A lot of folks don't want to hash out their rules. It feels restrictive, pointless, or unnecessary. We felt the same way and didn't do it until 2017, which is downright embarrassing. However, we discovered that by writing them out, discussing them in person instead of just going on what'd always been done before, we were able to catch things that we'd just tacitly accepted over the years, even if they weren't good for us.
Some folks seem to have found this stuff useful to help start conversations with their own systems, so here's an abridged version of our system government and rules. Find what works for you, and talk about it! Don't just let it go unspoken!
No major decisions regarding group life can be made without unanimous group agreement. What constitutes 'major' includes permanently changing the body, what state it lives, what we do for a living, big monetary expense (over $20), bringing in new headmates, basically anything with long-reaching consequences. Haircuts, small purchases, and that sort of thing doesn't count. A major decision MUST be brought up to the whole group in a formal meeting. A headmate can abstain from the decision, but if they do, they don't get to complain about how it goes down later.
(Note: If a single headmate is absolutely dead-set on going against the grain, then yes, our government is gridlocked. We chose this on purpose to force cooperation and creativity, and our group is small and close-knit enough for us to be able to get away with it. If somebody DOES pull the emergency brake, we trust it is for a very valid reason.
For daily tasks, things that fall in the gray area of major/minor decisions, and stuff requiring quick choice, jurisdiction can be leveraged so one system member's word goes. Every system member who's lived here a while gets a jurisdiction. Jurisdictions can be changed or dropped at any time with notice. Here are a few:
Sneak: System pinch-hitter; ze fills in whenever someone else isn't available. Ze doesn't have a whole lot of staying power, but has enough of all our skills to make most of everything happen.
Mac: Cooking, social services paperwork.
Biff: House tasks--shopping, laundry, cleaning, etc. Except dishes; he hates those. Mori assists.
Rogan: Finances and most work events. Any purchase of over $20 has to go through him.
- No violence--which we define as no causing suffering or fear. Break this rule and you can not be part of our group government until you get your shit in gear.
- Restraint can be used without someone's consent, but only in the case of someone getting violent. Restraint may never be used with pain, should be avoided when possible, and you still have to answer to the group as a whole afterward.
- No threatening, no stealing people's stuff... you know, DON'T BE A DICK. (So Gigi is not allowed to go around scaring anyone just because she feels like it, and if Biff trashes a room, HE has to clean it up.)
- No muscling in on someone's jurisdiction. If the holder of a jurisdiction makes a decision, you can grumble about it all you want, but don't you go over-ruling them, unless you want to try and claim the decision was of such significance it needs to go through the WHOLE group.
- If you want to bring up something major, you have to get the whole group in on it, unless it's something you literally do not have time to do. If you're not being chased by a bear, you have to do the meeting.
- The only reason the government holds together is because of good faith and trust. Respect that. Sometimes, rule-breaking will be accepted after the fact as the best decision--but don't count on it.
- Rule-breaking is dealt with on a case by case basis, and likely the consequences will be voted on unanimously by everyone else.
- Daily system meetings are to be held every morning at breakfast. Attendance is mandatory; only exception is if work or travel requires the vessel be up so early that nobody else is awake.
- We are not to move to any region unless we know at least two people there who are unaffiliated with each other.
- Rent and utilities before all other things.
- No corporeal dating or sex. It never works.
- Websites that are designed for high levels of interaction are stressful, overwhelming, and draining for us. For now, no social media but the blog.
- The meal plan must be followed. Breakfast must be had immediately upon waking; lunch is between noon and 3 PM; dinner between 6 and 8 PM.
- Biff must not drink alcohol or be fronting around people when they are.
- Exercise every day for at least half an hour everyday. Only exceptions are if we are super sick or injured, or if the weather is completely untenable all day.
- If we cry every day for a week, it's time to raise our meds.
- If after raising our meds we are still crying and dealing with suicidal feelings for a month, it's time to start talking about partial hospitalization again.
- Check email only twice a day--once before lunch and once after, except in emergencies. If we want to work without the Internet, Biff unplugs the antennae (AKA: the bunny ears) and hides them to keep us from just mindlessly moldering.
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