Simplicity and the four values of sociocracy as the base of togetherness in the Sonnweiler Future Project

The values we have chosen to inform the coexistence in our community were formulated by the Danish family therapist Jesper Juul. We took a leaf from his book “Vier Werte, die Kinder ein Leben lang tragen”, (1st edition 2012, Gräfe und Unzer, Munich) for inspiration. In it you can read this valuable information in its entirety.

Equivalence = the successful interaction of Humans on equal footing

Equivalence in this context means meeting others at eye level, that is to accept the other as being of equal worth and dignity and acting accordingly.

Accordingly, the equivalent relationship of two people depends upon seeing the other and accepting them as an individual personality, respecting their dignity and integrity as well as taking their wishes and needs into account.

The principle of equivalence helps us to meet the human in front of us with goodwill and taking them seriously in their life model. This way, everyone’s individual talents and ideas contribute to the project’s success. Both children and adults are included in this.

Authenticity = being genuine and truthful

Authenticity describes the ability to be the person one really is, in order to see others in their uniqueness as well. An authentic ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, far removed from roles assigned by upbringing for example, enables a togetherness where everyone can develop their own individuality. Thus, everyone can work for the good of the community without losing their sense of self.

Integrity = preserving one’s own personality

Every human is an individual with their very own needs. Hence, recognizing one’s own needs and then expressing them is the gate to meeting others equivalently and dealing with their needs. Thus, integrity describes the space each human needs in order to develop, to flourish, to feel good and living a contented life. In this, everyone takes responsibility for drawing their own limits and shows respect for the room another human needs for their free growth.

Responsibility = starts with everyone individually

Responsibility first and foremost means that every adult human is responsible for what they are thinking, saying, and doing. Based on their free will, they make decisions and are thus responsible for the consequences of said decisions.

This personal responsibility for our actions, our values and thereby our own life forms the basis for social responsibility, which enables a giving togetherness in any community.

In the coexistence of our community, we want to take these responsibilities as a basis for good quality relationship and, step by step, acquaint the children in our community with these responsibilities as well.

The principle of simplicity

“Simplicity is the principle of using only a few factors to contribute to the creation or continuation of a certain state. The interaction between these factors can be described with only a few rules. As such, simplicity is the opposite of complication.” (Wikipedia, paraphrased)

Conveyed to our project, simplicity means that we strive for a flat hierarchy and organizational structure and short decision-making channels, to remain able to act and bundle our competencies. This is achieved by making all important decisions in the founders’ group. Only once the growth of the project demands it, will we add other organizational groups.

The founders’ group’s work is made efficient by delegating work to task forces comprised of qualified individuals from the founders’ group. These task forces independently work on certain aspects of the project (e.g., construction, marketing, renting, financing, etc.). Task forces are supplemented by external experts. At founders’ meetings, the task forces give reports about the progress of their assignment.

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