In December we will celebrate the second year of our loony forum.
It has about 20 members in it, some of whom come and go, is private, and accessible on invitation only.
Participation is variable, but at this time, it is really stunning, as almost everybody is at least connecting once a day to say how they're doing, and what they're up to.
Why am I talking to you about this ?
Because... my loony forum is an EXCELLENT example of sheer democratic cooperation at work, and what "tissu social" is. There is no really good translation of "tissu social" in English, but you might say "social network". I personally DO NOT LIKE social network, because it privileges a.. computer, mechanistic metaphor, whereas "tissu social" uses a... textile metaphor.
For me a textile metaphor (a piece of fabric is made by interweaving, sometimes in an exceptionally complicated fashion, separate threads to make a... collective work that is THEN used to create something else) is a LIVING, vital metaphor, whereas a machine metaphor, well, that is .. DEAD. That's my prejudice, I suppose.
My loony forum is NOT facebook, for example, and many people on it have their own facebook pages.
WE created this forum TOGETHER, and it has several, separate areas where any member can write a post : some chapters : psychological subjects, spirituality, I'm mad and I spout off, I'm not doing so well, and here's why, good morning, astrology, social themes, animals,etc. (There are others, but you get the idea.) Anybody can post anywhere.
There were about half as many chapters when we started up, but YOURS TRULY suggested that we create others as our needs evolved, and that's how... spirituality got added, for example (yours truly again).
Although there are two administrators who oversee the forum's technical functioning, and sometimes issue invitations for new members, I insisted, and continue to exist that... NOBODY BE EXCLUDED, and that the forum function in TRULY DEMOCRATIC FASHION.
Which it has done... since the beginning.
I think that the founding fathers would have been REALLY proud, you know.
Getting 20+ people who are extremely marginal, most of whom are not working, and surviving with handicap allowances to... cooperate, and give mutual support, is a BIG CHALLENGE.
And.. after two years of continuous BELIEF, and encouragment from yours truly, this challenge is panning out, and I can safely say that the anima, the spirit of the forum is exceptional in the way that it is supporting people to take risks, to dare to develop their underrated talents.
The forum is ONE of the most important factors helping them to emerge from a sense of despair, and feel that, although marginal, THEY have something to contribute to society.
And... this from people who have, for the most part, received psychiatric diagnoses (with which I am not necessarily in agreement, moreover...).
Now.. they are not running out to "contribute" to society by smoothly transitioning into "productive" 9-5 jobs, but then... maybe society needs other ways to occupy its members than those proverbial 9-5 jobs at this point ?? Maybe society can benefit from OTHER OCCUPATIONS than SALARIED work ? It takes all kinds to make up a world, right ?
By the way... I forgot to mention possibly THE MOST IMPORTANT function of the forum at this time : it is a place of continuing POPULAR education, as everybody contributes by posting his/her knowledge/expertise.
Continuing, popular education. This is the BIGGEST challenge that our societies are facing at this time, and WILL face in the future.
And... last but not least : FOR FREE