the thought of one'. There is no way round acquiring attitudes diametrically opposed to most Western social expectations other than by extended exposure to those alternative thoughts and the experience gained from meeting challenging situations. Changing any mindset from adherence to a confrontational, adversarial and materially driven society to an interdependent, consensual, and ecologically sensitive society is a lengthy process. There are no short-cuts.