Many cohousing groups talk about how conflict creeps out since everyone is so conflict averse that they are afraid to deal with it directly. I have heard that many groups have learned to deal with this over time especially with non violent communication, restorative circles, and especially with sociocracy so one person can not hold the group hostage with consensus blocks.
I heard a terrible example and I’ll switch it around here but believe me, it is similar to this fiction account inspired by the movie Bruno (Picture above). Sascha Baron Cohen’s movies are wonderful in doing social experiments and he explains that in his commentary on the Bruno DVD extras. I have noticed that he will say outrageous things and most people just agree since they are being polite and nice. In the first Borat movie one person did finally oppose when it went too far for him – the minute a prostitute entered their fancy party.
So here is the situation. In a cohousing community they have budgeted for new furniture for the common house but it’s not for 10 years ahead. A situation has come up where they have to buy new furniture now (all of it has broken). One member who tends to want control of decisions, opposes this switch of funding. They suggested they not use furniture at all and hire undocumented immigrants instead. Most others are appalled and don’t want to sit on people. Yet, everyone is afraid to “fight” her on this.
That’s what scares me about groups. They can become so afraid to confront ridiculous ideas that they would rather just go along with it. It can make people accept to do things or let things happen that are clearly wrong.
I wish we could do like in the wizarding world and just say “riddikulus” and move our wands like Harry Potter to a boggart.