Espheria © Extended Family Homes and Cooperative Communities
Imagine, for a moment, living in a truly optimum circumstance. Your friends and relatives, those of like mind, those you are close to and feel compatible with, are only a few footsteps away, the whole Unit surrounding you in a loving, protective environment. Everyone and everything conveniently close, helpful and intimate when needed, and yet each person with his and her own private space. Folks whose beliefs and way of life are like yours.
These intimates speak and act in ways you find intelligent and generally appropriate. (Not that your beliefs are exactly the same, which never happens.) You live in a beautiful mutually-owned off-the-grid environmentally sound location. You finally have time to truly relax, be creative, and live like a human being should. No more desperate struggle to survive. No more vulnerability to, and slavish dependence on, the “powers-that-be”.
Why Cooperative Community (CoOpCom)?
In the USA, and most Western countries, the American Dream, “the good life”, is lived in relative isolation—everyone having their own home, pet, car, .6 children, TV, etc.—their own “same thing” as everyone else, which is a huge waste of resources, time, and life. Our current culture tells us this is how to live, what our way our life should look like. So, like good consumers, we are divided and conquered by Big Corporate and Big Government, tied up by interminable, impossibly complex and arbitrary rules and regulations, working endless treadmill hours just to keep our heads above water.
Basically, we are not making use of what humankind has gained in hundreds of thousands of years: Cooperative Community. We struggle to live life on the merely vital salt-of-the-earth level—on an emergency basis. Espheria essentially pre-solves the life situation or condition and ends the search for private survival in this idiotic divided-and-conquered existence. We share the life force, the responsibility of life, and thus survive without negative adventure, making our energy available to each other for the happy and free life we have always wanted.
Cooperative Community Designs for Real Human Growth and Genuine Happiness
As a youth, your author became fascinated with CoOpCom, later heard about it in college Anthropology class, and finally, experienced it in living circumstances. But it was never the full-on event he knew could happen. We did not own the land. We stayed in large, rented homes. Essential privacy was missing. Lacking understanding of real community, we struggled with the dynamics of living together and rightly sharing our energies. Since then, right guidance and sufficient experience has taught us how cooperative living really works.
In a phrase, the nuts and bolts of living together harmoniously involve (1) the right physical structures, and (2) the right social living design. We at Grand Medicine now have that plan in place. We have what we and many others feel is a strong, flexible and beautiful physical design that provides a physical basis for the simple (and yet still possibly quite varied—and definitely “higher”) life-positive lifestyle: a stable, protective, secure, physical and social environment most supportive of right life and genuine growth in real human terms.
Importantly, we now know, thru observing signs in our current world, that true CoOpCom—at varying levels of consciousness—will be perhaps the main way we humans will be living in the near and far future. For many reasons, it is the most intelligent way for humankind to live—and essentially the way we humans lived most of our existence in this form: perhaps some 1.7 million years—until certain shrewd people developed the current separative divide-and-conquer mentality which fed modern industrial civilization. Espheria is preparing to construct Monolithic Espheria Communities and “Extended-Family” homes for groups of like-minded people worldwide.
Hardware and Software
Espheria’s “hardware” is its structure: a large central monolithic (www.monolithic.com) commons dome, the CentralDome, with 8-to-12 small attached private satellite domes, plus a nearby large separate GardenDome. Monolithics were chosen for being virtually disaster-proof (steel-reinforced concrete), simple rounded beauty, longevity, minimum upkeep, low maintenance cost, and inexpensive heating / cooling / insurance.
In basic design, the central dome houses every “community” quality one could want:
- Food and water
- Protection from the environment
- Communion Hall for group events, including religious / sacred practices
- Multiple rooms and spaces for relational activities of many kinds (kitchen / dining, movies & games, library, dispensary, infants and children, pool / spa, etc.)
The attached satellite domes provide quiet privacy for 1-5 persons or more. The nearby but separate garden dome provides most or all of the food needs of a community or family of up to 25 people. Water wells, catchment, and wind/solar collectors provide water and power for the energy independence and off-the-grid self-sufficiency.
The Project’s “software” is about how we live together and grow as human beings. This may sound easy to some. Those experienced in living cooperatively with others understand that certain agreements are essential. There has to be responsibility and accountability for it to work well—or even at all. At Espheria, we know the parameters of living successfully together—which can be designed to fit virtually any group.
It is far easier to grow in every way when all of life’s necessities are well-managed and organized in a graceful and peaceful environment—easier than when living as a single person, single parent, or typical family. Usually, we struggle to make ends meet or just survive, often while crammed (sometimes with relatives and friends) into a single structure (typical family home, apartment building, townhouse, condo, etc.) that was never designed for full, real, cooperative living in the first place—much less for true human growth. Rent, in the end, leaves you with nothing. Buying leaves you with or a big mortgage that takes a lifetime to pay off.
Most people currently live in variously sized conventional, vulnerable housing. Since the beginning of the Industrial Age (1760), our so-called “communities” have been purposefully designed to keep families and individuals separate, dependent, and in the most vulnerable position to be good consumers of the machine of industry (owned by Big Corporate). An Espheria Unit is exactly the opposite: softly and naturally rounded, designed for a small, united group known as optimum successful cooperation. Intelligent persons, hearing of this Project, want to live there—or reasons both secular and sacred.
Many have prayed for an opportunity to live in real community with like-minded people. Some have struggled thru “live-together” situations, some working better than others. In most nayborhoods we find it hard to relate to those living next door. But no nayborhoods successfully satisfy the real needs of the heart. Which is why Espheria has the best shot at being a truly successful human living design.
An official Espheria CoOpCom Prospectus is now in process, complete with Project sketches and a functional “custom-designed-for-you” community living-plan, including Project financials, buy-in / buy-out, projected relatively low regular fees and costs, housing feature details for both the CentralDome and Satellites, local resource availability, residence eligibility, family and guest access, etc. Please review the Outline below, and email us your interest in the GranMed Espheria Project at [email protected].
“In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The original Espheria Cooperative Community Project was conceived by Leonard Mehlmauer, ND (ret.) of Grand Medicine. The Espheria Project Prospectus contains many more “hardware” and “software” details. Questions and comments may be addressed to [email protected] .
“Only true cooperative community provides the human functional basis for the continuous testing and schooling of truly human qualities. When people exist outside the domain of cooperative human community, all the forms of anti-social and ego-possessed aberration appear—and, once having appeared, they cannot truly be changed, unless the individual is restored to the intimate domain of cooperative community.
“Until the individual is restored to (or, otherwise, right and truly established in) cooperative community, the responsibility for ‘curing’ his or her anti-social, or subhuman, or (altogether) egoic aberrations seems to belong to abstract professions and institutions. However, neither the secular ‘machine’ of the abstract State, nor any design of arbitrary social laws and brute police, nor any great ‘priesthood’ of psychiatrists and social workers can do what can be done only by the humanizing influences of right intimate cultural inspirations and expectations within the domain of cooperative human community.
“Therefore, one and all should devote their inherent political freedom to right and true cooperative human community. One and all should put all free human energy into the free energizing of truly human things. One and all should constantly righten the life by transcending the separate and separative ego-‘self’, and this by always subordinating the separate and separative ego-‘self’ to That Reality and Truth Which Always Already Includes, Pervades, Fills, Exceeds, Transcends, and Outshines one, and all, and All.”
—Adi Da Samraj, The Healing Power if Cooperative Human Community, in Not-Two Is Peace
“Cooperative community is absolutely necessary to the continuance in human time of the Divine Process.”—Adi Da Samraj, No Remedy
The Espheria Project has certain unique qualities that perhaps differentiate levels of success: (1) the “hardware” design or building layout, the “Espheria” principle, and (2) the growth-factor flexibility of the “software” social community design. We know of nothing quite like this in the modern history of CoOpCom. We have people with decades of experience with both hardware and software—plus a strong literature platform to rely upon.
The Basic Plan—the Structure
(2) The original Espheria design calls for 8-12 private Satellite residence domes to be attached peripherally to the CentralDome—altho designs for anywhere between 4 and 16 satellites of various sizes are possible.
(3) A large monolithic GardenDome (a greenhouse / food production dome), complete with large window areas and GrowLites, supplies most of the residents’ food needs year-round plus extra produce to offer to local naybors, for barter, for sale at local farmer’s markets, for exchange with other CoOpComs, for commerce, and for charity. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, both gardens and trees: climate-controlled for a continuous growing season.
*The 16-25-person numbers are the amounts that studies have determined to be appropriate for an effective and efficient Cooperative Community (or “parish”). This number actually conforms to the apparent average size of human hunter-gatherer groups over most of our Human existence according to Anthropologists. (Note: the facility could handle far more persons on a temporary / emergency basis. Moreover, Monolithic Domes are usually considered “designated disaster relief centers” due to their near-disaster-proof qualities.)
These rounded, permanent, graceful, elegant and beautiful domes blend with the environment and, possibly colored, can easily seem to be growing out of the earth. The CentralDome is planned as having three to five floors or levels, including a commodious storage basement sufficient to handle all member needs. The variously smaller private Satellite domes are each attached radially to the social commons CentralDome by a saddle-like, walk-thru-door structure. An individual private parking pad can be located directly beside (or very close by) each Satellite.
The CentralDome is generally planned to include:
The individual attached peripheral 20’-40’ private Satellite Domes each contain their own bedroom(s), bathroom(s), living room and kitchen/kitchenette facilities. Satellite domes are basically for privacy and simplified / minimal-effort-and-energy-expenditure living.
Domes within Domes
Specialized configurations are in planning for special circumstances. For example, in areas of geography where weather conditions are particularly hostile and difficult (polar, high mountain and desert areas).
For growing food crops and certain other outdoor activities, we could have a large Plexiglas dome covering the smaller domes or the entire area. This glass-like dome would enclose the Central Dome, its Satellites, the Garden Dome, and any and all other associated community structures. Such a large “covering” dome would allow a significant measure of weather protection as well as a far greater level of climate control. It would also, of course, further enhance security. In these environments, once adequate water is located, all materials needed for self-sufficient living, including GardenDome soils, could be trucked or airlifted in.
“A man announces a lack of wisdom when he builds a temporary, unstable house.” —Adi Da (CDMS #9)
Why Monolithic Domes?
Monolithic domes (www.monolithic.com) have been chosen as the official Espheria CoOpCom or extended family structures for many reasons:
With conventional homes, one match or a local fire and they up in smoke. Earthquakes quickly shake them to rubble. Hurricanes easily blow them apart. They require the cutting down of forests. They have necessary periodic repairs—for “a hole in the roof or a whole new roof!”, painting and fix-up, insurance costs, etc. For most families, they are the biggest investment in life—squarish, angular structures that “stick out” from natural surroundings. They are on the grid, vulnerable to the whims and fancies of Big Corporate utility companies. In other words, to (1) natural weather and environmental conditions, and (2) man-made (including socio-political-economic) disasters.
- Virtually disaster-proof
- Can last a thousand years
- Require minimum maintenance
- Involve extremely low-cost insurance
- Are lovely, rounded, “natural”-appearing structures
- Cost about the same or less to build as conventional homes of equal size
- Are natively extremely low-cost & efficient for year-round heating and cooling
Monolithic Domes are easy on the eye and blend well with the environment. Fires can do only superficial damage, if any (depending on desired dome surface). Hurricanes swirl around them and cannot get hold of anything. Earthquakes only rattle them a bit—“shake but don’t break”. Floods are not a consideration unless one builds in a flood plain! There can be no termite damage since the structure is made of steel-reinforced cement. The walls and roof are an integrated whole, thus never need replacing or even (in most cases) repairing.
And, as Espheria CoOpComs, these structures have many added advantages, including the care and protection of the many as opposed to the few. Inhabitants have the security usually afforded only to the very wealthy.
Off-the-Grid Energy Self-Sufficiency
With current technology, your Espheria will be completely energy self-sufficient and, as suggested, you grow (by far) most of your own natural untainted non-GMO food (data provided). Rainwater catchments can supplement well water as necessary or available. The common shared-space or community areas are within the CentralDome, while the variously smaller Satellite domes allow individuals, couples, and small families their own private space to do with as they will, adequate for 1, 2, 3 or more people (sizes can vary). The design allows for infants, children, adolescents, adults and seniors—all according to the desires of the individual or group purchasing the design. The individual private Satellite domes are built on a 20’ to 40’ design. The 20’ model is appropriate for one or possibly two adults, while the 25’ to 40’ domes can comfortably house a family of one to four.
“While intelligent and living realism isn’t likely to happen in the world anytime soon, it can happen in communities of choice—one at a time.” —Adi Da Samraj
Security for Seniors
Many human cultures currently have “senior” populations, people in their 60s, 70s and above. Espheria takes geriatrics into account while allowing for the inclusion of young people—including infants. Units can be designed strictly for seniors, too, of course. However, due to the excellent soundproofing / sound-conducting qualities of the basic Monolithic design, your satellite apartment is your quiet haven.
All the security and support involved in cooperative living can be maintained far easier in Espheria environments—and with trusted friends always nearby. Rules are few, all according to the needs, intelligence and sensitivity of inhabitants—designed to lead the chosen lifestyles and specific needs of your group. We provide the “software” aspect in all the detail and flexibility you need—and according to your instructions and based on your requirements. Thus, you enjoy a CoOpCom living design for long, healthy lives in happy mutual cooperation.
The elderly generally do not savor living in “rest homes” with strangers. They can adapt, but it is not what they (we) really want. We want to live with those we know and love. We want to feel like we are continuing to contribute in positive ways to the lives of loved ones and the community. We savor peace and quiet, but we want occasional access to other generations—including the very young.
The last thing we want is to be shuffled off away from those we hold most dear—or to be “stuck” with our children, unable to care for ourselves and feeling like a drain on the family. We want to be self-sufficient to whatever degree possible, and yet secure in our person, able to turn our attention to the sacred and to whatever creative project(s) would be helpful and of which we are capable. Espheria provides it all.
“Life is divided into three parts: Preparation [youth], Dedication [middle age], and Meditation [old age]”.
—Native American proverb
Espheria is a cooperative design in terms not only of finances but also of talents, skills and abilities. All of this is shared in various ways. Altho the land may be (in some cases may necessarily legally be) in one person’s name, the ideas and concepts on modern applications, and how it will develop, flow from many long-time and experienced CoOpCom dwellers. The success of your Project will in some real sense be based on their experience and understanding. Still, participants—you and individual members of your group—may buy in and sell out of the community at any time. Such is built into all Espheria agreements.
“Fundamentally, there is only ‘bad news’ in the ordinary, ego-based, un-Enlightened, chaotic world. Instead of waiting for action from ‘sources’ out in the world somewhere…you must, yourself, become involved in intimate, cooperative community (or real cooperative social culture) with other human beings. In a responsible, mutually dependent, cooperative, tolerant, peaceful, and intimate relationship with other human beings, you must create and protect the basics of a truly human culture and of a truly intimate daily human society.” —Adi Da Samraj
Inadequate Housing vs. CoOpCom Designs
Currently, in most human societies, there is little in the form of true CoOpCom. Under these “every family or individual on his own” circumstances, it is difficult to have time freed up for genuine human pursuits—including higher human life and growth.
Most housing has developed according to the prevailing mode of the culture. Even when one owns the land and/or structure(s), one or more of these common nayborhood “community home” qualities prevail:
- Unnatural (squarish, rectangular, or otherwise boxy) housing; difficult to look at; not “easy on the eye”
- High-maintenance (always something needing to be repaired or replaced)
- Relatively flimsy and vulnerable to natural forces (earthquake, hurricane, fire, flood)
- Wasteful consumer-oriented “divide-and-conquer”* design: every family with its own fridge/washer/dryer, etc.
- Often do not even know your neighbors or otherwise do not associate with them (and frequently for good reasons!)
- Non-relational (or even anti-relational) or sterile so-called communities whose boundaries can only be determined on the pages of a map, rather than conforming to natural environmental contours
- Feelings of frustration in the lack of (and great need for) real relational community with others
- Hit-or-miss opportunities for children and young people—as well as adults—to find philosophically / morally compatible others; and often having to travel long distances to be with them
- You never had the opportunity to consciously choose your naybors, those living close to you
Some of us have already lived in some form of cooperative circumstance: rented homes, purchased homes, apartments, larger buildings—even hotels and other large structures renovated and decorated to conform to some semblance of community living. But in how many instances do people actually own the land and buildings outright? Who can even afford to!?
And how many of these habitats were designed specifically—from the ground up—for CoOpCom? How many were planned “from the git-go” for even the possibility of optimum living? No, most homes are designed to place you in the most vulnerable and dependent position possible, dependent, that is, on Big Government and Big Corporate, with a big mortgage and struggling to survive—and consume, consume, consume.
Espheria complexes can be created for all kinds of people, to meet all needs and requirements, and with no concerns for the whims of landlords, Big Corporate, and wasteful Big Government.
Paraphrasing Adi Da Samraj:
“The conditional domain is not based on mathematics but on shape; the basic shape is the circle.”
Two Critically Different Factors
Folks usually want to have friends and family close by, while at the same time enjoying privacy. We want to have community and cooperation, but be able to retire to our quiet cave when needed or desired. We want to have luxury but without destroying the Earth to enjoy it, or otherwise exhausting ourselves in the process of obtaining it.
How do we do that? Via this principle: several can move the big stone that one cannot. We know we need to expend energy to live in the world, but we also know we should not have to struggle desperately to make that happen. Espheria offers possibilities beyond the usual struggle common to the separatist one-family-alone model of Western society. The Espheria principle makes a difference.
The satellite structural principle allows people to live “separately” and yet “close by”—enabled to participate in cooperative culture, the community of our group in the CentralDome, having certain meals and events together, living like a millionaire, providing us with the best of both worlds—without having to drive. Need to go on vacation but afraid of leaving dog, cat, kids, or house behind and vulnerable?
With Espheria, there is the security of knowing someone is always there to care for things. But there is another crucial item: the software, a flexible and truly livable design. These two together have not yet happened—until Espheria! Shown here: a possible single-family design.
We know that “the many can live cheaper than the few”. The costs and energy expenditure come way, way down with the group working together. The awful struggle for survival that so many of us are daily involved in is mitigated and obviated. The closeness, the friendships, the care of trusted persons of integrity living nearby—the strength in manageable numbers, the cooperation, agreements, built-in requirements of responsibility and integrity—it’s all there in real CoOpCom—with (we feel) its best expression in the Espheria design.
This world culture is in transition, and there are many pressures we all feel right now: “These are dreadful times. Things are not going to get easier in the future.” (—Adi Da) So, we grant each other the room, the space to adapt to the changes. We make agreements with each other and lovingly and compassionately hold each other accountable. The call goes out to show this much faith. This is the new consciousness. Now is the time.
Society works on rules, laws and agreements among the citizens. The Espheria CoOpCom Unit is a small “society”, so regulations can be fairly simple and yet broad enough to manage all manner of personalities and walks of life, all ages, and with relative ease. Arrangements that allow for the lifestyles of your group can be done. People have always been a work-in-progress. Sooner or later, we place ourselves in this position to have the best opportunity to grow—and with real humor. A select group of people works out “software” variations to adapt to your group needs. These will be outlined in your Espheria Prospectus and offered to your people privately and exclusively.
Timeframe, Costs and Commitment
Basically, your commitment speeds the Project along. While there may be one or two people who can afford to finance the entire project outright, the participants, those who plan to live in the complex will in most cases likely share the costs of construction and implementation—which winds up being far less for individuals than purchasing a single home and otherwise living singly. Initial investment will vary according to the desires and abilities of the group. Various options will be offered. Expenses after move-in are, for the typical single family, far less than that in the typical common household circumstance.
Your Espheria could be ready for habitation within a few months of your order. A flexible buy-in fee is suggested in the Prospectus. Certain factors must be considered, including construction costs in your locale, desired CentralDome appointments, road, access, water, alternative power, and other factors.
First, you find your group and discuss your needs with them. Then, contact us to discuss how we can work together to create your Unit. Learning your specific group needs, how your group interacts together, we determine the hardware and software needs of your group. Then, we offer you sketches of your Espheria and consider how it will serve you in all ways and in practical terms. On your approval, and with your commitment, we will construct your new life-space, your new efficient and effective way of living, your own Espheria Community.
How It Can Work
Consider: your group owns the land and the buildings. The Espheria structure is new, graceful, custom-designed for you, and its journey—your journey—is ready to be lived. You will have your privacy AND your community as needed / desired for your real growth and truly balanced living. A study will be made of local resources, facilities, plus the talents of your group (the inhabitants), and also of the local people, your naybors. Espheria will be available for you to consult as needed.
A People-Oriented Business
At Grand Medicine, we feel the time for this real cooperative living design has finally come—a design to save time and energy for real creativity and for being basically human. We have the mandate. We look forward to working with you.