Shared purpose and values are essential to the coherence and vitality of a commons. [THE FIRST TWO SENTENCES ARE GOOD BUT DISCONNECTED] A matrix of living meaning can only arise if it is actively embraced and lived by commoners; it cannot simply be declared or formally imposed. Therein lies the challenge: the more consciously we share purpose & values in a commons, the better.
It is often assumed, that in a commons people share purpose and values, as if it was preceeding the process. This might be true for intentional communities, but commons often come about because people live in a shared space, make use of the same resource-system or infrastructure, or simply because they share a problem they wish to resolve and know, that they won't succeed individually.
Shared purpose and values may arise
- by adoption: based on the initiative of daring individuals or a small group, which then attract a larger group of collaborators. Examples: Linus Torvalds (Linux), Richard Stallman (free software), Wikipedia (Jimmy Wales) ADD NON DIGITAL NON MALE EXAMPLES.
- by tradition: the shared purpose and values are often well-established by decades or centuries of established common practices. In such cases, especially in indigenous cultures, origin stories may make shared purpose and values quite visible and compelling.
- by design: of small projects share a common goal but (as usually) not the same values, a consciously designed and iterated process of sharing purpose and value is key for the future success of a commons (EXAMPLES)
In either case, shared purpose and values must be honored and cultivated. Much of this comes through the everyday practices of commoning that are required, which naturally provide a shared experience and mutuality. But there are also rituals, traditions and celebrations that are observed to strengthen shared commitments.
# To be discussed
The Following IMHO doesn't belong to this panel Subsistence commons often have first-catch rituals and harvest festivals to thank nature for her generosity, and plants and animals are integrated into a culture through creation stories. See M. Kat Anderson. Digital communities often honor their leading figures and host major global conferences.