In building community, we must find ways to manage diversity, and to support it. But which sort of diversity should we focus on? Here are some options:

  1. Diversity of goals and desires—e.g. consent
  2. Diversity of identities or backgrounds—often just called "diversity"
  3. Diversity of what's meaningful to the people in a group.

Most groups focus on the first two and forget about the third. So in this handbook, we focus on the third type of diversity, and the wonderful things that happen when we give it some attention.

It matters which diversity you focus on

When a group focuses on diversity of goals and desires, their events might feel something like a marketplace. A place where consensual exchanges occur. Where people with compatible goals find each other and collaborate. Practices about consent are about managing diverse desires. So are different kinds of voting and ranking procedures, often used in team planning and decision-making.

When a group focuses on diversity of identities or backgrounds (races, sexual orientations and so on), their events might be more like a story circle, a place where people listen and learn about what life has been like for others, and how others read the world.

Focusing on this third kind of diversity—diversity of what's meaningful to the people in a group—helps get past listening and exchanging. It helps with growing and exploring together, and with building a group wisdom. It also helps with threats to meaning: often groups turn into meaningless networking events or power struggles over time, but this can be avoided by attending to what's meaningful to people, and recognizing how that diversity of meaning is endangered when groups become venues for individual goals, status games, or norms. Finally, this kind of diversity (which we'll sometimes call the diversity of values; see What the Hell are Values?, Part 1) has advantages for groups that design together—whether that's a group designing it's own rituals or working towards social change by redesigning broader social systems.

About this book

The book is in two sections:

Enjoy! And please—if you test these practices or invent your own, join the List of Collaborators so that we can continue to improve this book.

You're reading: Future Togetherness Handbook

Next chapter: Ch 1. Against BS & Power Games