We are entering autumn 2020 and the meaning of the words is shifting. There is no other conceivable second wave than that of sick people who overload health systems. But what a human hubris to call one wave a second and thus declare another to be the first. We are the children of our biosphere and not its creator. So you may remember other second waves this fall and the fact that there are still many – maybe good – waves to follow. There is an opportunity in every crisis.
After a turbulent spring with a lot of communication around the community, the summer has become increasingly quiet. Most people have withdrawn into private life and are preparing for a tough, economically difficult winter. There is also a noticeable fatigue in the discussion and the unwillingness to deal with something that one sees as defenseless. The substitute act in self-perception easily becomes the actually intended act.
But there is also light. The reflection on what is really important, on the moments of happiness and one’s own satisfaction and the sources from which one can and can draw, is given space and affects and shapes the future.
The CASAdelDRAGON is and will remain an eternal construction site of life. Embedded in the calm village life of Cervera del Maestre, founded by the Greeks in 331 BC, we are currently working on the new terrace edging made of broken tiles. In addition to the serpent, which in the face of time stretches into the sky, and on the other hand holds the fertile earth with its body, the house of the dragon will be populated by other beings in the near future.
And again it is an international cooperation. Arta from Latvia and Marianna from Slovakia put the work together from thousands of small ceramic pieces. The creative work in the fresh air, the joy of “flow”, the calm, the light, that is what makes us enjoy being human. In a first wave in spring we dealt with gardening, food and the passing on of knowledge. The next step is to improve the infrastructure in the house. The terrace as a meeting place, as a cafeteria and podium, as a view of the wonderful starry sky of the Maestrazgo, should be given a festive setting that invites visitors to stay and appreciates its diversity.
In recent years this terrace has seen many guests. And will she be prepared for the guests who are coming soon. The second wave – as a term in feminism – was a movement of the emancipation of women from 1960. Spain, with its flourishing tourism and the slow opening of the country towards Europe, has opened doors for more rights, more freedom and a better quality of life. The situation was certainly precarious, my own family, like many others, was burdened with upheaval, unemployment and insecurity, and yet the task of letting go of the old freed people as a prerequisite for being able to grasp the new.
Again we are in a crisis, and again the old crumbles, and again few try to rule the many with fear. And again some will stand up, turn to the good, take positions and locate themselves and their work. The waves remain uncounted and they remain part of our nature. Humility and forgiveness will be the nourishment of the future.
Most people long for the authentic. They look for it in the great deeds and social media keeps showing up new heroes. Follow2ego. But the big things can be found in the small: at a Paquita in the village who supplies people with food in your shop every day, at María Asunción, who makes bread every day, with people like Jordi, who repeatedly invites you to make music many others who, like many others, fill this village with life.
It takes self-respect to really respect others. To be mindful, to observe, requires one’s own point of view. Although this may be a hypothesis and subjective, it is the prerequisite for bonding and connection.
The House of the Dragon has welcomed travelers in search of themselves for 700 years. Now we are putting a crown on it, colorful, full of memories, growing organically from the possibilities of our time. And look forward to the guests, the art and the life.
CASAdelDRAGON ist still open for guests. The homeunit in Spain might give shelter to some pilgrims on their way and is happy to be populated by hosts of the future.
We know strong and weak forces from physics. In human history there are also strong forces (plate tectonics, climate) and weak forces (religion, culture). As in physics, weak doesn’t mean less effective. Weak forces have – from today’s perspective – other sources and can be observed on a smaller scale.
As a single living being, it is difficult for us to think about plate tectonics when we are dealing with the question of the effects of the corona pandemic. However, if we look at the world map, we can easily see that there is a very strong relationship. Certainly this pandemic would have turned out differently if humanity had still lived on Pangea. Africa is not really affected by the pandemic, and is very much affected by the political consequences. The same is true for the middle of North America as well as for the subcontinent India and even for large parts of Asia. So if the virus is very much related to the tectonic shifts of the last millions of years, the political agenda has left geography behind. The global network and its media distribute what the elites in Davos are thinking of.
If one takes into account the migration of peoples, be it temporary (wage slavery in work contracts) or permanent (driven by war, poverty) migration, relationships crossing continents, emerge like in northern Italy, where cheap temporary workers from Wuhan (China) in fashion factories sew to pieces, or in Germany, where hard-working Romanians do the cutting up of pigs, imprisoned in their leisure times.
As is so often the case, the lower classes of society are most affected by the decisions of the upper class, but it is the relatively well-educated children of the upper middle class, who want to live out their cognitive dissonance in revolution and subversion. It took these children, reading Henry David Thoreau, to try a renaissance of romanticism in nature-loving communities. Countries like England and Germany now have more than 100 years of experience of community life. Even in minority societies within a state, such as in the Spanish Basque Country, there were early tendencies to organize themselves collectively.
Whether unemployed or locked down, affected by closed schools or health system restrictions (no cancer operation jet), people wonder, what will happen next. Will the second wave come, will civil rights be restricted even further? Is there a threat of an economic collapse after the pandemic has been declared? Is civil war likely?
At the level of the individual we see the effects, the risks and the opportunities of this crisis, and in our small community FamiliaFeliz we also see the effects on us as members of this decentralized community with places of residence in Germany and Spain.
It is worth looking into history. After the Spanish flu 100 years ago, there was an economic crisis, poverty and the dissolution of old systems of rule, followed by dystropic societies that wanted to achieve their liberation from decline in tyranny, violence and war. A weak political elite had no chance against big international capital that called in its tyrannical gladiators to pave the way into new markets.
30 Million deads, by the way not killed by a flue; It was bacteria, probably brought to France by US troops, in connection with the inhumane sanitary conditions at the end of the First World War in Europe, which began their triumphant advance through the lungs of the world. And since only in late feudal Spain the censorship did not work and the situation was openly reported by media, this pandemic got the name “Spanish flu”. Will we speak of a Swedish corona in a hundred years? Who knows?
What do we know about intentional communities in these times and short after… a little. FIC, the Fellowship of Intentional Communities was founded as Inter-Community Exchange in 1940 by Arthur E. Morgan for communication and exchange of goods between intentional communities. Many of these communities served as refuge for pacifists during and after the second world war.
In stormy times, communities can be viewed as places of refuge, targets of personal politically motivated migration. In post-pandemic times, thanks to better health care (food) and education (informal and self-organized), they will be able to provide impulses for a new beginning. But since they do not attract crowds, they are not suitable for the manifestation of the global utopia.
As much as the community generates a survival advantage for the individual member, it is not able to convey a positive sense of community to a large number of people. Those who stayed outside will turn away all the more from collective action afterwards, since they were crammed into their communities of fate in the time of bondage and tyranny.
The question that remains to be asked is what distinguishes the past from the current situation. The family ties already dissolved in the years of the economic boom. Neoliberalism promoted the individual. The internet and social media have further promoted this fragmentation of societies. The monetization of all essential areas of social life sent the white trash from the row houses onto the street and high-speed share trading moved capital trans-nationally, silently and inaccessible for the social expansion of societies. Off-grid becomes a survival advantage. Living remote generates quality life time.
In the post-factual monologue of the elite, the spiritual succeeds for a short time, gladly in community, and yet what is based on the second movement of thermodynamics will survive. Less entropy in doing is an indication of survival: cutting trees instead of giving yoga classes, businessless models instead of business models, giving instead of swapping, networking without using the smartphone (that works!), meditating in the eye of the storm, sharing pleasure with friends, remaining civil and disobedient, acknowledging and alleviating the fear of others without accepting it, not confusing opinion with fact, only exchanging a belief system for a better one, knowing full well that it is only a crutch in the lift to err better.
Monday the 2020-08-17 – 6pm CET Jubilee invites you to a dialogue on her video channel. If you like to join the panel, check in here. If you like to watch all meetings, check out her channel, the last panel here.
In a world of cancel culture and riots in urban streets people are looking for truth, stability and security. The Indian caste system, a French King of the Sun or a European dictator suppress freedom, and yet they give their subjects the feeling of security and innocence.
Lies often seem much more plausible and attractive to the mind than the truth, because the liar has the great advantage of knowing beforehand what the audience will want to hear.
Every hierarchy has its origins in a narrative about an invisible power. It is invented and used by those who see themselves as representatives. Representation legitimizes their power. If enough people believe in this narrative, they also submit to the self-appointed representatives. The old gods addressed fame, honor, fatherland, ethics, morals, enlightenment. They have been displaced by competition, money, globalization, resources. With the collapse of the old world order, the power elite put the ultimate god on the throne, life itself. The elite defines itself as the representative on whose behalf it gives life … and takes it.
The priest fears nothing more than unbelief. He cannot counter this with evidence, he can only condemn, exclude, destroy. His power is based on the dogma not to question his legitimation. It almost doesn’t matter to him whether his subjects follow him out of conviction or fear. But the priest also pays a heavy price. He has to deny himself the longing to belong. That feeds his fear of his own powerlessness. He fights this powerlessness in the fantasies of his power. He has to choose his bodyguards carefully, he has to reward them constantly and warn them, that their fate remains closely linked to his. In the end, he prefers to choose suicide.
In a world that is decaying, in which people are becoming increasingly lonely, the longing for community becomes stronger and stronger. The great whole falls apart into pieces. But everyone is given the will to organize himselve. So these parts are looking for other gods, for other stories and actually they are looking for peace, for meaning.
Many spiritual or political communities address this longing. They will grow in the years to come. Some will draw their strength from the senseless aggression of the old elites which they had previously shown. They will seek their salvation in the company of the weak. And with that they raise the antipode to the throne. There is a danger in all of these communities. They are often captured by a strong leader type, who use powerlessness and first appoint themselve as a local prince and then begin to conquer the outside world. And with that, they’re just repeating history. In the new media, new eloquent speakers are now appearing, the intellectual dark net is proving to be the quick breeder of sensemaking of an anxious middle class. They use contemporary narratives to attract new disciples. They promise redemption and they are just the organized new bodyguards of the old elite. As gladiators in the arena, they create entertainment. For some, the thumbs up will soon be pointing upwards, for most of them downwards.
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
Henry David Thoreau
A weak community like Familiafeliz is not an arena for these gladiators. Just as mother and father are working as a team in a classical family, and the performance of the weaker part dominates the overall performance, so in our community the overall performance is the performance of the weakest. This contradicts the general narrative, and all the lost souls who now want to look for new leaders in the diaspora, find it dangerous or at least unsafe not to align themselves with the strong.
The classical right locates this force in singular individuals and collapses in the neo-liberal madness. The classical left sees the power in the movement of the masses and ends in fascism.
A community that neither pays homage to top performance nor to overall common sense victory is not good for both. FamiliaFeliz establishes a social space for personal happiness. This is a forum romanum, borne by constant criticism of existing conditions. The bigoted attitude to demand precisely this space of free speech as long as one does not have one’s own God on the throne distinguishes all those who consider democracy to be a suitable means of oppressing a majority.
The very idea of governance is a perversion in itself. It divides, armed and disarmed. When the people’s voice rises, one only hears individual mouths.
The plenary with its intelligence of the swarm can be tried as an alternative for a vital future-oriented community. And yet it will always be an approximation. The right of veto in a plenary session protects the individual from the will of the majority. The inability of the majority to marginalize the individual opens the door to continued innovation.
A community becomes more stable when it encourages the deviator. If the community removes the fear of failure from the deviator, he will gift it with innovation.
There is no greater suffering than being labeled systemically important by the elites. The dissolution of the weak community in the unsystematic, the unintentional care for its members, these are the foundations of its prosperity. When the community also gives the space for those who claim exactly the opposite, it transcends to the place of freedom, to the garden of Epicurus.
Freedom is always the freedom of those who think differently.
An open community can be recognized by the fact that it is courting trials and tribulations, that it is home to the deviator. The space for this community is the garden of Ekipur, it has no limits, we also call it Mother Earth. And as Hannah Arnedt put it, after liberation from hunger and poverty comes political liberation. She said: “At best, I fear, we can only hope that freedom in a political sense will not disappear again for God knows how many centuries from this earth.”
I think she wasn’t right. It’s not a question of hope, it’s a question of courage. It is the courage not to submit to a new god. It is the courage to endure fear and not to pass it on. It is the courage to recognize old mistakes and replace them with new ones.
Photos: Jochen Seelhammer / Juan Petry | by using images from an installation by Jo Pellenz - one of the most important artists of our time - in the Ermita de Sant Sebastian, Cervera del Maestre, 2011
This article is about interpersonal relations, our limited capacities to communicate and our creativity to manipulate somebody. It is about the question whether a weak community with powerful members is more sustainable as a powerful community with weak members. It is about our view on ourselves and our group as well as on the others.
Again it is motivated by a weekly video podcast of Jubilee and the upcoming question What is the relation between me and a member of my community and between me and my community as an entity?
Before we go into details we should be aware about which tool we use to understand the topic and what it means for any possible outcome of this thought experiment. Even posting an article in social media is such a thought experiment. It is writing against – or for – a projection, limited by resources and the choice of means.
As visualized in the first image, i could choose between son, brother, father, man, driver, or community member for my simulation of you and i pick one of these simulations to address my message to you. Maybe i got it right or wrong, i never know if i picked the right simulation, not only because it is just my simulation, also because i have no idea in with mode you are when you receive my message.
When you are looking to a 4 year old child playing with toys you see the kid playing in different roles, at one moment a doctor, a fireworker, a father, a police man and a few seconds later as a kid inside the created scene. No border to cross, no inconsistence to take over the little child and move it from on to another role.
We are all populated by various personalities and we like to experience these personalities from the beginning by inventing sets and roles to explore the values and advantages of each.
Growing up one will be the winner, based on our childhood, our history and the history of our ancestors. One personality will take over our body, and: the winner takes it all.
In these battles in our heads we sozialize and we learn to establish an image of ourselves and of others around us. We learn how efficiant it is to be focused on one personality. We loose the flexibility in this take over but we earn a kind of peace. Also we pay a high price, we are owned by the winner.
As much as you kept your creativity you might choose a profession like actor or artist – or spy – to be excused to slip into other roles from time to time.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me
The first commandment
So far so good. Passing your adolescence you become aware about the fact that it make sense to show in different situations different aspects of your personality, or, motivated by joy – spy – or by violence – victim – even different personalities at all (ICD/DSM).
I do not want to dive deeper into any personality disorder. All this preludium was only to regognize the roots of our media (body, mindest), used to discover more about relations and consequences between members in and members towards a community.
To establish a relation with another person is a complex process. First of all you need to be aware about the probability that there is a real person behind your simulation and you might calculate the advantage of spending energy in developing this relation.
Also you choose set, environment and the peronality / role you want to approach.
If you look at the image (fig 3) it looks more like a comunity talking to another community and there is a big truth in this observation.
However, we establish relations between our own favorite image (as a representative of our physical manifestation and as well as a speaker for all the other hidden campions in our personality group) and the simulated image of a targeted person. With techniques of non-violent communication, awareness and supervision we might limit the colateral damage but we are trapped in this setting and we have to be aware about it.
The investment in a relation could be motivated by a desired result: the date, the dinner, the job, the money, the protection, the capture. If its not about size or testosteron we like to invent a higher reason for moving the other to a desired behavior.
Name it religion, ethics, a moral instance or science. We invent or use an acceptable authority to underline the evidence of our argument. With this trick we gain sovereignty of interpretation, we safeguard ourselves against responsibility and we demand submission to the obvious, because it is obvious. If the other accept this authority we can expand the impact of this tool while developing the relation.
We tend towards this behavior because we basically only repeat what we ourselves have experienced in the personal struggle for dominance over our bodies. To manipulate a single other person we invent or use narratives around these authorities. We invent rituals and routines, framed in such stories and established and delivered in rhythms.
In our approach to charge our message with weight and validity we like to show ourselves as a speaker for this authority.
We politicians cannot determine what happens, our job is to determine what it means.
Gerhard Schröder, former prime minister (GER)
If we are able to move the favorite representation of our personality in the position of such a speaker of this authority – and we are able to convince the other about this status – we re-route and control also the whole communication in the future. This even allows us to display our own opinion that differs from the authority.
So far, so good. You might ask yourself, where is now community in this picture and how it leads to the answer to our question, if a weak community with powerful members is more sustainable as a powerful community with weak members.
In one moral or ethic believe you might share a vision and based on your qualification you try to speak in the name of...
If you own this believe, you will control it as well as you certify the speaker of it and you might name it company or enterprise.
The legal equality of a company with an underage person gives the owner the opportunity to delegate responsibility, to select recruits, to define the purpose of the company and to have interests asserted by others (CEO…).
The boundary between good and evil does not run between people’s heads, but inside of these heads.
Juan Petry, artist
This allows the owner of a weapon manufacturer to act privately as a philanthropist and cognitive dissonance can be subdued in the ranks of employees at the yearly company party.
Game A – driven societies are in favor with entities like associations, foundations, companies, enterprises. The invention of the personified authorities forms the basis for the success of the neoliberal economic system. The ambassador becomes the message. The message becomes a commodity. The commodity becomes the truth.
Like every belief system there is a dogma in the established narrative: something which can not be transcended into commodity can not be truth.
The underage person as a company needs the advocate. This company creates roles (like CEO). People choose these roles because they are associated with validity and status. This validity is necessary for a person to stabilize the personality that had gained the upper hand in becoming this person.
When people fall in love with a house, a car, with something, we speak in pronounced cases of a personality disorder. The fetish becomes a god. Worship lies in submission, just as submission lies in worship.
If you see a community as a company, if you create a narrative and you like to gather followers, you become the guru, or the advocate of a belief system. In the best case you end up with disciples convinced in the same faith in a competition about leadership. If you own the idea, you might achieve total control.
In the process of building a community people gather and exchange ideas and narratives. If a core group of people are able to identify similar thoughts in their projections of the others they might to establish relations. Based on this relations they are able to form a group, a clan, a family, linked together in a belief system.
To establish this entity and to manage the inner relations the group is forced to explain it’s view from inside and outside. This force is delivered by the society and at the latest when the first car is bought, the first house is built, the first tree is planted, the question of ownership arises.
And ownership itself is a narrative, an authority and if the members of the group agree on this idea of property, at least externally, they submit to this idea. In this they form the interface to the society. It is the interface this society wish to encounter, for the purpose to delegate responsibility.
Most communities distrust their members and choose to put ownership in the hands of an association. This association, however, as a minor, needs a guardian. It is chosen from it’s own ranks. And with that, the equality of the members is abolished.
Entities like association or company may sustaine on a short term. In finite games they can act much more agressive and overcome moral or ethic handicaps. On a long term in an infinite game they become useless.
Democracy is only conceivable among equals. A community under the open sky that finds itself in order to develop a social place for personal happiness, that has more advocates than members, that gives no rights and takes no toll, could be created and recognized. Nobody could build a realistic relationship with this entity. It throws everybody back on the simulation of himself.
Trying to find the essence of a narrative, trying to reduce as much as possible the content without loosing the core, this was the aim of creating our charter in 2017. Now, three years later, we are flooded by requests and we experience a lot of attention for alternative community life and self organized government.
Find the right line – like in these drawings from Arta – the translater of the latvian version of our charter – is the challenge. Giving space in a drawing is the clear invitation for a viewer to fill this space with his own ideas, same in our charter. A lot of visitors of CASAdelDRAGON are missing rules in this charter, but not the same.
Therefor our charter is a set of values we could identify, and not a long list of compromisses we agreed in. Some sceptics are rejecting the idea of a veto and they are frightended that 95% of good targets might falling apart. Maybe, but imagine to be focused on only 5% and we can donate 100% of our energy for that.
Thanks to Arta, for the drawings – you could get one with a little luck if you join us at the opening here and have a look at Artas website for more creative solutions.
So far, so good. If this headline had survived for a second in your focus and you are starting to read, we will celebrate together a victory over cancel culture at the end of this post. So far, so good. You might thought about it as nonsense is the aim or as every aim / goal is nonsense or senseless at all. We are talking about intentional communities and especially the moment of creation. And we are talking about needs, expectations and perception.
This post – in a line with several others [1|2|3] – is based on a open question “Howto move from survival mode to wholeness?” pointed out in a Jubilees video podcast.
Our community FamiliaFeliz is flooded by requests since we published this website five years ago. In the early times it was more frequently a student or wwoofer, who asked for a shorter and cheap visit to help in the garden, in construction or in some other projects we organised around informal education and community building. Since the beginning of 2020 there are much more singles and single mothers with kids searching for a new and alternative life. Also couples or whole families with one, two, three or more children are asking for conditions to join our community project.
In the beginning it was not a matter of money or there was no economical need to find another home or to move from a city to the countryside. Now it looks as it becomes more and more urgent to find a safe haven, expecting a kind of escalation in winter 2020.
I asked myself what is survival mode and how i might be able to identify it in all this requests, even the question if there is evidence in these requests that people shifting in this desperate mode of reptiles and just focused on surviving need verification.
Many of these single mothers are showing up with a very clear set of conditions they had already defined before a first call. They are browsing through their check lists and at the same time they are listening carefully in these interviews for any sign of weakness, uncertanty, risk. Already trapped in a society which promote the family, but if it occurs, it had become more and more a private coop with little public support. And in case of these single mothers even the male has been lost on the way.
A lot of young tourists and wwoofers also get trapped far from home and where searching for a shelter in spring of 2020.
All this is very human and no reason to judge or belittle. It is just a fact and reality in these times and also a consequence of contemporary identy politics.
Think about two different people trying to enter community. One of them has the money or resources to always know they can feed himselve. The second person does not always know if he can get all his food needs every week. These two people might have different expectations, or desires, about what a community might be like, what it might provide, what they can offer.
Daniel – panalist in Jubilees video podcast
We know from other community designs that inviting and exploiting a visitor is very common. But even if the community has a more holistic view on looking at people it might favor the wealthier person in times of a social break down and an upcoming economical melt down.
It’s easy to imagine different people with different needs and different priorities searching for communities. If you ask each person about the optimum (s)he will define a different design of a community. So far, so good.
If you ask this searching person about the number of identified communities, providing all what’s on the list and with the right priority, the answer is mostly zero. So far, so good.
If you ask them about the expected probability of finding such an optimal community, the answer is: very low. So far, so good.
If finally I asked them, after talking 2 hours by phone about our community design, values, priorities and conditions, why they don’t give a try to one of the communities they already identified before this call, the answer is mostly the same: “I wanna search more to find a better one...!” So far, so good.
Therefore many people are searching now and they are creating a massive overhead of communication towards the interface of each community.
We see two main versions of communities, one is based on a common goal. If some people identify such a goal and others searching for the same, sometimes they are able to gather and unite and cooperate to reach this goal. Most of the times its done after reaching the goal, or, its done before because they realize that they have to deal in the group process with much more than only being focused on that goal.
The other version of communities is not established through members looking for a goal or any specific and maybe missed ressource at all. These communities are born by the enjoyment of the common. They have no aim, no goal, no target – on the level of the community.
If it is a classical company it might be created by exploring the maximum of benefit for the shareholder by opimizing for a minimum of costs to produce this benefit. If every employee experienced himself as a tiny company as well he will act in the same way. Funny to see them walking on the same path by complaining that they have to work so hard for so little benefit. The shareholder complains about deregulation and limited access to the open market by limiting the same in the best way internaly. The employee complains about the pressure inside and the bad labor conditions by serving exactly an entity which does so.
If you compare this two principal designs – and you can switch easy from company to community – you might asked yourself why so many Game A like communities can exist and so few of type B. It is about the human mankind and it’s ability to lie to herself/himself. Therefore you also find many intentional communities which are providing the illusion of any kind of problem-solving. Inserting a problem in your mind you do not have and offering an affortable solution moves you to the leading class of community designs.
Some of the requests for joining our community are motivated by people charged with bad experience from other communities before.
I must leave the system! I need to rest! I want to be self-sufficient! – Many of this we listen again and again. The uncomfortable answer to this: Leave the planet. Stop searching. Hermit might fit.
One of the big myths in western societies is still, that you are an individual as a human being and that happiness is based in individual skills and cleverness. In a worldwide competition it looks like that happiness is a tradable good and money a tool to gather it.
Be effective, be efficient – which is not the same by the way – and focus of what makes sense. Parents, friends, teachers and the whole society is hacking the brain in repeating this dogma of sense.
I had once a talk with an australian language teacher. He visited and contributed to our community several times in the last years. He is working only (!) 6 weeks per year at an university to teach english for new students. The rest of the year he is traveling, reading, talking, moving around and interested in a lot of things. He complained bitterly that his family thought he was a good-for-nothing and that his father accused him of only doing nonsense. I told him, this would be the greatest praise for me, if somebody is identifying me by doing nonsense. Only a person able to do nonsense is a free person.
A community for purpose might lead to endless discussions how to reach the goal or how to re-invent another. The basic rule in neoliberalism “privatize benefit and socialize losses” is from the view of a Game B likely community nothing with favor.
So a lot of times there is another question for the person asking for the community: Why do you think a community would solve any of your problems? The answer is a lot of times: Because i can give the community also something! So far so good. Therefor we have COOPs or companies. So far, so good.
In FamiliaFeliz we are following an old knowledge about the people/surface – ratio in Europe to live in such a way on a piece of land that we can use it for our own life time and we can handle it over to a new gerneration in the same or in a better quality. The ratio is in south Europe 15.000 square meter per person. So we offer a new member 1,5 ha land, a room to stay in the house of the dragon and the ressources we gathered already, all this, without asking for an initial investment or very specific skills.
You might asked yourself why FamiliaFeliz is not – flooded by requests and therefore – growing fast. The answer is simple. We do not provide security, we do not provide sense and most of all, we are not lying to people about setting such goals or meaning.
Every unique member might have his goals, as much as his needs, fear, anger, sadness, happiness and peace, the community – as an entity – has nothing of this.
At the beginning God gave every people a bowl and from this bowl they drank life.
Digger Indians, America
Whoever God might be in this quote, we learn, that every people – a kind of community – already exists before the beginning, and that life appears after drinking it in a common practice.
And that’s the clou. If somebody want to join a community because he want to offer a deal, to give something to this community and to receive a solution for his challenge, it will not work. Beside the fact that he will later give something to some members of the community but never to the community, the community is not an entity like a company and therefore no contracter.
If somebody want to join a community because he is curious about solutions coming out of a crowd self-policed by swarm intelligence and solving unpredictable challenges for it’s members in the future…. so far, so good.
After more than three years – thanks to Greete from Amsterdam – now also a dutch translation of our charter is available for download. In a great session we talked and translated the leading english draft in the kitchen of the house of the dragon.
Motivated by a group of very dedicated partizipants in a weekly video conference moderarted by Jubilee Creates Something Amazingby meandering through life it might be time to reflect about some upcoming questions around communities and especially the inicial process of community buildung.
You can see community building as a process of integration, if you imagine the members of the new entity are coming together without having any relation before, or as a process of decomposition, if they had a kind of relation before. We see more evidence in the second, because the first denied the former status of each member as part of entities like society, religion, world population or GAIA or however you like to name it.
In the video podcast we meander around the inicial phase of community buildung, but as in a deterministic view on the world there was every a before. So you could argue by saying that there is a gap between reality and the common reality simulation produced in the community which motivates somebody to change the common simulation in the first place, and if not possible to convince some other members to escape together by forming a new community based on a new narrative, expecting, that this new narrative might be more close to the real reality.
It is clear that this will encounter resistance in the old community, because regardless of the positive intention, any attempt to split off is always seen as a weakening of the existing group. The other aspect might be that this process of decomposition leads always to a weak new fraction of power, compared to the abandoned group.
Another source of new communities might be the exclusion of members to get rid of never ending provocations. Even academic communities are not aware about the force to exclude its members from any access to the elite by establishing a playground called the academic world. It is a big myth – to put it in nice words – that all this educational institutions where released in a process of ethnic liberation.
However, in the beginning of the beginning a single person or a minor group discover a gap between these both simulations of reality. And the ability to do so is comming from a personal flexibility and independence from the group – or from its failing to control its members in a more efficient way. Again, lets point it out: you can see social media as a last place of liberty or as a tool to identify desperate provocateurs.
In Jubilee’s circle there are some questions on the table and we like to walk through. We are able to view them from the perspective of a single member of a decentralized intentional living community, from the point of a basic ruleset to decribe the reality simulation of this community and from the point of a never stopping provocateur inside of this community looking for new ideas and better fitting narratives to adept to a better simulation of reality. None of this views are able to find any truth, but, following Karl Popper, they are useful to exclude some narraives and the greatness in this is simply, that a wrong assumption in one view doesn’t need a proof in another. So even this post is published to be evaluated as false, and nothing more than this could be helpfull to develop a better – false – narrative about how community buildung might start. Keep this in mind, even when you read the next part.
The open questions and the answers (bold and italic): What should I expect from myself? Nothing! In what ways am I responsible to my community? In no way! What do I expect from others? Nothing! What should I realistically not expect from others? Maybe, that they would answer in the same way – if i would expect something, what i try to reduce as much as possible.
It looks like a big provocation, and it is. But it is a kind of provocation to enlighten the source of community building which might lead to a subset of an old one – driven by a surely positive intention – by implementing the same negative conditions. So lets get through it.
As an open minded thinker and member of such an open minded community already the word should is a kind of interlectual hijacking. To be able to use this word I need a simulation of a moral entity higher than me as a given source to blue print a self policing narrative which allows me to submit to it in a gesture of humility. I would not go so far that I deny exactly this, but if I am asked by a third party i might feel just a tension.
Assumptions are a clear survival advantage in the unknown savane – which we have never left because the future always has something savannah-like uncertainty – as long as they are questioned deeply in preparation and follow-up and they are used in action – in combat – without any hesitation. This is no guarantee of individual success, but it is an advantage for the community in the sense of swarm intelligence. Expectations are not. The difference between assumptions and expectations is the delussion of adding a kind of truth or inevitability to an assumption, to make it likely more relevant. And this is excactly what happened in the process of a lot of community building initiatives. There is somebody who see the gap between the outer and the inner narrative and announce in the community the need to reinvent a better narrative.
Faced with the resistance to give up an avoidable security, the provocateur experiences the role assignment of a potential leader who is supposed to substantiate his claims and assumptions about the unknown outside. A natural reaction might be to reinvent his assumptions as expectations, by claiming evidence for them.
This might lead to crazy constellations, like a researcher in front of a board, who is forced to certify the economic usability of his research results in order to raise the funds he needs to be able to do this research.
If somebody is using the word responsibility i am not sure about the intention behind. I by myself experienced this world again and again compagnioned by “and therefore you should…”. When responsibility came in my simulation i was a kid and my parents tried to invent a reason for a desired behavior, to eat the soup, to tie the shoes by myself or to deliver a homework on time. Sometimes parents try to charge the value of this responsability by “God is looking at you!” or “No cake | tv | smartphone | love … if not…”.
By adding these possible arguments, I do not want to discredit the actual – maybe positive – motivation of the parents, rather it is about showing how helpless adults are when they want to introduce something – responsibility here – without really being able to explain and prove it.
Many years later a kid might realise in a confrontation with other kids in the street or with teachers, that there was a kind of truth in the attempted upbringing of responsability as a narrative, but not in the sense that the parents tried to explain it. It is a big difference if you learn from this that you accept responsability as a moral compass introduced by somebody who might own or drone you, or, if you learn out if it, that people tend to use the idea of responsability to hack your brain.
We see, like the narrative around money, that the idea of responsability is able to gather people to form big sized communities and you could count them as successful. But if so, do not try to leave them.
The idea of responsability often is implemented by using “because you are” followed by a role. You are kid, partner, mother, grandmother, driver, employee, tourist and citizen. And on every role the inner narrative of the society is binding a set of rules, and the self-fulfilling self policing happened … mostly. If not, by accident or purpose, somebody might be punished or excluded from community activities.
The obvious link between the first and third question leads to a similar answer. Instead of just repeating the argument it make sense to add some other aspects. If I would expect something from another person and if I would communicate this – maybe by using the word responsability – i want to make it happen more likely, what i expect. In fact, this ties the other to a certain outcome and it has to be seen as an act of capturing. If so, the deny of expectation and (!) the clear communication about this frees the other and can be seen as an act of liberation.
The answer to the last question may make one or the other smile. Even this answer is carrying a big ingredient to community building, which is called humor. The ability to use humor in communication deliver a strong message to the other, that binding doesn’t lead to prison automatically.
At the end of this post you might return to the introduction of the three different views on the subject, as a member of a community, as a reader of our basic rules – our constitution, our principles – and as a never stopping provocateur inside of this community. You are right to see this three views as constructed viewpoints to highlight roles, and you could imagine different answers to this fundamental questions, given by this three different positions of observation.
First of all, it is my personal assumption so far to publish this set of answers. If I look at our basic ruleset I find evidence that we created these rules based on assumptions and that we tried to affect the individual simulation of the reality in the least possible way for every member. As a never stopping provocateur I feel very comfortable in this living community FamiliaFeliz, because its aim is to enable me to experience alternative narratives all the time, maybe even because this community itself doesn’t create the narrative, i could find sense and meaning inside of it.
Our solar system is formed – beside other factors – by the immense gravitation of the sol. If the same mass would be compressed in a few cubic centimeters it would be a black hole and eat up the whole system over time. But the big sized sol distributed a beautiful environment for the blossoming of life as we know it, and not because it eats up everything around. There is a relative time-limited equilibrium between the sustaining and stabilizing forces of gravitation and the centrifugal forces as a power of innovation.
So you can try to explain the spawning of a new community from an old larger one by saying that you want to do it better, or by trying it less badly, knowing and underlining that there may be more of this less. The second one might not solve any problem, but doesn’t hurt its members so much.
I could identify my community as such a community, because I can answer these questions in the same way, as a member, as a reader of our charter and as a never-ending provocateur with curious look at the outside.
In the last days of june 2020 FamiliaFeliz was invited to partizipate in a video postcast about intentional communities. Jubilee Creates Something Amazingby meandering through life is one of the emerging video-potcast channels on social media. The host Jubilee is interested in Game B and other projects and initiatives to develop a better life for all of us.
This article is about some of our community activities in the first 100 days of spanish lock down, about the challenge to develop a social community project between community twins, about the daily reality in the house of the dragon and the intention of the community founders to set up a basic rule set – our BIOS – of how it might be to live inside of our community and a link between all of them.
Before we go into details lets discover some main keywords like intentional communities, ecovillages, self-policing and self-fulfilling rules.
Bill Metcalf’s definition of intentional communities in his book “Utopian Struggle: Preconceptions and Realities of Intentional Communities” doesn’t really help. For him traveling 40 years and co-existing in 100 community projects wordwide leads – for us – only to white swan narratives rejecting everything else, especially black swans.
FamiliaFeliz is an alternative living community with shared economy. Every member had already a good life, there was no reason to escape from something or somewhere or to reject, to limit or to fight (against or for) something or somebody. Our intention to gather was basically motivated by our knowledge that we could enjoy more our personal happiness if it would be embedded in a group. And the process of founding it was more a late result of a long term closed friendship between all of us.
In the environement of spanish language the word ecoaldea is often used as a substitution for comunidad (community). It might transport for some the idea of an ecological driven location but for locals its more to seperate it from ancient ideas about the meaning of the word comunidad.
Communities are an inherent feature of human social capacities. Communities as a phenomena are emerging, if a core group of two or more people develop a relation because it makes sense for them. The source for the initial motivation to do this could be indentified by an external reason (violence, forces, pressure, leak of sense…) or by an internal reason (lift personal peace, freedom, joy, fear…). Both types could be linked: imagine a submarine, in which the marines become a team over time after leaving the harbour, has a failing engine and starts to sink. In the first place the relation was designed by externals. At the end there is a strong personal inner will to survive which brings the crew much more together.
Sometimes these constellations of people are invited to define their inner constitution. In case of FamiliaFeliz we where asked again and again: “What really is this FamiliaFeliz?”. Not willing to get tired about explaining again and again we invited our friends to create and verify our basic ruleset, our charter.
When FamiliaFeliz – in this case the crew living in the home unit in Spain in spring 2020 – experienced the first days of lock down, we had a running gag in every dinner at 10pm. Instead of counting the days of lock down we cheered ourselves up with “day hundredminus something of the survival of the fittest”. Nobody was really thinking that it could be our cheers for more than 100 days.
Two years ago we created a prototype of a compost toilet. This was – in terms of our charter – a temporary working unit. The members of this unit donated time and energy to set up a first terra preta compost toilet close to our vegetable garden. The group of contributers where not stable over the time and it was finally finished by a german couple and their son.
The most important content of our basic ruleset is the missing part.
When we came together to start to think about a basic ruleset it was motivated by many talks about our community life, hidden rules, team buildung, and core values. Again and again we where asked about it and again and again we explained it, and everybody in her or his best intention – but surely different. We decided to create a charter. We decided also to create it in an unpresidential way, by inviting everybody online to participate. Finally we where surrounded by more or less 50 people (everybody had some experience with us and most of them where asking before about such a basic paper).
Self-policing is the ability of each member to follow the rule and to experience the consequences of not following them without any intervention of others. It finally empower each member and gives a very smart design pattern for rule sets.
Self-fullfining rules are amazing because they do not need protection.
1.3 Membership To FamiliaFeliz belongs only, who accepts the charter of its group and is member of at least one working unit.
Definition of a Member in FamiliaFeliz – final draft of our Charter
In July 2016 we started to write a first draft and in August 2016 we published the first version. Lateron it became a smart process based on swarm intelligence to figure out the best way of what and how to express our basic inner rules. Again and again we published new versions and the discussion emerged again. In the 9st of January 2017 we published the final draft and here you can find the history of its creation.
The challenge was for sure, how to write such a paper to explain truthfully and honest the reality of our community, to define core values and to be as much as possible flexible for future members and their ideas and needs. We defined some meta rules on the way, rules how to create rules:
Less is more.
Reduce as much as possible expectations.
Define only the core values and procedures.
Define the way in and define the way out of the community.
Make it impossible to break a rule.
Even the last might be a tricky thing. But – thanks to our forcing swarm intelligence – we made progress even in this. Finally we see the ruleset more like a blue print – it was already copied by other initiatives – and as a useful tool to explore the mindset of somebody with interest in our community life. It helps every member to reject false expectations and reduce the guidelines to a smart minimum. In fact after agreeing in the ruleset we never experienced a feeling or need to change it (in the last years). The only thing which didn’t apply was a reduction of explaining our community life, it only added the phrase As we wrote…sometimes many times. :=)
In our community – and in our basic ruleset – we have no reglementation about food and kitchen responsibility. Everything related to a living home has to be organized by the members of this – we call it – home unit. The community is created by it’s members. But we are living in a decentralized community and we have more than one home. We do not think it makes sense to rule out the content of a plate in a dinner session in a house where we are not part of on a daily basis.
The house of the dragon – our first home unit in spain – is an extrem sample of this way of thinking. The artist residence and think tank is visitied by 50 to 200 guests per year (before corona) and the crew on bord decides again and again new about ingredients (vegan, vegetarian…).
People are not equal, and to force them to be equal and declare this as a right goals to achieve is not in the favor and advantage of an individual. Dilan (10 years) like to cook and design but is very lazy in wiping the dust in his room.
The GEN network started in the global lock down period a project to add value to the movement of communities. It asked related communities for twin projects. As a decentraized community in Germany and Spain we applied and we get into contact with Nuestra Finca Sagrada in Nicaragua. Finally we agreed in a knowledge transfer from our project to them, including documentation of the process to send, receive, transform, adapt and realize a project of terra preta based dry toilets. In a first video session we discussed the steps of implementation and we will continue this in the summer of 2020.
In the lock down we started also another knowledge transfer with some friends in Belgium.
We invented a terrace garden and refurbished and upcycled material to produce some food like salad, tomato and beans. We published some posts and chatted with Belgium about strategical and technical solutions.
Whether a person is defined member of our community or not, whether this person is living with us in the same home unit or not, whether the person is part of our community or is on the way to set up his own in another continent, we treat this person in the same way. The unique difference between a member of FamiliaFeliz and somebody else is, that somebody outside of our community has no voting rights to decide on the admission of a new member.
We want a better life, and it doesn’t mapper if we rise the happiness inside or outside our community, because in both cases we experience that we rise it finally on both sides (because in our construction of “we” there is no outside really.
Somebody may be grandkid, kid, mother, couple, family member, car driver, teacher, inhabitant, citizen, activist… but these are only roles, given by societies to manipulate people by sticking responsabilities to each of them.
Inside of Familiafeliz, a social space for personal happiness, all these roles are fading out. We like to see the human, and we do not expect anything from her or him.
Publishing our charter with the name DRAFT is an expression of our humility in the view of the diversity of nature and people. Maybe there is something like GAME B, but – for now – there is only Planet A.
A good question about evaluating a community is: what kind of world would it be if everyone did it in the same way? It might be also a good goal, if diversity blooms and the goal of the community is, to make the members as independent of their community as possible.