In my dream, I live in a matriarchal community, where mutual respect and trust is everywhere expected and deserved. There are a number, a small number I think, of family groupings living together in something close to self-sufficiency. These family groupings are loose, defined by their members: there is no particular expectation of father-mother-children units. The community is itself like a sprawling extended family, except that biological or other formal relationships are largely irrelevant. The one exception is the relationship between mothers and their children – which is sacred.

In my dream, home-based pursuits of the kind needed to produce what is needful are the pursuits most enjoyed and most valued. Each family has its own home, its own land – but there is also scope, for those who want to, to engage in shared dining, shared socialising. Each family contributes to the community by growing food, by producing other necessary things, or by working outside the community to earn what cannot be produced. “Economic” activity like making money is necessary but subordinate. The incursion of commercial influences is kept to a bare minimum, is thought of as slightly distateful. Most people think it is silly to buy something that you can make for yourself, or that your neighbour can make for you. Families club together to do or obtain anything they cannot get individually. Children are educated and cared for by the group as a whole, with their own families having the major role and the biggest say.

In my dream, men are part of the community and they are expected to be respectful towards the women and children, to listen more than they speak, to give more than they take. The men know what real-life men rarely know – that women are human, valuable, wise, interesting, and worth knowing. They have no vested interest in demeaning or objectifying women so as to own, control or dominate them. Their interests are served by developing meaningful relationships of trust and respect. They understand this because they have been brought up in a safe place away from this modern culture that we live in now.

In my dream, this idyllic lifestyle is so successful for all concerned that it is unthinkable to muck it up by individual selfishness. In fact, selfishness would dictate preserving the community because it serves everyone’s needs.

That’s my dream. Silly, isn’t it?