The Vow of unSomething

Landing, Lurching, Launching 

The Matera Prototipo behaved as unMonasteries everywhere. The initial landing phase that involved locating any available source of hot water and becoming intimate with the fuse box gently eased into a period of apparent paralysis. Buoyed only by their residual unFaith and the collective commitment to make the most of our culinary skills, the unMonks seemingly cowled in their cowls. The accompanying phase of Culture Shock became reinforced as we absorbed the realities of our concentric Vows of Deprivation. To emerge again as a cohesive, coherent band of devotees would indeed be a tall order.

Inevitable Invasion of the Holy Spaces 

The Matera unMo followed the pattern of organic growth in unknown surroundings.  To remove the fear of faltering the first iteration repeatedly reminded itself that this was a prototipo. Those unused to the cultivation of the ensemble could thus be automatically conscious that their’s was a life of firsts. However, such was the pace of developments that our community of self-governing, floundering novices had yet to acknowledge the few concrete indications of the invisible, unarticulated spiritual depth of our voyage together, before their novice status was placed under question. Forced by circumstance to welcome the unMonastery’s first substantial wave of new arrivals; it was beyond our adroitness to spontaneously promote ourselves into de facto initiates. That fresh faces clearly need a de-tox period to negotiate their own landing should be unQuestionable.

However, with a more than full program and the absence of a blood transfusion ritual, integration was taken for granted.

Feelings of sacredness are not immediately contagious;

they require active transference

The work of Societa Raffaello Sanzio offers us a more convincing pathway. In their work X km up the coast in Cesena they also opened their work space to invaders. Instead of flinging the doors wide open to let loose the romping urges of the young – access to each square meter was to be won. Darkness, mystery and creative effort initiated the unveiling of each new room. Resistance was honoured; ghosts were to be respected. The parallel excavation process in the unMonastery was given the pioneer participants by the gradual unfolding of our operations as the heating system kicked in over a prolonged, four week period.

By the time of the second coming, the space as a whole had acquired a warming allure; it was impossible to ascertain where the newly dismantled barriers that so numbed the veterans once stood — the miracle of the unMo could be taken for granted.

De-tox Period 

Sacred duty is not communicable by osmosis. Early experience indicates that it takes at least two weeks of dedicated re-wiring before an urbanite in exile can emerge with patches of purity. Until chemical imbalances and industrialised day rhythms have become adjusted, expecting them to hit the beach running is not the best strategy. Ideally their acclimatisation period would include ritual baths and daily anointment with oil of self-gathered herbs. They would be chanted upon and gently rocked into renewal, if not rebirth. Their first act of raising a piece of cutlery towards their lips would become the subject of wise commentary disguised as any ancient joke.

An observable external sign exhibited by our fresh arrivals has been a marked decline in coffee consumption (this despite the delectables available on the local market.) Similarly, non-daily consummation of alcohol is a novelty for many. The unMo practice has been simple – alcohol does not feature in our collective purchasing agreements; however, should a bottle of short-distance wine appear on the table it is consumed with both gusto and gratitude. Our collection of empty bottles signifies this gratitude, but also our infringements upon this unwritten rule. Again the statistically slight experience of the initial unMo populous indicates that it is not beyond the possible that, with maturity, also this chemical self-prescription of spiritual fodder is subject to creeping refinement.

Other pleasures of the flesh require other negotiations. The Joy of Cursing seems indicative of hidden cycles of frustration that follow us from afar and which leave the unMo grace of spirit to exist in an easily disturbable pool of serenity. The War of the Veganites has at time escalated with the identical ferocity that is ascribed the omnivores to which it is directed — biting back is a pleasure of its own…

Purity of Purpose

As the fear of unAccomplishment struck the less faithful, moments of our daily ritual became abbreviated into a perhaps illegible shorthand; degrees of holiness fading into degrees of unHoliness. The veterans were restless, even while the uncomprehending newcomers had a legitimate need to be taken in hand. This when it is postulated that such hand-holding is in itself not immediately reconcilable with the self-image of refugees from civilisation for whom hitting the beach running may be the only conceivable scenario.

Everyone needs follow their own version of the “Landing/Lurching/Launching” cycle. The unMo must evolve the appropriate Human Rites to ease the Process.

Rituals of Aspiring

One symptom of our unArticulated measurable steps is the hastily embraced Friday evening public appraisal session. Not only did the form mimic the much despised unidirectional TED talking with all the dryness of a cactus forest, in its prototype event it tamed the Wild Elf. Instead of a vibrant, populated interface that in itself ferments the work it at best produced a most obedient feedback loop devoid of spiritual resonance. Producing dead documentation as an artifact of our good intentions is to drastically underestimate our potential; it replicated the use of media at its most pacifying form far from any perceivable cutting edge. Despite a fool-hardy attempt to give the proceedings the proverbial swift kick in the arse, the product became some highly forgetable vimeo stuff of interest to few beyond obsessed archivists. It says what it says, but it is ‘unBelievably bad theatre’*. Even resolute young Elf who bravely went first, in the interests of getting his efforts indelibly documented employed a most embarrassing maneuver obviously learned in the arms of a bureaucrat by completely disregarding his own time limit. The unMo has promised to use all its savvy to do better.

I would suggest that the shortfall lies in the thinness of our ritual. It was remarkable that to my recollection that despite a brief explosion of dancing at our inaugural open appraisal session, it didn’t feel organic to include our visitors in a closing circle.

*It is rumoured that the third Friday Public Appraisal session occurred with an audience of only house residents.

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The unOrder of  Reverent Plain-Spoken Heathens,

Acting under the Vow of unSomething

Recalling  The Polarities of Triumphs and Frustration

Reiterating  its full support for the Honourable unPompous unMonastery Hosts Committee

Expressing  its support for the unMonastery and Bearers of the Tradition, as well as dear long-serving reverends.

Reaffirming its support for Precious Fountain of Fresh Tradition.

Reiterating its commitment to lasting poetical settlements of all situations.

Recognizing the need to promote reconciliation solely among the population worth mentioning in our conversations.

Continuing to be gravely concerned by the ongoing threat to poetical integrity of the unMonastery.

Condemning in the strongest terms all attacks.

Welcomes the efforts started to be undertaken by the Scribe, and the start of implementation of confidence-building measures, stressing, in this context, the need for further endeavors by the Precious Fountain of Fresh Tradition to continue to address.

Expressing its deep regret that veterans account for the vast majority of casualties in situations of conflict resolution and of a petty attacks against regular versed heathens, and members of The Loyal unOrder .

Reaffirms that ending impunity is essential

Calls upon all parties concerned to ensure protection of dear long-serving reverends and to assist their full emotional and spiritual recovery.

Calls upon the parties concerned to implement immediately zero-tolerance policy on all kinds of scape goat fabrication, noting, in this context, the synergies in the objectives of the unMonastery and The Loyal unOrder, and take all necessary action to support appropriate indemnification against future damage, as well as to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving the inhouse unPersonnel.

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