Acorn Prod. David Lenson: "Free Spirits" -DVD+DVDR- (US,2013)***'+*
I always found it interesting to hear how idealistic or idealised challenges are really taking form into reality itself, and how they are adapted there, are working themselves out or where they tend to fail and are breaking down at some point, and how much they can still be transformed and what is really needed to get things going, or how a full reality makes something more complete, and how we could make a better understanding of all these things. It is nice, no even wishful, to learn as much from all the goodies as well as from the mistakes.
I still remember how Timothy Leary, once being the promoter of free religion forms and LSD trips guidance for opening the mind, at the end of his life did regret this idea a bit, for the little amount of practicality that usually was used with it, even though he still prepared himself for his own final trip, towards the next life.
Of course, myself, I always watch and listen to the witnesses of communal experiments, on a distance, and never went myself through these things literally. I have checked many stories of set-up communes in several different places of the world. Most stories I think always start in the most ideal and idealistic way, often with a minor set of rules, with one leader quickly emerging. Then we come to the point that this leader fails to commit well to these rules himself (like no drugs, sex or violence, etc.) and where he also becomes engaged more personally, only to confuse idealism with his own desires, and where he becomes authoritarian when people start to question these choices, up to a evolved point of clear inequality finally becomes like a destructive force in the group. If at that point the leader himself or any of the members are not capable to intercept this downward process, in order to restore a practical order and reality, the coherency in the group will surely fall apart completely. If however everyone involved really takes that risk and really changes all these necessary things so that only a community is left over of friendship and practicality alone, only then the tribe aspect finally becomes a much more healthy product, that can sustain to live on much longer, just like any smaller community can.
Everything that could happen in such a community or that could have happened wrongly and in a good way also happened to this Brotherhood of the Spirit. What is left of it, of that which is now called the Renaissance Church, still lives on.
Also this community and Brotherhood, started from a first stage and period of spontaneous growth and progression. In a way this starting point surely was innocent and real, where everyone felt for the first time the different sort of spirituality, of a real positive starting point unity in a group. The locals didn’t trust so much their optimism and separation, so in the beginning they had a hard time earning its place, and after a while they also had to change it’s Brotherhood formula into a form of a Church community. Michael Meteleca who started this group from scratch, a restless person as he was, at first just simply shared all the positive things that happened together with all the others on the same level, wishing to find himself in it better. He also made music with a band, made even one record with them, but the result was in fact a bit like a mediocre songwriter-based, commune band sort of rock music (-so nothing like Yahowa 13, a commune based rock band which did show true personality in every aspect-), in reality I don’t think Michael was the person who really had so much to say except that he truly lived with all of it onto the right vibe at first and with all good intentions that people, at the right time, -just after the Summer of ’68 and in contrast to some political and social disillusions that followed after that-, and place, were so willing to share with one another, as an alternative.
Sadly enough, during the second stage, where the leader falls back on his personal desires and where he confuses the one-voice for the all, this also happened within this community. Even though people were starting to take jobs to finance the community, money was mainly going into just one direction and into the lead of one decision maker. Michael also couldn’t help it to get more and more involved in all the things that weren’t supposed to happen for the secure feeling of the tribe, breaking the rules that were meant to secure and maintain the integer positive vibe inside the community. At that stage he also became authoritarian. At some later stage, where people were starting to inform themselves better about all what was going wrong already, their leader in the end was forced to leave the community for the better, despite the fact that he had founded it and had pronounced himself as the leader of it at first.
The DVD showed very well several sides and different turning points inside a growth process from a group community. It also confronts ourselves once more with the challenging idea if it really is true that anyone should have a louder voice than the others or at least not all the time at all, or if it wouldn’t have been better that every voice in a community at least counts when it feels it has a need to be heard or when it feels it has something to say, to keep the general situation safe and sound and stable. Such lessons and questions might also be provoked when watching this documentary.
Any newly formed tribal structure at that time still was something new and experimental for westerners, because people got used to live in a much bigger state-based community which in fact lost contact with the needs or potentials from the group, so that there came a need for a smaller community that cooperated as one whole much better. To a degree, such tribe-based projects could or might be worked out better in the end, especially after having taken out the idea of one main ego-based leader to be allowed to take over the role of others, because when that happens, he could or might much too easily fall back onto his own foolishness. Only the group in totality at that stage could save what happens after that from further disaster.
The second bonus DVD, which you could order to it as well, is a hardly edited one-track interview with several members who have been part of the group for many years.
I like the remark of the comparison to American native tribes and their way of living. The panel also continues for a longer time talking about an important guest, who had left some influence in the community, which is the channelling speaker Elwood Babbitt, who’s own contribution provided a nice side-story to what happened back then.
Still, the interview is also a lot of babbling and it cannot really or easily bring back very well what each person really personally experienced and now is trying to put into his own words, words that at time can become more meaningless as they are supposed to be.
About Rennaissance Community & The Brotherhood of the Spirit: