Hello, I'm Susan Banks. I regularly attend this chapel.  Looks like I get to be the one to introduce you to the branch of New Liberty's society we call the
Spiritual/Cultural Life.

Although religious and philosophical beliefs certainly are an important part of individual, "spiritual" life, our use of the terms Spiritual/Cultural include other areas of our individuality as well. The one concept that summarizes our approach to matters of individuality is Freedom  There is a wide diversity of religious beliefs in our village, and there are as many different philosophies as there are persons. If you wish to hear other's beliefs, or tell us your own, you can come to the "I believe ..." Discussion Group anytime. Other important aspects of our lives included in our concept, Spiritual, include ideas, talents, aspirations, education, artistic expression, culture, all things that go beyond the physical, rooted in individuality. No government, no peer pressure, no one else in fact, has much to say what my or your spiritual qualities should be, or are. Personal free will and individual differences rule here.

We recognize everyone's freedom to believe and think whatever one wishes. We have no interest in changing another's mind about anything. We do appreciate the freedom to express our own beliefs, and find that tolerance and slowness to judge others for their own individualities encourages exploration and open expression of beliefs and insights from which we can all benefit.

Some things just are not to be messed with by group decisions and influence, or decisions made regarding the production, distribution and consumption of goods. No one else can tell me what I think, what I want, what my talents should be, or how my personal idiosyncrasies and potentials should be used. Our educational system, our cultural life, our talent development organizations, our entrepreneurial life, our family life, our beliefs and religions, even the control of our money, all are parts of this arena of Spiritual/Cultural social life, up to individuals, not government, even financial status. 

The public, group decision making process, and the economic life: each are very different, truly important things. The Spiritual/Cultural Life is another sphere with it's own propensities and requirements, totally unique to itself alone. It must ever stand free, unencumbered or restricted by group control or economic considerations and influence. It is primary to first understand this principle to understand New Liberty Village. 

 
THE SPIRITUAL / CULTURAL LIFE 

Any person, as an individual, must find his or her place among the other two domains of society, the economic and human rights areas. Though we live with others, through our "I"- ness alone do we live in the world of Freedom. When we speak of Spiritual/ Cultural life we refer to our own wills, thoughts, aspirations, and talents, even our bodies, those things that make us special and different, certainly not alike or equal.  Individuals, I-dentities, that make us separate I's.  How we express our special and peculiar Individualities in the world while living with others is up to us, our individual wills and spirits. How others react to us and respond is of course up to them, as well. We are actually free to do all manner of deeds, think all kinds of thoughts, one possible end result being total isolation, even being bound head and foot in a jail or mental hospital. Still, we make the choices, notwithstanding the consequences. The social and economic realms still play out their own particular realities, with their causes and effects, and discovering and growing into the world of Spirit, developing our own backbones and spiritual muscles to withstand onslaughts and gain self control, independence, and right relationship to these other worlds is what it means to be human, in the earth.

Whether individuals can come to manifest their spirits and individuality has great implications for the welfare of the societies in which we live.  We are not speaking of only abstract, ephemeral, otherworldly principles or ideas. Free individuals, who have learned and are enabled to express and expand their talents, convert their energies into creative, productive lives, which empowers society.   Persons encouraged to invent, to write, speak, play, create and work, build, 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I  to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you NOT to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."


Nelson Mandela's Inaugural Speech, 1994

understand, experiment, and commune with others, leading active mental, spiritual and physical lives, result in far different societies than from fearful, restricted and timid, masses who blindly are slaves to others control, be it political or economic.  Given fulfillment of  potential human qualities, what it means to be human can be completely re-defined and revealed. Strong in Spirit means strong in everything ... not just a mamby-pamby self-righteousness, or an aesthetic other-worldliness. Open, exploring, exhilarated, loving, hopeful, purposeful, confident, persons with response-ability. Persons with the ability to respond to all of life's challenges and offerings.  That is the primary goal of the Spiritual Branch of New Liberty Village.

Today's world has focused on the economic aspects of life.  Individuality and spirit are made subject to occupations and earning a living, and the ceaseless pursuit of things. It is our goal at New Liberty to keep "things" in their proper perspective and importance.  We know the place of economics, the place of joint decision making and even rules ...  but that place is not in the realm of our individuality,  however strongly our spirits express themselves in these worlds. A strong and vital society is dependent upon individuals within it reaching their highest  individual/spiritual potentials. Stifled, thwarted, mechanized automatons will not make for a healthy or vital society. If education and training continues at the mercy of financial status and power politics, we will never find out what a man or woman can become!

The best way to saw a board or to raise a chicken is a realm of knowledge very important to economic life. The rules regarding the cutting of timber, or the disposal of poultry waste may be very important to my neighbor or the next generation, very important to rights considerations.  But whether I want to be a cabinet maker, or raise chickens for a living should not be decided by a government or a large corporation. My personal decision might well be colored by the shortage of lumber, or supply and demand of chickens. If my desire, aspirations and talents run in the line of mathematical concepts and theory, I should be able to follow this bent. The point is not that it is somehow more spiritual to have mathematical talent or artistic aptitude, (any activity done with heart and skill is just as "spiritual" as another), but that the power and the energy to decide, to direct, and then to create through bodily effort is of the spirit; not measurable, seen, felt or touched, but none-the-less, of great portent.

No one else can say "I" with the meaning I have when I say it, nor can they say it for me.  There are some things which are simply up to each of us alone.  My strength, insight, energy, creativity and power springing from my individuality can add life to my community if a place is made for me to grow and my individuality to come to expression.  If economic and political forces hold undue influence and power, I might be encouraged and forced to give my life over to things that deaden and destroy, to use up all my time with crass banalities in search of the "good life", or even to just survive.

How "freely" an individual is able to express his own spirit, is undoubtedly based on deeper levels of his or her being than conditioning from our environment and upbringing.  It's true that Individuality often thrives on overcoming resistance's. Sometimes those who rise out of impossible situations seem the strongest, certainly the most unique.  However, individuals born into healthy families, through education and a sense of self-respect, can learn ways to express their spirit, making a way where talents and skills can be used ... balanced, healthy individuals with great capabilities for good.  A child who has had the opportunity to learn a variety of responses, who has been allowed the practice and exercise of his own will, and sees the world as a place where he can make a difference, will more likely become a productive, responsible adult.  We are beginning to see results in our independent, self-guided, thinking and feeling kids. They do not just conform, and most certainly, they are not all alike.

Here our youth learn they actually do control their own lives. They can achieve what they have the talent, and the desire, to do.  It's not what they have the social position, or money to do, or what the corporations or governments want them to do.  They actually do what they want to do!

Too many of us waste away our lives daily and yearly doing with our hands and minds what our hearts are not really into.  Lethargy and ennui come to be our normal state ... half alive, jaded by the rewards we "earn" for playing our prescribed roles.  It is not hard to understand why cynicism has replaced the sense of purpose and joy that comes from living out of our own being, our own choices.

A community of real individuals, operating from their own developed and controlled energies, united in a group action, is a powerful and mighty force, stronger even than the sum of its parts.  It is important that we come to understand the place of individual free choice and expression in our social life.  Our lives and our future depend upon it!

THE DIFFERENCE

Recognizing, differentiating, and structuring a free Spiritual Life in the community along side the voluntary, free economic associations, and a true human rights democracy, results in very real, down-to-earth differences in our daily life.  New Liberty Village, above all else, is a town full of individuals, and out of this fact is growing a healthy, unified society, a true communion between individuals.

The resultant unity is an organically developing whole, resulting from each of the three aspects working along side each other.  They are intra-related, but each function independently of the other.  Each of us are individuals with special, different, unequal needs and desires. This fact is allowed for, and encouraged by our Bill of Rights [under construction] from which our especial society took life.

Besides spirits, each of us are natural physical beings that require things in order to survive.  In this area we are not free.  The earth and its resources are finite, and we see how close we are to losing our own lives along with the other life forms on the planet. We also are not free to ignore the rights of others.  We can, but will pay the consequences.  We are not free from cause and effect. This is where freedom is transmuted into responsibility in the realm of Human Rights.

Practice in FREEDOM results in surprising, animating differences in our daily life.  When a person is allowed to deal freshly with their moment-to-moment exigencies, the nitty--gritty facts and exigencies of daily life, insight and response-ability arise.    Common-sensical conclusions can then be drawn from the realities at hand, not revelations handed down from some authority or leader. Having the capability, desire and opportunity to walk around, see things from as many points of view as possible, solutions become clearer.  Given encouragement and means to put into effect what we see, real changes result.  Insight (a "spiritual" reality) means nothing if it is not in touch with real life.  Real "Truth" is to be carried over into, materialized, in the physical.  The more "spiritual" a person is, in the sense we speak of here, the more one sees things as they ARE.  The saner, the wiser, the more down to earth.  When I use the word "spiritual" for want of a better word, I am not meaning a pious, otherworldly reality.  It is true that from this independent center, it is possible to come to perception of realties beyond what most consider "normal".  But it is equally true that it is only through developed, first-hand perceptions that sense can be made of mundane, physical realities.  A new zest and sense of purpose is thereby given to us in life, achievable no other way. 

EDUCATION

Education ... to bring forth the talents and abilities to think, feel and interact with the world in which we live, is one province of the Spiritual/cultural life.  Here, education is free in many aspects ... the sense that each person is free to learn what he wishes, and as a parent, one is free to educate ones own children according to one's own beliefs and understanding, and free in the sense that education is not dependent upon ones economic status, or ability to pay.

Our education is offered to anyone, as a gift, without obligatory charge.  Some of us have discovered that it is of the nature of spiritual things to grow when they are shared as gifts.  Donations given out of gratitude and admiration are free and voluntary acts. In this sphere, we are seeing a vast exchange of energies and gifts, one person to another, one person from another.  Parents that do have money to share often freely donate what they can to the particular school with which they are involved.  This money buys textbooks, whatever.  Some parents also help manually in the construction and maintenance of the buildings. There are many ways to contribute to the end that our own children, and other's children, get a quality education.

Many teaching activities are exchanges of gifts as well. Some parents teach subjects they are versed in as their own children are taught by others. The persons who have chosen full-time teaching as a career and their chief economic activity, are remunerated by the individuals or the group that operate the school, from the funds that are contributed by parents and other donors. That these principles and policies do work, and how they work, should be seen first hand.

The New Liberty Village web-site is itself an example of a free educative, spiritual/cultural endeavor by  individuals. This activity is carried on and supported by independent individuals, voluntarily by free-choice.  Any remuneration and contributions of material and talent it receives is derived from voluntary donation. Any and all information or enjoyment is offered freely to anyone and everyone that wishes to read or participate, with no strings attached.

This principle of free and voluntary donation is applicable for other "spiritual", individual expressions as well.  Lectures, classes, and cultural activities are encouraged under this form of giving and receiving.  Our new Community Center offers a place for on-going, individual expression and learning to flourish.  In this way, educational, cultural, and other spiritual activities are available to all without economic discrimination.  Everyday, something new occurs that attracts  persons from the Village, and now even from different parts of the globe!  Our stage, for example, has started the careers of several citizens on their way to fame. Our musicians and composers, dancers, singers and songwriters, our graphics artists and picture painters, our lecturers and seminar teachers, know they are appreciated, and have offered something of value to others by, among other things, how much they find in the collection box after their contributions are made. They in turn are free to contribute what they wish to the Community Center. We know of only a few places that rely on this form of giving and taking, at least to the extent that it occurs at our community center.  We believe that these principles and practices will spread because of the results ... the flourishing talent, learning, and enjoyment that grows from such opportunity for "spiritual" expression.

There are several other not-for-financial-profit, Spiritual/Cultural Life organizations modeled in the New Liberty Village. They arose from the will, inspiration and contributions of individuals, no government agency, or multi-mega corporation.  For example, many persons have been aided by the talent search agency, began by the founders of the I-BEAM Talent Development Company.  It offers free vocational counseling, testing, and employment placement services.  If you haven't talked with Alan at the Cafe, stop in and he will tell you how he came to have his own business through the agencies help. Of course, you can go by the agency yourself. They will show you how such an organization can help persons like yourself, or your children, find out which are your particular interests and talents, and help with practical steps to reach your goals, including financial aide. Anyone usually finds something to contribute to the general well being of the community by doing what they like doing best, or learning new skills and interests they may never have even dreamed were a possibility. I hear they are developing a series of online testing and counseling procedures that any visitor can use for his own information, free for the taking.

One of many different schools here in the village may be chosen. One group of parents has formed a home-study association to help parents teach their children at home, while providing opportunities for social and athletic events with other home schoolers.  These schools work closer with parents than did public schools of the past; the mothers and fathers participating in teaching and tutoring other kids besides their own. They have had a choice in the type of school they want their children to attend, and are not economically discriminated against because they do not have the funds for sending them to a "private" school.  Th evalues of teh parents, not a government or corporations determine the education and philosophies of the children.

A number of vocational training schools work closely with various local economic endeavors, as integral parts of their business and trade. Apprenticeships are undertaken while other educational opportunities are followed as well. New experiments in education thrive under our distinctive way of looking at talent, labor, economics and human rights.

Capital and Means of Production

As startling and novel the idea might at first seem, the New Liberty Bank itself is a Spiritual/Cultural endeavor.  It was begun by James Hasco, who can himself tell you more about our new philosophy of capital, and it's uses, in New Liberty Village.

Being a relatively new slant into the nature of something we take for granted, it may require some deliberation and open-mindedness to understand our concept of capital and money. It is very easy to let our past understandings stand in the way of a true judgment of such ideas.  Remember, we are not advocating a socialistic conception of economics where the value of capital is determined by state action.  Capitalism, where the value of money rises and falls under the normal functioning of the "free market" neither fully encompasses the conception of money as we see it.  In the end, this new way of thinking might give us clearer understanding of these two apparently paradoxical, or diametrically opposed ways of thinking, and provide a synthesis, (a further understanding which encompasses both poles of a seemingly paradoxical issue) and putting them in proper perspective. Time will tell.

LEADERSHIP IN THE SPIRITUAL/CULTURAL SPHERE
 
There is no single Spiritual leader or groups of persons who head the Spiritual/Cultural Branch of our society. There are individuals in every community who have strong influence, character, and talents which people recognize as leadership qualities. These persons are not democratically voted upon, or appointed; they either just are, or are not, leaders; any "authority" given them is comprised of the voluntary and free admiration and respect of those who share their beliefs and/or respect their talents.  Any misuse of this type of power, once gained through the respect of others, will naturally result in the loss of that very power when that respect is lost.

The freedom allowed individuals to think for themselves also allows the admiration of individuals with charisma and ideas and talents all persons might not agree with, or admire. There are leaders that have power to influence others in ways judged negative or unhelpful.  In New Liberty Village, these persons too are granted the Freedom to express their being and identity.  If or when these persons, like any other citizen, perform acts that cause others to think or feel that their own human rights have been tread upon, recourse is readily available through the Human rights section to address these charges.  Preliminary court hearings, part of the Human Rights Life, adjudge whether there is probable cause for public Judgment, but the actual decisions having to do with sentencing or retribution are made through peer juries and judges, individuals whom the involved parties themselves have a part in selecting from the Spiritual/Cultural life.  When a person or group of persons takes objection to the activities of someone else, the charge is weighed against the democratic, social, group regulations defining the equal rights of all men and women.  If the question involves more than an individual and expression of his or her own individuality, and other's rights are involved, then group or social action may become justified.  If it is determined fairly that these rights haven't been infringed, that it is an individual matter, then no ground exists for social, political or group censorship and action.

A person who is a leading light, or acknowledged leader in a community, large or small (we may be even be speaking of an internationally recognized individual) is not paid for their leadership by a salary, as is the case with persons performing an economic activity in the government, or producing economic goods or services. They themselves may well be involved in economic activities for which they are paid as most persons are.  While giving counsel, teaching, sharing ideas or otherwise generating cultural works from their insight and creative talents, if others wish to make voluntary gifts in return for their offerings, including money, that is their prerogative. This desire and expression of gratitude and appreciation is an encouragement and augmentation of these expressions, and by this, one can learn if one's gifts are valued by others, and some indication of how much. It is up to the person receiving these voluntary gifts for their spiritual or cultural activities to do with them as he or she wishes.
 
I am afraid that I have kept you too long, and that the significance of our free spiritual/cultural life probably still remains unclear.  The spiritual/cultural branch of Liberty Village is of a nature unto itself.  It is in no wise a government, or a business cooperation.  It receives it's power and influence from it's own special nature, comprised of the insight and abilities of all the individuals in this particular society.  In the end, only personal experience of these realities in real life exigencies will serve to show how meaningful a truly free independent spiritual life really is, along side an independent economic, and independent political, life.  Please feel free to POST any comments you would have to make on these subjects.