Early this month I spent an exciting five days in Northern California. It was one of the most thrilling weeks so far at the helm of this massive adventure. So many positive things happened and I want to share them all with you to give you a sense of the positive outcomes we’re producing, outcomes that convince me there is no stopping Copiosis. You may have seen a shorter version of this post on Facebook. This is the full version.
A great start talking about healthcare
Wednesday night, August 5, saw a large, intimate group of people show up for the final “necessity” meeting in a meeting room of a beautiful intentional community—Valley Oaks Village Co-housing. Chico Copiosis participants, led by Erica Charlesworth, have spent the last several months seeing what’s already going on in town to provide food, clothing, shelter, education, and healthcare to all.
In meetings held every six weeks or so, they’ve exposed quite a few people to Copiosis. As with the meeting on education about six weeks earlier, which I also attended, this meeting on healthcare drew thoughtful people intent on learning and sharing. Of the 19 people attending, I’d say a third of the attendees had never heard of Copiosis.
One participant kicked off the conversation talking about the nature of Chinese medicine. What I found particularly fascinating was what he said about doctors practicing in rural China. According to the speaker, doctors in rural China are, or used to be, paid by their patients to keep them well. Each month, the doctor receives payment from his patients for the work he performs which keeps them healthy. Should a patient get ill, that patient stops paying the doctor. To resume his income from that patient, the doctor must make the sick person better.
What a great incentive for doctors, paying them to keep people well! This has been tried in the US, but hasn’t caught on. The speaker mentioned sharing this approach to an insurance-agency friend who thought the idea was spectacular. Then his face darkened as he thought about how to make that happen in the US.
What’s particularly interesting, other than the obvious difference between this example and how we pay for healthcare in the West, is that Chinese medicine, according to the speaker and confirmed by my own experience, intervenes far earlier than Western medicine. Chinese medicince practitioners are taught to observe subtle changes in the the body—the tongue, changes in eye color, and pulse, for example—for indications of imbalances. They then prescribe herbal remedies which return the body to its natural balance far before illness can grab hold.
I for one am a huge fan of Chinese herbal remedies. Every time I perceive a cold coming on, e.g., a slightly scratchy throat or ear pressure, I’m quick to take some all-natural Chinese herbs. Every time, the cold is averted. Even if I’ve waited until more clear signs, the herbs can reverse a cold. I’ve never experienced a pharmaceutical that can do that!
Socialism alive and well and in the US military
Another speaker shared about her work to make a single-payer healthcare system reality in the US. She explained how there are four kinds of healthcare practiced in the US—Private insurance most of us are familiar with, a cash payment system where people pay cash for their care, Medicare, and, believe it or not, socialized medicine.
In the military, servicemen and their families receive care from government-paid (military) providers. I know this to be the case because I served in the Marines for nine years and benefitted many times from this form of medicine. It is by every definition socialized medicine, as the medical care is controlled by one provider (the military, funded through taxes) and medical care is not available anywhere else. I never thought of military healthcare being socialized healthcare until the speaker brought it to my attention. It’s quite an interesting perspective.
How about a pretzel? Software demo delights.
Another thing that happened at the meeting confirmed the approach I use to talk about Copiosis. Critics of my approach claim I should adjust my language, the words I use, to fit the listener. They say if I did this, people would be more willing to support Copiosis. Some people have criticized Copiosis for being a private company, for example. They say people will get all hung up on Copiosis being formally for-profit. From my perspective, what critics are basically saying is the public should decide how I speak about Copiosis, how it is organized and what decisions it should make.
I don’t agree with this, obviously.
In Wednesday night’s open discussion, a participant suggested that a game about Copiosis would be well received by people, particularly if it were an online simulation like SimCity (we’re working on that BTW). Immediately, another participant spoke up:
“Game! What a great word,” he said. “Until you said that, this meeting has felt really heavy to me. I like the feeling of Copiosis being talked about as a game.” Looking at me, he said, “Perhaps you should talk about Copiosis all the time as a kind of game!”
Immediately after that person spoke, another person chimed in, “I hate games. I wouldn’t like it if we talked about Copiosis as a game.”
What I saw play out right before my eyes confirmed for me that every person comes to a conversation with a different perspective, interpretative capability, and sets of preconceptions and experiences that color their listening. It is impossible to figure out ahead of time what the best wording and approach would be to reach each individual with just the right language every time. Rather than turn me, my language, and Copiosis into a pretzel trying to guess someone’s mindset, it’s far more effective to share Copiosis from my passion and commitment and let that communicate what Copiosis is all about for those ready to hear it. The right people, at the right time, will hear about it, be attracted to it, and want to support it. Those who don’t won’t, for now. They will come around in their own time. There’s no urgency to reach everyone immediately. We have plenty of time to make Copiosis a reality.
Finally, I demonstrated our fully functional software. People were jazzed to see it in action and started thinking about what exactly the demonstration project will look like. We all left with nice, non-alcoholic buzzes about the future, some new ideas, and more questions asked than answered.
A most promising demonstration project idea
I’ll start by saying I’m not going to share the idea at this time. Just my excitement. The day after the healthcare meeting, I met with Lynn to talk about demonstration project design. With the last informational meeting behind us, it’s time to get down to launching the project, I thought! Lynn is fun, insightful, wicked-smart, and the mother of a fantastic family. Getting to know her and her family deepened my respect for her. The conversation we had after that shot my respect for her to the moon!
At Wednesday’s meeting a person hearing about Copiosis for the first time thought out loud that she might want to involve her clients in a Chico demonstration project. Her clients are teens and young adults coming out of a local foster-care program. She was pretty excited about the idea so she committed to talk with her supervisor about it.
When Lynn and I met we were both thinking “Can we build a project around these youth?” What we came up with is a pretty spectacular idea. I’m really excited about it, and I’ll be talking about it more as details congeal. Should we be able to make it happen, it will definitely put Copiosis on the map in a major way.
While that’s getting underway, Lynn will work with people in Chico to hold a large demonstration-project brainstorm meeting in late September. Lynn doesn’t see any reason why Chico can’t host more than one demonstration project. I agree! If you’re in the area, come join us! We’ll be announcing the meeting either on the Copiosis Facebook Social Page or the Chico Copiosis Facebook Page. Contact us to get on the mailing list!
One on one, the best conversation ever
On Thursday and Friday I met with a woman who is being pulled toward Copiosis, but she’s having trouble accepting how I’m running the organization, and the philosophy I use to do that. I think at some point she’s going to join us. For now, I think she’s trying to decide whether I’m a crackpot.
Be that as it may, it was a glorious conversation. We shared from our hearts. We listened to each others’ stories about our families, our pasts, the things that color our listening. At the end of that conversation I felt like I knew this person to her core. I could see how her life has her holding two opposing feelings about Copiosis (and me) simultaneously—repulsion and attraction.
I can’t say much more without giving away details she may not be comfortable with me sharing. I’ll just say that it is these kinds of conversations where I can connect with people about deep beliefs and ideas that make Copiosis more real to me than anything else. For it is conversations like these I believe Copiosis will make commonplace once the need to earn a living goes away. With deeper, meaningful relationships between people, there is nothing humanity can’t do.
A new Copiosis community—Oroville, California
Friday night, a small Chico Copiosis contingent travelled 30 minutes southeast to meet with a firebrand by the name of Suzanne. Suzanne interviewed Erica Charlesworth for her radio show. After that, she committed to make something happen in her town of Oroville “. . . so long as I don’t have to do it.”
We met with a handful of people in a beautiful Unity Church. After a yoga instruction, I shared my vision and answered questions. I shared a lot. Maybe too much. Despite my verbosity, the small group agreed that they should do a project in Oroville. Awesome. The next step is to hold an Oroville Copiosis Tour, then go from there.
A third city. A fantastic week. More to come!