Thoughts on body piercing
In order for a group to function cohesively, there has to be some degree of agreement as to what the group is trying to do, and how it's going to go about making that happen. Without a stable structure, steady progress isn't going to happen. On the the other hand, too much structure can stifle innovation and preclude the opportunity to discover unanticipated options and possibilities. There's a lot that can be learned along the way when one is ready to experience the unexpected, and use the insights gained in novel ways. The past is the only "operator's manual&quto; we have to go by, but it's also true that if you always do what you've always done, you'll just keep getting more of what you've already got. Since the intent of an intentional community is to do something different, something better, the trick lies in finding ways to tweak the system in positive ways without crashing it. Every generation needs to find some way to gross out their parents. We understand that, and feel something of a bemused sympathy for the current fad of piercing various body parts. As time goes on, each generation has to push the envelop ever harder in order to reach that next level of shock value, and one hesitates to even try to imagine the extremes that the next generation is going to have to aspire to in order to keep in the game. For the most part, we don't care if folks who want to come to Windward have tattoos or body piercing; it's their body, it's their business. However, we recently had a fellow come to Windward who taught us that we need to draw the line at tongue piercing. Just for the record, we're not particularly offended by the sexual implications of tongue piercing. In that regard, it's a juvenile thing to do, but every generation thinks that it discovered sex all on its own, and that's not likely to change. The problem is that Windward is a cooperative association, and the degree to which folks can co-operate is limited by their ability to communicate, and any choice which substantially diminishes a person's ability to communicate thereby limits their ability to effectively participate in what we're doing. Now it's one thing if a person's ability to communicate is limited because they're "hard of hearing," but it's something else entirely when the problem is that they're "hard of listening." We all have short-comings, things that we need to work through or get over. Arguably most of those problems have a self-induced component, and we strive to be as tolerant and understanding as we can be. However, it's exasperating to have to try extra hard to understand someone who'd mumbling because they've got a spike through their tongue. The upshot is that we don't care, on an organizational level, what body parts someone wants to pierce, just as we don't care, on an organizational level, if someone wants to use nicotine. We'd rather they didn't, but so long as they can afford the habit, and don't smoke in the kitchen or spit on the floor, it's their call. It's all about choices; but if someone truly is determined to mumble through life with a spike through their tongue, then Windward probably isn't the right choice for them.