NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard

Tue, July 18, 2017 (2 years ago)

I find that our languaging (or at least the way that it lands for me) can so easily carry an undertone of right and wrong, which just adds to the separation and division amongst us as a community.



I feel discouraged sometimes when I read some of our reports and announcements in the News.  I find that our languaging (or at least the way that it lands for me) can so easily carry an undertone of right and wrong, which just adds to the separation and division amongst us as a community.

When I read that the iTDC is struggling with the “NIMBY” phenomenon and people’s apparent blocking of development, and that they feel that “this NIMBY attitude goes against the Auroville spirit” (reference provided below), I find that we’re missing the point altogether…

I’m simply citing this example, because it’s the one that jumps out at me in this week’s News, but I’m by no means trying to direct any criticism towards the iTDC.  For me, this languaging shows up in many aspects of our community life, and I see it as a “community problem,” not necessarily or simply iTDC’s problem. However, I would like to use this example to make my point, as it’s what’s in front of me right now...

I also fully acknowledge that I do not sit in any Working Group, so I’m clearly not exposed to the multitude of complexities and challenges they have to deal with on a daily basis and with every topic that emerges.  So I can imagine that my perspective may be seen as being too naive… And yet, I hold it dearly…

To me, saying that some behaviour “goes against the community spirit” is loaded with judgement and moralistic nuance…  First, what is our so-called “Auroville spirit”? Has it ever been defined as a community? I’m sure that we could all come up with what it means to us as individuals, and we would even likely have many similar responses -- but still, here the phrase comes across as some “final conclusion or assessment of somebody’s behaviour.”  And unless we have an actual document stating what our community spirit is, and have an agreed-upon process whereby we assess someone’s behaviour to be abiding by it or not, I’d prefer us to not make such sweeping statements. For me, it subtly implies that some of us know better and have given ourselves the privilege of being able to assess who’s a “spirit-abiding Aurovilian” and who isn’t...

It’s like a dead-end.  I don’t think this leads us to any constructive outcome -- be it concretely linked to a particular development project, or on a more general energetic plane.  

The so-called “obstructor” could have the same feeling about the Working Groups, and claim that their way of functioning isn’t in the spirit of Auroville.  He/she could probably even provide some very valid examples of “questionable” behaviour on the part of Working Groups and/or their members. So this just leaves us all pointing the finger, each trying to prove someone else’s wrongness (and therefore not a true Aurovilian…?), round and round...

And if we come back to what we imagine our Auroville spirit is, wouldn’t it include qualities such as care, respect, inclusion, humility, patience, not jumping to conclusions before trying to understand, etc…?

I want to live in that Auroville, where we are genuinely curious to know each other, to really understand, without compromise, what’s going on beyond the outer behaviour (or worse, behind our limited perception of someone’s outer behaviour).  I want to trust that each of us may have something valid to say, that we each carry a piece of the truth, and that the only way to build this magical place together is together…  I want to trust that if there’s an apparent obstacle (in this case, a resident being vocal about some development), it’s actually an invitation to look deeper, an invitation to catch something that we may not have been considering thus far...

And I’m certainly not saying that we should just accept any behaviour and thereby give away our power and never get anywhere in building our city.  I’m saying let’s dialogue, for real, let’s face each other -- and from there, let’s figure it out, together. With honesty and transparency, instead of lofty assessments of one another’s alignment or not with what Auroville is supposed to be...

And interestingly, I’ve wondered over the past few months, whether some Groups behind closed doors might have this assessment of me, that I’m a “NIMBY.”  And without an open curious dialogue, they might never know what I actually stand for, and instead conveniently label me as “one of those nuisance-obstructors.”

In inquiry, L’aura

 





Some Inspiration...


"If we touch fire, it burns, but there is no principle of punishment in this relation of cause and effect, it is a lesson of relation and a lesson of experience; so in all Nature's dealings with us there is a relation of things and there is a corresponding lesson of experience."
~ Sri Aurobindo