My interest in the compound is ethically suspect. Compounds in general are suspect. I’m intentionally using the word compound to evoke “family compound”, because it isn’t an open “cooperative”, not an aspirational “commune”. The compound resident wants to cultivate interdependence with the Us while withdrawing and becoming independent from the Them. This is a repudiation of the need to work to bring the Them into the Us (and when necessary to bludgeon the Them into realizing our Us is part of their Us whether they like it or not).
And yet somehow it’s easier to imagine that life would work better within Dunbar’s number, isn’t it? Whether that’s true or not – I’m certainly dependent enough on e.g. the pharmaceutical industry to laugh at Full Anprim – there is something we are not doing well in contemporary post-industrial American society, and maybe monastery towns were a good model for… something.
This seems like a cool way of having things organized even absent any withdrawal from society or radical economic arrangement. I live in a condo building where there are cool shared amenities, but every single unit also has a full kitchen, laundry machines, etc. etc. so I only really see my neighbors on the roof or in the elevators. While I have no regrets about this in the age of COVID, it doesn’t seem efficient or desirable broadly. How have amenities been shared throughout the history of urban life?