Kerista Commune
the names have been changed to protect the innocent

the commune that invented the words 'polyfidelity' & 'compersion'
based in the Haight-Ashbury of San Francisco from 1971-1991

(polyfidelity n. fidelitous to many partners)
(compersion n. the opposite of jealousy, positive feelings
about your partner's other intimacies)

Kerista Menu

Kerista Article - 84 Standards (1983)

Social Contract of the Gestalt-O-Rama
Do-It-With-Friends Mental Health System

Written up by Even Eve


Polyfidelity: Sex in the Kerista Commune
and Other Related Theories in How to Solve the World's Problems

copyright 1984 by Performing Arts Social Society, Inc.

Keristan Social Standards as of October 27, 1983

The social contract is a very important part of Keristan life. The complete social contract of the Keristan Islanders includes hundreds of points, many of which are understood in the oral tradition (that is, they are not written down). However, those standards which apply not only to the Islanders themselves, but also to people in the Keristan Islands Social Community … have been drawn up in written form. These are presented here…

1.Conviviality - Maintaining a cheerful disposition and sociable attitude. This includes no raising one's voice in anger (or other angry outbursts), no threats, harassment or violent behavior of any kind. (See detailed list of Breaches of Conviviality)
2.Social Tolerance - Understanding the idea that people of good will may have fundamental differences of opinion, which can be graciously put forth and discussed, whether or not agreement is reached. Respect for all choices of religion, lifestyle, and culture. Absence of prejudice.
3.Rationality - Using reason and logic are basic approaches in all conversation, behavior, and inquiry; no acceptance of strong feelings, mystical intuition or unreasonable statements are being truth of any truth.
4.The Search for Truth through the Elimination of Contradictions - Working definition of truth: a very large body of premises which do not contradict each other. Contradictions between stated beliefs and actions, between two people's different versions of the same event, or anything else are encountered and analyzed to discover the most accurate picture of reality.
5.Verbality - Conversation is an art form everyone can develop (and should). Nonverbality is considered unsocial, antithetical to personal mental health development and friendship formation.
6.Equality - No special privileges accorded to any member. Shared leadership, rather than one person being 'The Leader', is always used. Sophisticated approach allows appreciation of differences between individual people (differences of skills, talents, temperament, and so forth) without interfering with basic sense of equality. Emotions or behavior emanating from inferiority/superiority are encountered and contained.
7.Non-Sexism - Both sexes are regarded and treated as equal in every way.
8.Non-Ageism - Any adult of any age is welcome as a member and given equal respect and status. Children are encouraged to develop the sense of equality and are treated as equals wherever realistically appropriate.
9.Non-Racism - People of any racial or ethnic origin are welcome as members and considered equal in every way.
10.Non-Classism - Economic net worth or social background have no bearing on present relationships or equalitarian treatment of any individual.
11.Participatory Democracy - Every member has one vote. Decisions are in almost every instance resolved via majority rule. Voting is considered a pleasure; losing a vote is no big deal. Issues are talked out at length prior to voting depending on their significance.
12.Accountability - Members are expected to keep other members posted as to their latest thoughts, feelings, activities, financial matters, time-engineering and future plans. There is nothing that is too private to discuss; "I don't want to talk about it" is not an acceptable response to a question.
13.No Duplicity - Nothing is said about a person who is not present that isn't made known to her/him; no secret opinions or malicious gossip.
14.Non-Alienation - Bitterness, hatefulness, wrath, resentment, outrage, prejudice and other unintelligent attitudes toward government, institutions, parents, siblings, or other blood relatives, religions, or even one's own past are not acceptable. Criticism and rational critical analysis or evaluation, including strong negative opinions, maybe aired and discussed, but without irrational, emotionally unqualified intonations.
15.Active Intentional Friendship Development - Consciously working on developing ongoing friendships, around very special interest areas, including ability to make increasingly strong social and activity commitments as gestalt-oriented realtionships deepen, beginning with the entry-level commitment to meet on some regular, responsible basis.
16.Non-Interference in Art - Participants have the right to originate projects and protect the integrity of their original plan or design. The project originator has the right to maintain control over the originated project if, as and when others who have joined her/him in the project wish to turn it into a different sort of thing then she/he had in mind. This applies to originating a social activity or outing, a household space, a best-friend identity cluster (B-FIC), an art project, discussion group, theatrical activity, and so forth.
17.Graceful Distancing - Any disengagement intitiated by any party from a previous involvement is expected to be graceful, i.e. without ill will or crude behavior. A member may voluntarily, for any reason whatsoever, withdraw from any association at any time. Willful violation of any standard is grounds for expulsion (from Keristan islands and Gestalt-O-Rama activities) by a majority vote of the Voting Members in good standing. Chronic, unconscious violation of a standard may also be grounds for expulsion. Thus, other Gestalt-O-Rama players are not slowed down as they attempt to work on their own human potential development.
18.Identification with Lasting Liberty - Love of individual liberty and participatory democracy is a revered value shared by all the members. Indifference or antagonism towards this belief is considered being on different trip.
19.Good Manners and Common Courtesy - Members take etiquette, courtesy, and good manners seriously, always trying to behave in a sensitive, considerate, and refined fashion, respecting basic principles of common courtesy in all things, such as keeping one's word, keeping appointments, returning calls, being responsible, listening while others are speaking, and generally behaving in a friendly, refined, civilized, sensitive, aware way that is not out of context.
20.Clean Up Your Own Mess - Cleaning one's own dishes, living or working space, bathtub ring, and other messes created is expected of all participants.
21.Dedication to Constantly Working on Oneself - Every member has her/his own neuroses and weak points to work on. There is no such thing as reaching a state of ultimate perfection or enlightenment that precludes room for improvement. Self-improvement doesn't always come automatically, but requires positive mental attitudes, intelligence, ongoing personal effort and perseverance, along with application of proven techniques.
22.Cooperative Spirit - Being genuinely cooperative whenever possible. Willful non-cooperation should be acted out elsewhere. (See detailed List of Breaches of Cooperative Spirit)
23.Sense of Humor/Non-Touchiness/Absence of Grimness - No matter how serious a situation might be, members strive to maintain a good, cheerful perspective, sense of humor and overall psychological equilibrium. Overreacting emotionally, tendency to panic, or carrying around a sense of morbidity (beyond normal lows in ordinary high to low mood range) is encountered as being counterproductive and neurotic. Good-humored disposition on the part of everyone is essential for participation and necessary for each party to receive the psychological and social benefits of group process.
24.No Flippancy - Good humor involves knowing what is intended to be serious and what is meant in jest. Saying things as if in jest which are really meant seriously, or the inability to be serious about issues which warrant seriousness, is considered inappropriate. Playing "Devil's Advocate" is a form of flippancy. Another aspect of flippancy which isn't tolerated in the process is the disturbing and jolting tendency known as teasing or 'baiting'.
25.Seeking Quality and Depth in Personal Relationships - Getting beyond blathering superficiality, mystical vagueness, small talk and the hard shell of formality wherein neurotic individuals build a wall around themselves is a goal in all social relationships between members who are participating in the Gestalt-O-Rama process.
26.Intellectual Vigor - Members seek to develop and utilize their intellectual faculties to the fullest possibility. Bring thoughtful and using the mindare considered essential to mental health maintenance, good social relations, and high self-esteem.
27.Economic Self-Responsibility - All adult members are expected to seek out comfortable means of using their energy to support themselves (or a gift-labor equivalent) and pay thier way, as against looking for others to support them.
28.Gita Yoga - Concentrating upon one's highest ideals in order to draw energy from them that translates into activity, effort and productive work.
29.Seeing Oneself as a Case Study - Members use objective awareness to view themselves as case studies who are going through constant growth and change. This includes scientifically evaluating one's past through memory regeneration exercises, videotherapy, autobiographical storytelling and continuing development as time goes by.
30.Identification as a Scholar - Love of learning and study. Participating in the development of a negative-intrigue-free, supportive learning environment.
31.Study of Current Events - Interest and concern regarding what's happening in the world motivate members to keep abreast of news and relevant global issues. (Seeing oneself as an informed global citizen)
32.Willingness to do Public Speaking - All members are willing to talk about their feelings, about the things they are involved in, or believe in, to an audience. This includes audio and video cassette self-expression and poise development exercises.
33.Keeping Up with Turns - Each individual member is responsible for trying to stay in close touch with, and understand, new theories, plans, policies, emerging ideas, events, and other developments of significance that evolve through the group process.
34.Openness to Participating in Holistic Communication - All forms of communicating - face-to-face-talking, corresponding, telephone conversation, etc. - are made use of (Positive attitides towards technology and electronic communications.)
35.Constant Growth and Change - Psychological stagnation is not the nature of this scene. Members are open to new ideas, expect to continuously grow and change as the years go by and learn to do so gracefully.
36.Assertiveness - Clearly speaking one's mind and expressing one's true feelings on any given subject is seen as a positive value, regardless of what any other individuals in the growth process may think or feel. This means standing up for one's sense of honest communications with candor and outspokenness.
37.No Ingratiating Manner - Consciously or unconsciously distorting, altering, or ignoring one's beliefs or opinions in order to appease or please another person is unacceptable.
38.Ability to Say ‘No’ - Members never agree to do something they do not really want to do, but rather exercise their ability to say 'no.'
39.Absence of Possessiveness and Jealousy - Human beings are not treated as propertarian objects which can be possessed or manipulated. It is considered ungracious and inappropriate to desire more of anyone's time, friendship, attention, or affection that she/he voluntarily wishes to bestow.
40.Ability to Run Out the Trip - All members are capable of telling a newcomer what the lifestyle package they are involved in (including the growth process, standards, long range goals, etc.) is all about.
41.Retention - It is expected that things which are discussed one day will be integrated in the mind of each person present, and retained to be remembered and understood later on.
42.Adherence to the Construct of the Friendship Model - This model of friendship involves recognition of distinct, concentric 'relationship rings', each representing a different level of intimacy and involvement, as being operational in life. All relationships are thus defined and clearly articulated in terms of how and where they fit into this model, so that people do not try to act either closer or more distant to each other than they really are in objective reality. The objective of this model is to allow all individuals to build relationships in the most psychologically conducive manner, with the absence of inferiority/superiority intrigues which stem from being inappropriately close or distant. Individuals in a relationship ring which they find too intense (in which they 'over-amp' on input they receive, are uncomfortable receiving gestalt gropes, etc) move back to a less intense involvement ring. (meeting less often, for instance).
43.Studying the Teachings of Kerista Consciousness and Utopian Psychology - Study of the principles, theories, and history of Kerista and Utopian Psychology as a basis for self-improvement and shared understanding.
44.Study of Gestalt-O-Rama Roster of Self-Improvement Techniques - Members seek to understand all of the 130+ Gestalt-O-Rama self-improvement techniques. (See list of Gestalt-O-Rama techniques.)
45.Acceptance and Application of Gestalt-O-Rama Roster of Self-Improvement Techniques - These proven techniques are regarded as being valid and useful by members, and are individually employed where appropriate.
46.No Acceptance of Anything on Blind Faith - Critical analysis and evaluation are always used prior to agreeing to or accepting any proposal, idea, or theory.
47.There is One and only One Objective Reality - Although the truth may not always be obvious or known, this premise is considered basic (as against the idea that there are many realities, or that people create their own realities.)
48.Social Contract Consciousness - Making agreements in the form of oral and/or written social contracts, prior to beginning a cooperative or group venture of any sort, is the norm.
49.No One Can Insult Me Without My Own Consent - It is the duty of the individual in Gestalt-O-Rama to express her/his opinions and feelings openly and directly. She/he is not responsible for how these will be accepted by the other person. The other person must take responsibility for her/his own reaction, including understanding that she/he has the choice to take it graciously and positively, rather than as an insult or put-down.
50.Repetition is Seen as a Positive Value in the Gestalt Context - Going over ideas many times in conversation, in one's mind, or in media (seeing a video over and over, for instance) is considered an acceptable and helpful part of learning.
51.No Acceptance of the Idea that there is a Demonic Force in Reality - While cruelty, oppression and other noxious human behaviors have existed historically and still do, these are considered part of evolution, the results of ignorance, faulty education, and circumstances unconducive to more refined behavior. These, and other acts of nature harmful to individual human beings, are not considered to be linked to a malevolent force.
52.Clear Communications/Avoidance of Misunderstandings - A high value is placed upon precision and clarity in all interpersonal exchanges, and upon making efforts to eliminbate situation in which those involved do not understand each other through negligence, impatience, inattention, or faulty assumptions.
53.Law of Mutual Consent - In every type of interpersonal interaction or relationship, mutual consent is a precondition. Any form of coercion or non-reciprocity is scrupulously avoided.
54.Positive Value Placed on ‘Gropes’ in the Gestalt Context - It is understood that making 'gropes' regarding anyone's underlying motivations or psychology (expressing intuitive guesses as to what may be going on at a subconscious or minimally conscious level) is a helpful tool and technique, not to be taken as an insult or affront.
55.No Impression Management - Honest representation of oneself at all times is essential. Trying to give an impression which does not reflect one's true state of mind is not acceptable.
56.Acceptance of Responsibility for Consequences of One’s Speeches and Actions - What one says or does is considered in most instances a valid and literal reflection of inner beliefs and feelings. Individuals are responsible for meaning what they say and do, and must expect to take the consequences of their statements and actions.
57.Reading the Literature of the Keristan Islands - Participants are expected to read the materials published by the Keristan Islanders and be prepared to discuss the ideas involved, or ask questions about things which are not clear to them.
58.Individual Pursuit of the Science of Leadership - Every participant in the Gestalt-O-Rama Growth Process involves her/himself with the pursuit of the science of leadership. The principles studied can then be applied to those areas in which the individual is intellectually drawn and inspired, and artistically gifted. An understanding of the techniques of leadership and the existence of shared leadership are seen as conducive to mental health maintenance and essential for the existence of equality within the process.
59.Willingness to Ask Questions - Any time a person is not following a conversation, she/he should ask questions to find out what she/he isn't getting rather than acting like she/he knows what's going on when she/he doesn't.
60.Attitude of Social Responsibility - Taking the problems of humanity and the world seriously and personally to the extent of seeking to use one's energy towards their ultimate solution.
61.No One Can Humiliate Me Without My Own Consent - Humiliation is an internal attitude connected to losing one's psychic equilibrium. Individuals are responsible for maintaining that equilibrium regardless of the fact that they may receive input that they don't like or agree with.
62.Embracing the Concept of ‘Universal Ethic’ - Participants acknowledge the idea that there is a 'universal ethic' and agree to work on their own personal development with regards to ethical perspective.
63.No Unconditional Relationships - All interpersonal relationships are based upon standards and agreements and are affected by any breaches of these conditions.
64.No Proselytizing - Any belief or idea may be discussed and advocated from the point of view of its selling points, but without a preconceived desire to convert others to that point of view.
65.No Willful Malevolence - Any behavior, attitudes or statements that come from unkindness or cruelty are off-limits.
66.No Embracing Bizarre Ideas - Attaching oneself to a bizarre (i.e., irrational, unrealistic) idea for the sake of being unusual, or in a dogmatic, unyielding sense, is not acceptable.
67.No Embracing Bizarre Humor - Any attempts to be funny (which are always encouraged) are subject to evaluation by the group mind. humor that doesn't come through as funny but is, rather, considered in poor taste should be let go of.
68.No Uptightness - Acting bugged, short, mildly angry (or very angry) and/or losing one's sense of humor are considered breaches of good manners and congeniality.
69.No Psychological Withdrawal - No withdrawing into a shell in which issues and feelings are stored in the head which should be aired and talked out. There should ba an active willingness at all times to raise problems and unclear issues for group mind consideration, and no avoidance of this process.
70.No Willful Contrariness - Disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing (or being disagreeable) is considered unacceptable.
71.Ability to Lose a Vote or Choose Gracefully - Winning all the time in votes or chooses is not the way things go in life and it's no big deal. Losing can be taken cheerfully.
72.Social Charm Maintenance - Participants are expected to put out friendliness and social charm not only when in the first stages of building a relationship, but also once it has already been established and is familiar.
73.Non-Salaciousness - A healthy appreciation of sex and beauty is fine, so long as it doesn't move over into causing anyone to act like a doggie with its tongue hanging out (figuratively speaking) around persons she/he finds attractive.
74.No Touching Anyone Without Her/His Consent - Some people are into things like social hugging; others are not. It is considered ungracious to assume that another person is into it unless she/he indicates an openness to such gestures.
75.Keeping It Together at a Party - Participants in the social community are expected to monitor themselves so as not to cross the line into over-intoxication and obnoxious behavior at parties or other social gatherings.
76.Identifying One’s Very Special Interest Areas - Members are encouraged to use the technique of discerning and defining their personal areas of very special interest, as a means of becoming more productive and social.
77.Non-Stodginess in the Face of Overwhelming Evidence - When a vote or opinion poll goes unanimously against the way one person is voting, she/he is expected to go along with the vote cheerfully, giving the weight of the group mind perspective due respect.
78.Positive Attitude towards the ‘Toggle-Switch’ Mode of Decision-Making - Basic choices (such as agreement or non-agreement with the social contract standards) can be made in a 'yes/no' manner, rather than being vague about one's viewpoint or trying to give each item a rheostat reading ('I agree with this a little bit.' or 'I'm sometimes into that'). Once an opinion or decision is 'toggle-switched' into place, it can always be reversed given new input, but remains clear until such new input should arrive.
79.Requests are Not Demands - Asking someone to do something as a suggestion or favor is never twisted into a demand, where the answer 'no' becomes grounds for the person making the request to act adversely.
80.Colorful, Earthy, Explicit Language is OK - Intellectual, rational dialogue doesn't rule out the use of animated, dynamic language or conversational styles. Being very specific about personal matters such as sex or relationships is also considered in good taste, as long as whatever is said comes from good will.
81.No Profanity - The use of words such as 'fuck' or 'shit' is not considered profane so long as they are used in a literal context (that is, to describe the act of sexual intercourse, or the excretory function.) Using the same words, however, as derogatory epithets or in other imprecise ways is believed to muddy up communication and lower the aesthetic standard of conversation, and therefore, is not done.
82.Good Manners in the Guest-Host Context - When acting out the part of guest or host, individuals are expected to observe basic good manners (such as not tying up the phone for long periods of time while visiting someone else's space.)
83.Lifestyle Resolution - Members are bound to always seek out those choices of 'lifestyle package' in which they can feel solidly comfortable. If a member is not able to stand up and defend her/his own choices and situation verbally, with conviction, or has unresolved feelings about it, she/he should be looking for ways to change the situation so as to arrive at a centered mental position.
84.Participation in Important Gestalts - When an issue of significance is being discussed, all persons present are expected to make their individual views and feelings known, so that the group mind can benefit from all possible wisdom sources.