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Operating Structure : Astraea

by KTJ of Astraea&

1. Do you have a form of internal organization? Describe it.
Organization in our system takes several forms. On Laura, the homeworld, occupations are organized into guilds. Some of the major guilds send representatives to the High Council which meets at least three times a year. Common Council is town meetings held to decide local issues. The frontrunners tend to make decisions by consensus or situation unless there is a specific law about something.

For interacting with the world-at-large (the earth world or consensus reality), there is and has always been a group of frontrunners -- at least six or seven people who ordinarily take the front and run things to do with the earth life. It's the kind of setup we've heard other people call tag-team frontrunning. There are usually a few others who lurk and comment and/or help to run communication between the frontrunners and the homeworld.

2. Does it resemble an Earth-world model? Does it take after a different context altogether?
High Council vaguely resembles the UN in that it involves representatives from the different countries and regions on the homeworld, plus speakers from various guilds. The most recognizable government activity to an earthman would probably be Common Council. The setup with our frontrunners could best be described as the mobile unit of a radio station.

3. Do you have factions, political parties, etc? How are they handled?
Oh, yes. There is always the question of how much recognition and respect to give to the earth world, vs. how much we need to give to our own world and people. Such things are handled via consensus and compromise for the most part.

4. How are major decisions or arguments resolved?
Mostly through debate, until we reach consensus.

5. How does your system handle memory and/or communication?

Through a common knowledge pool that everyone can draw on; a planetary registry (phone service) and ethercast communications (Newsnet -- the closest analogy on earth would be a combination of CNN and C*SPAN); as the body gets older the frontrunners have taken to leaving notes because short-term memory isn't what it used to be. 2002 was the first year we started using grocery lists instead of remembering what we need to get.

6. Has your system of operations undergone major changes, and if so, why?
There have been several major changes in how the frontrunners handled things, and in the frontrunners' ability to be in touch with the homeworld. At one point the frontrunners tried to do the "I am just one person" thing, but left two people (one male, one female) as supposedly sole frontrunners -- they thought they were the "masculine and feminine traits" of one person. They even tried to integrate to each other.

However, the fundamental structure of the operating system has not changed. One or more frontrunners, a communications system and the rest of the home world. Before we we were aware that the term "multiple personality" could apply to us and that therefore each of us was a person and not just a symptom of mental instability, we made various attempts to integrate and in other ways become "normal".

7. Have there been any specific examples of situations your system's organization has dealt with because of its nature particularly well? Poorly?
We are fairly successful at adapting to unusual situations.

We have difficulty when too many tasks are piled on at once -- we are prone to overwhelm.

I'm not sure either of these things have to do with the way the operating system functions. We've tried different strategies and they just don't hold up over time. They require too much energy. It's very difficult for us to hold regular nine-to-five employment, in no small part because the shared brain has mild autism. The consistency of behaviour that's required plus the additional energy it costs to pretend to be non-autistic can be brutally taxing.

8. Is the direction of your organization changing as time goes on, and why?
I'm not sure what is meant by this one. Certainly the political leanings lately have been very conservative, that is, Laura-centered rather than earth-centered. We are taking steps in the earth world to ensure that we will be able to live honourably as Laurad people in both worlds.

9. Are there particular strengths?
The knowledge that we are always there for each other and that no one need be alone is very powerful, especially for frontrunners. There is always a sense that there are others, even when they're not right there with you.

10. Weaknesses?
We tend to become dependent on one another, to the point that it becomes difficult for one and only one person to take the front, particularly in stress situations. Normally sole frontrunners are not required, but it's something we want to be able to do if need be.

11. Is there any direction people are seeking to improve in?
Yes. To quote composer Sean O'Riada, Irish nationalist and founder of the Chieftains: Let nobody say that our traditions are inferior to those of any other... they are our traditions, and as such, they suit us best.

12. Is your system centered around positions that any able person could fill, or around specific people instead?
We would consider ourselves seriously remiss if the operating system could not be run by, as you say, any able person. This holds particularly true for those of us who deal with the earth world on a regular or semiregular basis.

You can write to Pavilion at pavilion@ karitas . net. Back to the library
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