Community, Coworking and Coliberation
March 21st, 2007

I’m sitting in my dining room now. Not sure why. I could be in my office, my kitchen, the coffee shop across the street, or, heaven forfend, in the airport. As long as I have my wireless laptop, cell phone, and a nearby wi-fi, I can do my work – at least that part of my work that doesn’t involve physical contact.

[This timely piece is originally published by Bernie DeKoven on coworking.com and a follow-up of an article Bernie wrote in 1992 on Deepfun]

Because I’m connected, see, part of a pretty much limitless community of virtually engaged minds and hearts, which, at this moment, apparently includes you. Connected, sending this open letter, which you are reading. Open, because it’s free, freely accessible, as much yours as it is anyone else’s.

If you respond to this letter – if you add a comment or Digg it, or Furl or Spurl or blog or send it to others, something changes. It becomes something that no longer represents my ideas, but, by your sharing it with others, your ideas too. It becomes a larger thing, something you own, too; a community property, as it were. A catalyst for community, so to speak.

And if you respond to me more directly, via email or chat or text message or voice, even – with a question, or an idea about things I maybe haven’t thought of yet; and if I write you back, and where there were comments and maybe kudos, an actual correspondence, in every sense of that word, is born – well, then we have something else all together. A relationship. A working relationship. And if we start working on this together, shaping, creating something new, adding bits and glimmers from each other’s visions until we make something new together. Collaborating. Coworking

And if, during our collaboration, we find that we are actually working better together than we usually do by ourselves, thinking more clearly, acting more intelligently, we are experiencing something beyond collaboration. Something I call “coliberation.”

Coliberation. Allow me to more or less quote myself: “Coliberation. It’s cute, because it almost sounds like something beyond collaboration. But liberating is only part of the truth. Yes, in deed, those moments in which we have actually managed to free each other from whatever constraints we usually impose on ourselves and each other, these are truly and actually what you would call coliberation. Some coincidence of selves that undefines the limits of our capabilities. A coincidence having almost nothing to do with the medium, and everything to do with the human spirit. Shared moments of unusual clarity, vivid communication and spontaneous combustions of understanding.

In the mean time, you and I go on, collaborating, coworking, or working in other relationships, connecting to this person and that vision, disconnecting from some other, wirelessly, from our kitchen or coffee shop or wherever. Members of many different communities, openly sharing, posting, blogging, bookmarking, and, from time to time, going beyond ourselves, experiencing the purpose for doing all this at all.


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