One of my many jobs here is responding to inquiries about the community. I get 10-15 emails a week from folks who want more information about life on the commune. Some are just curious, others want to live here, some are skeptical, and some are writing papers for a college class. I recently got an email from someone who asked, “Don’t you think you all are just lying to yourselves about the real world?”

I responded:

thanks for your interest in Twin Oaks. As far as your question about
“lying to ourselves about the real world,” I think it really requires an
exploration of what you consider to be the “real world”. Do you
mean mainstream Western culture and economics? That would
mean that anyone choosing to live outside of those standards is
lying to themselves. Monks in monasteries, or tribal cultures in
other parts of the world, for example. Are they lying to themselves
about the real world?

The media creates an image of the world (primarily through movies,
television shows, and corporate news shows) and promotes it as
reality. Are reality TV shows really the “real world”? In the reality
touted by the media, money and success are the highest ideals.
Greed is normal. People compete. Violence is normal. The Earth
exists for humans to consume.

It was actually in pursuit of a more REAL world that brought me to
live at Twin Oaks. I felt too distanced from the basics of Life as I
drove my car through the city and bought food from the grocery
store and interacted with people as means to an end, not as people
themselves. Every experience is so mediatied! I wanted more
connection with the basic pieces of life — I wanted to participate in
providing my own food and I wanted to be engaged in decisions
about the world around me. I wanted to understand how things
work, not just hire someone to do it for me.

Every time I’ve worked in the garden since I got your email, I’ve
thought about your question. As I pick zucchini and corn and
tomatoes that will be cooked for our dinner in mere hours, I feel
more connected to the real world than I ever have before.

the more mundane details might be a more relevant answer for you.
We have bills to pay, we drive cars and pay for gas, we run 3 major
business and do all of the marketing and “supply and demand” song
and dance that any capitalist venture has to do. We buy things from
the store and watch movies every weekend. We are certainly not
cut off from the great big world. We’re just choosing to participate in
it differently than what we’ve been taught is the “right” way by
mainstream culture. Don’t get those messages confused with
reality. So much more is possible…

in joy,