TAO Philosophy Discussion


May 24, 1978


These were all the arguments that were thrown up to me by the people in Stelle—they're not technically competent to even discuss the kind of things that we're thrashing out. We’re not technically competent! And people in The Stelle Group didn't want to touch that kind of stuff. “Why should we get involved in the engineering of a water treatment plant or sewage system, or how are we going to run certain kinds of things in the factory?” And so forth. They just didn't want to get involved because they thought they’d really be in deep water. They didn't have the background for it and they didn't want to get into it.


That's okay in some things. But there was an example brought up where everybody kind of agreed that it would be silly for everybody to vote on what color each new house is going to be up in Stelle. Because everything belonged to Stelle. Who has the right to decide what the color is? It should be everybody's right. What we did, we turned it over to a person who was an expert color coordinator. He went to college for a couple of years to learn how to coordinate colors. And that's how the design was selected—what color each was going to be. We said, far better to turn it over to a couple of experts to make those kinds of decisions rather than everybody—you’d have to have a hundred different colors. We didn't feel that was the way it had to be.


That was just a good example of one kind of thing. But it's not an example that extends to everything. That was the major problem that happened at Stelle. They didn’t want to get involved in anything. People said, “I don't want to know anything about government. I don't want to know anything about economics. I don't want to get involved in it. That's what we have experts for. We pick people who want to dig into it and we pay them and it's their job then to come up with all the details and make the decisions.” That's a cop out. Because there are some kinds of things like economics and government which everybody has to really get involved in. Otherwise, they don't understand what's happening.


And that was the first thing that happened after they finally got rid of the old trustees. Because then they had to go back and say, “Well, which way are we going to go? Now we're free. Nobody's telling us what to do anymore.” And then people come up with, “Well, the Brotherhoods seem to have some ideas about what this place is supposed to be here for and how we can serve them. And most everybody agreed to that. I’d say about ninety percent of the people at Stelle agreed—well, the primary thing that we are here for is the Brotherhoods’ work. Incredibly, there were ten percent that said, I came here to be in a new age community and I want to do my own thing. But they eventually kind of dropped out because the rest of the group was talking around them all the time. Wouldn't even consider them. Then they had to come down to what do the Brotherhoods want and how do we make ourselves get there the best possible way? They came up with the same answers that were passed along to them from the Brotherhoods through me. But they came up with the decisions. It was theirs. Then the responsibility was a hundred percent theirs, the direction that they were going. Some people said, “I really don't think that's the way to go but you've got a big guy up there who’s spouting about what we’re going to do and if you look cross-eyed you might get kicked out.” That was always the kind of excuse that they could use for not getting involved.


And the length and intensity of the town hall discussions that went on for months and months and months after the new trustees came in. It's incredible the number of man-hours. People were beginning to complain, they said, “We’ve spent five-thousand man-hours on discussion this month. All these people, all this time. And they insisted we're not getting anything done. Well, yes, we were getting something done. Stuff that they should have been able to get done all along except that there was an oligarchy who said, “We’re not going to put up all with this discussion because nothing ever gets resolved.” But things do get resolved.


Now we’ve got a set of bylaws which is five times thicker than what we started out with. I kid you not. It's that much more. It covers about everything you can think of. Even then they find that they screwed up because they forgot some little detail.


Well, the by-laws that we have here are pretty much adopted from some of the basic bylaws of The Stelle Group. We work with that to achieve that. But they've extended theirs to be far greater than what we have now. They try to cover just about everything. Every so often somebody gets kicked out—feels they're being kicked out because they want to do something which everybody else doesn’t agree to. And so therefore we have to come up with some kinds of answers. I don't get involved in all that. As a matter of fact, I don't even have the updated by-laws. Nobody has the updated bylaws. They're so complex now. It’s all made up of a whole bunch of things all strung together. We are going to have to consolidate the bylaws—all of the different sections—because it is now a document which is of considerable size. Eventually it will be so thick that they find that they've already run counter to some then.


QUESTION:    Any group tries action to try to shove something down the group that's when we should put out our heels and say hey hold on here. This power play is not going to work. It has to be recognized. Sometimes it even happens when people don’t know that that’s what they’re doing. They get enthusiasm for things. They agree


RICHARD:      They agree with certain kind of things that sound good but if it's pointed out to them then all of a sudden they'll look at themselves and say hey wait a minute here –


QUESTION:    That’s a dangerous thing that can happen to us. Question: “How do you know when there's to many rules when do you draw the line?”


RICHARD:      It’s up to the people. Whatever you vote in you can vote out.