The “Passion Principle” describes a casual method of managing work within intentional communities. While some communities have considerable systematic support to “ensure equitable distribution of work,” communities adopting the passion principle allow work to happen… or not, if nobody has enough passion to do something about it – which may include creating systems to help functions operate more effectively.
This idea does mean that work which nobody has passion for is not done. This can be very difficult for those with ideas about how the community should be, but who are not willing or able to take personal responsibility for seeing that it is done – either by themselves or due to their influence.
Some communities find that the passion principle works well for portions of the work and not for others. They may allow management systems to develop as its perceived that work requires higher levels of order.
The Songaia Community, for example, decided early in its history that it would be useful to be very systematic in orchestrating the work associated with its active food program (5 shared, common house meals per week with a free-access pantry at a fixed monthly cost). Other than management of this work, Songaia used the Passion Principle to determine what additional community work was taken on and accomplished.
As required, communities using this principle can make changes… adding systematic support for work as required – or letting systems fade away. For its first few years as a cohousing community, Songaia used the Passion Principle to maintain its common house. Initially, portions of the building was kept clean by the few people who “really wanted it clean.” This worked until they began to feel discomfort with the work load. They proposed a system whereby two adults had month-long responsibility with a defined check-list of cleaning tasks. This was agreed upon and Songaia now has two work management systems for two of types of community work. Will Songaia adopt new systematic support for other tasks? Perhaps, but for now the Passion Principle seems to function acceptably.