Infrastructural implications of the unMonastery

This is part of a series of speculative sessions, that need facilitators read here first



“Although most educated people think of the medieval monasteries’ scholarly and cultural pursuits as their contribution to Western civilization, we should not overlook the monks’ important cultivation of what might be called the practical arts. Agriculture is a particularly significant example. In the early twentieth century, Henry Goodell, president of what was then the Massachusetts Agricultural College, celebrated “the work of these grand old monks during a period of fifteen hundred years. They saved agriculture when nobody else could save it. They practiced it under a new life and new conditions when no one else dared undertake it.””

  • Thomas E. WOODS, How the Monks Saved Civilization

One of the core focuses of the unMonastery is to build and maintain resilient infrastructure; be it social, economic or physical. This is a challenge both internally (in the form of agricultural, energy sources and waste management) and externally (building useful tools and kits that can be deployed within the local region).

Despite the challenges unMonastery raises in it’s structural qualities alone, the shape and needs of daily life change radically when one lives and works in the same space as others. On a purely economic level, you establish your own support structure and reduce individual overheads – you as an individual consume less due to collectivity.

But unMonastery is weirder than this, it’s something altogether different from a social centre, communes or start-up accelerators – it’s intentions are bold and they may have significant implications for the way in which we live, work and travel; particularly if the model prefigures mass adoption.

Key Questions:

-What are the parameters in which the unMonastery can imagine infrastructural change? (I.e does the model run by a set of ethics or practicalities that stipulate all innovation must achieve a zero carbon footprint – and what does this mean for things like travel between different localities)

-unMonasteries shouldn’t be built in highly established urban environments (at least not at this early stage), major cities cannot provide the space or clarity required to realise a successful version of the project – but a key question is how will the unMonasteries interface with large cities? unEmbassy?

Needs: ???

Ideal Facilitator: You???

Possible Outcomes:

Set of goals for the 4 month period.

Key set of needs to be fulfilled prior to moving in.

SCIM for unMonastery – covering the local area.

Set of fuzzy predictions and contemplative text around what else might be built beyond unMonastery.