Hyperfamily

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Hyperfamily: (noun) A group of people, not necessarily genetically or legally related, who have made a deliberate choice to come together for the purpose of providing mutual economic, emotional, and practical support.

The Hypertwins are so-named because they, um, I mean we, are like twins but in a hyperfamily rather than a regular (or unleaded) family, since we're not legally or biologically related.

Articles

Related Concepts

  • 2009-03-06 TRIBES! "If you are like most people in the 'developed world,' you don't have any experience in a true tribal organization. Tribal organizations were crushed in the last couple of Centuries due to pressures from the nation-state that saw them as competitors and the marketplace that saw them as impediments. All we have now it is a moderately strong nuclear family (weakened via modern economics that forces familial diasporas), a weak extended family, a loose collection of friends (a social circle), a tenuous corporate affiliation, and a tangential relationship with a remote nation-state. That, for many of us, is proving to be insufficient as a means of withstanding the pressures of the chaotic and harsh modern environment..." -- this echoes a lot of the stuff I said at the beginning of the The Hyperfamily Idea.
  • Intentional community (Wikipedia)
  • Polyamory is similar, but the emphasis is different; Hyperfamily focuses on the functioning of the group, while polyamory is more about the relationships; a hyperfamily can include polyamory, though it doesn't have to (depending on the latter's definition, anyway)
  • A share house is generally not owned by the residents, but there doesn't seem to be a term for such housing when it is owned/managed by the residents.

Notes

2008-03-07 blog excerpt

PZ Myers said:

I think it is an indictment of the pernicious influence of religion that it has so thoroughly undermined the whole notion of a social community that when secular people with purely secular motives engage in community building, normally rational people gasp in horror, point, and shriek, "He's creating a cult!" It's an attitude the religious love to encourage, because it can be used to short-circuit any competition. We can always trust people to use religion as an epithet against any non-religious community, while somehow, conveniently, always neglecting to apply it in the same way to the one class of organization that really deserves it, religion itself.

This echoes one thought that was frequently in my mind in the early days of the hyperfamily idea – that it would be seen as a "cult". But here Myers puts his finger on the fact that we've been socially conditioned to think of any group of people that is neither a "respectable" religious organization nor a business of some sort as being odd or "cultish". I agree with Myers's suspicion that religious organizations have done their best to encourage this idea, too.

2002-11-30 email excerpt

From an article in the NY Times Magazine about "The Sims" virtual people computer game and the online culture thereof, in which one activity involves writing stories about one's simulated characters:

The New York Times Magazine said, on 2002-11-24 p.58:

Interestingly, the stories generally don't seem to regard marriage as the happily-ever-after ideal. Instead, cliques are the key to paradise. In story after story, the happy denouement comes when the main character settles into her new home, furnishes it to her taste and then invites 5 or 10 people over, and they surround her with companionship and celebrate her triumphs.

...

If you came of age before, say, 1985, then your social life probably followed the 1950s pattern: you had a group of friends and also a relationship with your special boyfriend or girlfriend that was understood to be higher and more intense than that with the rest of the gang. [ ... ] But for many American young people, the friendship relationship is more important than the sexual relationship. ... People go out in groups, rather than on one-on-one dates.

The author subtly denigrates this idea by describing it as a "clique". Merriam-Webster defines "clique" as "a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially : one held together by common interests, views, or purposes" – where the negative taint presumably comes from the "narrow" and "exclusive" nature of this group. Well, what "group" could be more "narrow" or "exclusive" than a traditional marriage? Once you join that group, you are by law prohibited from joining any others like it, and nobody else can join yours. Not only is this enforced through legal means, but from my personal observation married people tend to avoid the company of unmarried people, including former friends. If that's not cliquish in the worst sense, then what is?

I think it's really quite telling, if what the article says is true -- that given freedom from the constraints of editorial oversight, many young authors see group-family membership as being clearly preferable to traditional marriage. It means that this whole concept of marriage as being the ultimate ideal that "everyone wants" is a sham. Maybe some people want it, but some people very much want something different.

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