Men Living in Community: A Conversation with Dr. Joe Cole

This week I had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Joe Cole. To get to know him a little more, here is the bio he shared with me.

Joe Cole is a philosopher, writer, and facilitator who loves growing sweet potatoes.  He lives in Carrboro, NC and was one of the original residents of Pacifica Cohousing Community, where he was a Lead Facilitator for several years, crafting policies to improve decision-making and develop a stronger culture of consensus.  Joe works as a facilitator, consultant, and trainer with non-profit organizations, consensus-based groups, and intentional communities.  He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Guilford College, where he teaches courses on Just War Theory and Environmental Ethics.

We focus a lot about women living in community, but I wanted to get the perspective of a man who has not only experienced community living but who also advocates for it. Here is what Joe had to say.

Tell me about your community living situation?

I lived in a cohousing community for 6 years, and was involved in the planning of the community three years before that.  I am currently living in a more conventional neighborhood.

What led you to want to live in community?

I was attracted to the values of community and sustainability.  I wanted to experience living together cooperatively and having shared resources.  And there were sustainable elements of the homes and the community that were appealing.  Overall I feel that building community and cooperative institutions is an important way to create alternatives to the greed and individualism that dominates our culture.

What do you like most about it?

I enjoyed the sharing of resources and working together with neighbors to manage our land and community.  It was a great learning experience for me to work together cooperatively.  I had the ideals of community and cooperation, but I didn’t really have the skills and awareness of what it takes to live in community before moving in.  The experience and challenges of living there inspired me to take a two year facilitation training course, and I continue to learn and practice facilitation and cooperative skills in all aspects of my life–family, work, and community.

Would you recommend it to other men?

Absolutely.  I believe that living in community is a great challenge and a great joy.  It is an opportunity for growth and transformation.  And it offers a sense of meaning and accomplishment to contribute to communities and institutions that are reaching for something deeper than mainstream consumer culture offers.

We would love to hear from other men who have had experience living in community or who want to know more. Please let us know here or in a conversation at our Facebook page!

Women For Living in Community