On his trip to Germany, our member Juan met the activist, journalist and text artist Andreas in Bad Münstereifel, a small town with a beautiful historic city center. After a long night and many conversations with interested citizens about a better future, they both agreed to meet for an interview in the German home unit of FamiliaFeliz.
The interview was conducted and recorded in German.
A written version and translation into English is planned, but requires the involvement of third parties ( Please get in touch if this topic addresses you and you could do this work! ).
Recorded in Windeck, Germany 2020 | Copyright (c) Andreas
Bread – a work of art – by the artist Marianna – CASAdelDRAGON – January 2021
FamiliaFeliz is a place to develop personal happiness. It is not a place to apply for solving problems by others. It is a space to relax, to recover, to restart. It is a place where you can fail, fail again, fail better and be successful in the end.
It was three years ago that Clara and Juan made a wholemeal bread from organic grain as part of a joint venture with the local bakery. It was about giving new impulses for nutrition, also in view of the fact, that more and more people from other countries have found their new home in our Spanish village. The art project was limited in time and has contributed to the fact, that wholemeal bread is now regularly offered by the only remaining bakery that is so important for village life.
In the last summer Marianna entered the space of FamiliaFeliz and asked herself how and by which she could participate in these special times. She started making our bread. She tried out many recipes with yeast and sourdough. She studied the extraction of natural yeast, she refined recipes and she also worked on the design of the loaves of bread.
In the history of art there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums.
Janet Flanner, Paris Was Yesterday, 1925-1939
The free initiative of Marianna is a good sample how it works in an open living community of individuals.
Nobody told Marianna to make bread. Nobody asked for quantity or quality. We see every bread that Marianna gives us as a gift. We are always happy that it just won’t stop and we have an inkling of what will come when it starts to smell in the house in the evening.
Again and again she surprises us with fine spices that she has incorporated, with new grain mixes and with new shapes. Again and again it gives the eye a feast and increases the anticipation. Bread becomes art. Art becomes food for the senses, the body and the soul.
With bread and wine you can walk your road.
Spanish quote, unonymous
After a while, friends of the CASAdelDRAGON also appreciate Marianna’s bread. She willingly trains others in manufacturing and passes on her knowledge. But we know. There is no right to be given gifts. So we can only be happy when it happens and be grateful.
This is a story of a retreat from social media, of an open day for a small community, of an eventful year, of art and culture and their role in the plandemic event. It is also the story with a happy never ending.
It’s not for everyone, it’s a story just for you. And maybe it is your own story as well.
After the successful raid through the public coffers, the erosion of public and private pension funds and the migration of liquidity to offshore markets and tax havens – beginning in the late 80s of the last century – Mr Global, like Catherine Austin Fitts named the placeholder for the so-called elite, expropriated the middle class in by-passing and developed the global network so far that he allows himself to consider humanism to be ready for storm.
Many years ago over 20 people with a deep interest in community life sat together in a small room in the German home unit of FamiliaFeliz. They shared their expectations and hopes for community life. They shared also their experiences. One guest summed it up wonderfully.
Most living communities are a small copy of large society with everything that drives people out of large society. Dogmas and promises of salvation are copied. Giving oneself better rules and submitting to them and not questioning them is the trap into which one is invited. The weak are illusioning a better world, in which they can keep the strong under control, through democratically agreed rules. The strong will use these rules to control the weak, but they will not adhere to these rules themselves.
The 333 year long farewell tour to the French Revolution is finally wrapped up in the decline of the last empire. Mr Global is planning for the next 333 years.
In 2011 and therefor already ten years ago the Spanish German artist Juan Petry published his artwork “UPLOADS” and wrote: Guarding the social networks as their new Tamagotchis the nerds start to transform into real cyborgs. More and more they feed this interbrain to take space in virtual spheres and evolve their socialisation. They feel complete only with permanent interaction, success by access. The interbrain is always hungry. It wants to upload all the time. Feed to live, live to feed, the boundaries are blurred. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and all their schizophrenic virtual brain locations are interacting themselves. I think therefore I am turns to I upload to be.
What the cold war was not able to do, what “le Waldsterben (as the French took over)” did not trigger, just as little as bird and swine flu, should now be conveyed to the common people as a threatening population explosion, then as a climate catastrophe and is now debuting in the pandemic, a fearful accident premiere of amateur actors. Socialism for the elite, capitalism for the masses, the war of poor against rich, the four horsemen of Mr Global are seeking relaxation and Zeitgeist in transhumanism.
At the same time the artist started a series of exhibitions with colleagues under the name “Amor en guerras civiles”. The Catalan artist Sonia Eva Domenech – one of the co-founders of Familiafeliz – worked out a whole cycle of large-format works, a few of which are currently being exhibited in the DeSouza Gallery in Spain.
(Human) love in civil war as a motor and manifestation of the will to survive, the feminine power of creativity in times of uncertainty and violence, Domenech had visualized this power.
History doesn’t repeat itself, stories do. Divide and conquer. The Empire strikes back. With a fresh view on the Pacific, Mr. Global draws and binds the attention. The evil Chinese follows the evil Russian. The narratives tumble senselessly into each other. The sheep, as always on the way to the slaughterhouse, argue about the admissibility of PCR tests, honestly earned doctorates, side effects of vaccinations and regret the loss of civil rights, especially those that they in fact never had.
There is no such thing as a recipe for social media. The phenomenon is too young, but just as the Internet emerged from a military application (ARPANET), the concentration of space for public debates in the hands of multinational, privately organized corporations is a creature of the military-industrial complex. Whenever the exploiter argues with freedom, it is opportune for the creative to use these contemporary painting materials and then to check, whether or not they are suitable for the humane design of a sustainable and liberating culture. Petry initiated the group “Work of Art” in one of these networks with around 300 new members per day for several years. According to the social media provider, however, the number never rises above 35,000 officially. In addition, it was made difficult for the admin artist to post in his own group and more and more censorship took place. The group’s credo – defined by the artist – was: This group is in itself a work of art. The task is to investigate to what extent virtual attention can and will be converted into real added value for each member of this group. With the realization that this must be avoided in any case due to the system, this experiment has lost its meaning.
And even if some sheep agree to trample the sheepdog, they are doing Mr. Global one – already calculated – favor not to have to share with his henchmen. If half the world today and the whole world tomorrow belongs to less than 100 citizens, 500 million servants worldwide are enough, the rest ends up as comodities that are at most suitable as spare parts (organ donors), sex slaves or cyborg components on the remaining ramp.
On the same information day in our community, two people with experiences from religious communities sat at the table. They reported to some extent from their sometimes very bad experiences with these communities. One guest summed it up very well in one question: Why do I keep seeing these beautiful pictures of people singing around the campfire, the children with flowers in their hair, of happy horses, dogs and cats bathing in the evening sun when I look up look at the websites of these communities, and why do I find the abysses of human societies in the everyday dealings of members when I actually visit them?
The desired trend of rural exodus and the concentration of the population in artificial megacities as a global “universe 25” brought the sheep closer to their natural destiny. So the shortage of mobility (end of free movement) in the unsuccessful premiere is more bad than right and the black sheep in particular prefer to trust the black forest. Anyone who does not leave her/his smartphone behind on the way to the second home will be tracked. Mr. Global suffers from the constant threat from the ordanairy people. He would like to get rid of this by passing on his fear to this people, enriched by the message of where the enemy lurks, conveyed by his henchmen, whom he exchanges in case of doubt.
At the time, the guest also asked: If one assumes that these people met with the best of intentions during the community formation phase and had dared to try it together, why does it keep going wrong?
Everything is possible, says Mr Global to the slave and persuades him that it is a sign of freedom to argue with the other slaves for resources and, above all, to organize and take responsibility for one’s ability to work. Slavery has always been a question of cost, and in the sense of constant optimization, liberation is not the end of apartheid. Mr Global lets his minions fly to Davos in their learjets. There, after a sumptuous meal, they announce that mankind must tighten its belt. This cannot go on with carbon dioxigen. CO2 rebreathing for climate protection. So the sheep in the slaughterhouse look at the shepherd’s dogs instead of their feet when they want to find out how they got there.
In 2015 the artist Petry was invited by the Luzia Sassen Gallery to show his work “Amazing Citizens in Civil Wars” to a larger audience in Brussels. The text of the exhibition said: After the attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris the world of journalism in Europe will change another time. We do not know what really happened in Paris. The internet is full of false flag theories and disinformation. I was IT consultant in the past and in my classes 25 years ago I explained: Internet will change the value of information in general. As every human we calculate the truth of a message in relation of the distance between sender and receiver. If we get more and more messages via internet, we have no cultural technique to measure this distance. Internet has no distance anymore. This means loss of control about the information. Also SPAM will limit this communication channel. This implies that we lose the value of information and the truth. This is another civil war, and in such a line of violence against amazing citizens I mark this milestone of disillusion with this work: Amazing Citizens in civil wars – true flag.
Even the henchmen ponder how to argue, science as evidence. Simply exchanging belief systems confuses the sheep. Loosely translated: Whose grass I eat the song I sing. In view of the concrete floor in the slaughterhouse, there is no mood to sing, which is also forbidden because of the erosols.
The visitor to our information day had formulated a good question. So we asked him, if he had looked at Familiafeliz as a community and the ideas behind it, what could go wrong with our attempt to establish a sustainably successful community. As if from one mouth, another visitor and he said: “Then a successful religion emerged from it.”
Are there alternatives? Yes. Market the wool yourself, withdraw the money from the bank account tomorrow (everyone and everything), stop working for others, share food with the neighbor on the left on even days and the one on the right on odd days, organize and structure locally, no longer pay attention to the shepherd’s dogs and avoid the main in the stream.
The photos in this article are not directly related to the content; in particular, the people depicted on them do not necessarily agree to the content published and marked in italics. But all photos were taken at the end of December 2020 in the places of our community and are therefor expressions of our everyday life. And they precisely describe the space for debate, which allows even such an extreme opinion, as an expression of freedom and tolerance.
Years ago the home unit of FamiliaFeliz in Spain hosted a beautiful mind from Bahrain. Fadeela intruduced us in many ways to the rich islamic history of Spain and translated the inscription on the wall of an old castle in Alcala de Xivert: “It is Allah who grants the victory.”
When Ms. Lokal says to Mr. Global: No sex for transhumans then it goes very quickly. It is always our own feet that have brought us to where we are now. And it is our insight not to form an image of the Lord because we don’t need it, not because we are not allowed to. Anyone looking for role models has already lost. And anyway, not all of them go to the black forest, the white sheep will be eaten there anyway, and the black sheep won’t make it vegan. Be fruitful and multiply. And avoid the white sheep (Juan Petry, 2021).
Open doors – a weekend in peace in the garden of Epicurus – meet like-minded people and exchange ideas with others about the chances of a decentralized community with a common economy. Take a close look and experience the realistic everyday life beyond roles and expectations, beyond security and hierarchy. On a long weekend we have a lot of time to watch and listen and we look forward to your visit… Please use this form… Registration is mandatory. We will contact you soon.
CASAdelDRAGON – Cervera del Maestre – Castellon – Spain
We can offer places for your tend, trailer, caravan, mobile van and we have limited places in the CASAdelDRAGON (please take your slepping bag!). We start Saturday at 3pm and we end Sunday at 11pm. You can arrive Friday and leave Monday.
The first impression in the human environment is dominated by the hearing, the second by the optics, then comes the smell and the touch, and the taste may be internalized as the most intimate in the truest sense. May this be the case offline, some senses are lost in social media. Very much we are focused on visual information.
The most frequently accessed page of our website is the front page. And the first impression is more of a visual one. Instead of choosing a picture as a substitute in the hope, that it would convey all the emotion and truth about the real situation of our community, we decided on a picture montage that we update at irregular intervals and thus also lay an optical thread through the events.
The picture that has accompanied us through the last few years becomes history and takes with it all the stories behind it. Here the place is to pause for a moment and remember some stories and their protagonists.
Two young Spanish woman are planting trees in the color garden. In the third session again we planted more than 100 fruit trees in various locations. In a monoculture environment (olive, carob, almond) only a few fruit trees are planted, mostly as a food supplement for family and friends. Our strategy of planting as many trees as possible as early as possible is provoking misunderstanding from some neighbors. One farmer summed it up: You are already that old. Why are you still planting so many young trees? The answer was easy for us: For the children of your children. As non-professionals in agriculture, we were initially surprised at how fragmented knowledge was distributed among the local population. But nobody dared to do anything new, nobody questioned anything. FamiliaFeliz’s planting campaigns are an expression of the joy of exploring which varieties and varieties are opening up new alternatives for local production. The crisis in 2020-2022 made clear the need to look locally for solutions for food production. No matter how small our contribution will be over the next 100 years, there will be a garden in Cervera del Maestre where people can collect fruit when they can no longer look after it.
Abejas de amor is a bee project and reflects the situation of these insects, the market and the health situation of insect and customer. The pandemic effect had amplified all the unsustainability in global economy, but this sector was already suffering before. The problem with the bees is the beekeeper, not the pesticide. This sentence is certainly a provocation. It is surprising that in Spain Glyphosate is used for weed control – what a word – at the roadsides. In the rural area around Cervera del Maestre, large industrial agriculture has never paid off thanks to small terraces and so the use of plant toxins is not so widespread. But near the sea in the huge flat orange groves, airplanes are still sometimes used today. Most beekeepers have moved further and further inland with their colonies. The tough competition turns the full beehive into a commodity for dealers, and many colonies are stolen. A friend lost 25 colonies at one location in one night (value among dealers 150 – 200 euros, with 60 kg of honey and 30,000 bees in the box). This criminal energy also always needs an addressee, and that has to be a beekeeper who does not want to know exactly where these colonies come from, that are being offered to him. But this is not the place to judge beekeepers, especially small and part-time businesses fight with love and passion for a better world for the bees. But as everywhere where the economy finds its way, it displaces knowledge, reason and sustainability. The Abejas de amor project is about offering bees a habitat without having to exploit them economically. The aim is to gain varroa (varroa destructor) populations and to promote renaturation of the bees. That can only be done far from the market and money. The color garden is one of many locations in the area to host bee hives and to focus on solutions to go with the nature more than against it.
One old and wise farmer put it in simple terms. Philippe once said: Carob, that was the oil of the Middle Ages. The Maestrazgo has always been very rich in this type of tree and it is a real pleasure to be able to spend your siesta under a carob tree in the hot afternoon. Its crown offers protection from the sun, its fruit tastes good to people and animals, and its wood is warm in winter. And its germs pacify even the diamond dealers. FamiliaFeliz has started to collect the carob and give it to the local cooperative. The attempt to alleviate the feed shortage in northern Europe and to send the carob was unsuccessful. There were none interested. A few kilograms are enough for our own use, in 2018/2019 we collected the first 2 tons, in 2019/2020 we are just over the first ton. We can only achieve this thanks to the tireless helpers, the money goes to our social youth and educational projects.
The color garden with its more than 4 hectares and numerous terraces offers very different goals for learning, staying and working. There are signposts so that you don’t always answer the same questions. The project started in 2018. In the following time new signs were added again and again. The infrastructure is growing. A signpost is also a symbol of orientation. Just as in the small that is shown the way, it also gives orientation in life. And that is one of the most important tasks of this garden, providing orientation in life, not as a requirement, but as an offer.
In 2017 and 2018 there was a time with children and young adults in the CASAdelDRAGON. Community was easy to experience. Some projects where realized. People have moved on, some have started the way back to the life they came from and that they actually wanted to leave. Others have settled in Cervera themselves, founded their own Familiafeliz and connected with the country and its people. So the village has grown, the large relaxed community of Cervera del Maestre and now and then the children still find their way into the garden of colors, to paint, to play and for one or the other piece of pizza.
The development of the Art Camp as part of the color garden took up a lot of space. The infrastructure of toilets, showers, cooking and catering areas made it possible to welcome 56 young people and adults as guests. After that, the place was often used for meetings and workshops. And shortly after commissioning, art also discovered and conquered the new areas and rooms. This gives the area of the garden its character. As you can see from the new cover photo, this will also be a long process that will keep generating new ideas and solutions.
Imagine you return to Europe, to the places of your ancestors. You get a bike for free and earn the money for the trip. You are driving from northern Europe to the south of Portugal. You are on a journey, to your roots, and to yourself. A place like FamiliaFeliz is just one stop. You leave a lasting impression, there is room in the heart. Letting go as a sign of Love. From the perspective of some visitors, the CASAdelDRAGON is a place of constant change, and fatigue and insecurity often spread as a result. For others it is a great gift to get to know so many such important people, it is also called LIFE.
Hidden between many arrows, the reference to the “bar of all reason” appears. This is a typical German-language play on words and describes a bar on the one hand and a place beyond all common sense on the other. The bar itself is still fiction, but the prospect of its opening in 2021 is not small. What began with Julien’s mushroom cultivation as an Erasmus funded school project will take shape. The Art Camp also needs a hospitable place to stay. With the “bar of all reason” we are addressing a typical Spanish phenomenon. A large part of the social takes place in public spaces, as long as it does not concern family or closest friends. The bar is an integral part of social life. But it is always tied to being liquid and being able to afford the coffee. The decline of the economy was already before Corona, and will certainly be accompanied by a loss of purchasing power for the common population for many years afterwards. This means that these social places can no longer be reached. The aim of this social sculpture is to create a new space of opposition that is not driven by the money economy. Rather, the guest is invited to bring something to eat, on condition that it is shared with those who are also there. The bar of reason provides a space in which guest and host are united.
You can build walls or build bridges. The results are different. This bridge was built by students from Halle and crosses the acequia, a medieval sewer that runs through the color garden. It was built by 3 women who have used hammer and nail for the first time in their lives, all of them older than 22 years. The intense experience of nature has also built a bridge in their hearts. The more theoretical training in biology got the desire for the physical experience to the side. Anyone who crosses the acequia is grateful for this bridge. And he will have access to the sculpture garden, where the first works are under construction.
In the midst of the pandemic in 2020-2022, some where wondering what the government’s exit strategy might look like and realized to their surprise that there might never be one. The signposts in the color garden also show the way back. And at one point, back is just another direction.
The CASAdelDRAGON is very often in the foreground when we report on our community. But in addition to our homeunit in Cervera, we have a second home, in Windeck near Cologne in Germany. This place is more in the background but no less important or significant. And there, too, the art and creativity are visible in many places. The tile fragments connect these places, like the people who worked on them. And these also convey stories of events and people who have accompanied us.
This is the second article about our cover images. The first you will find here. If you want to be part of these movement and these histories in times of reconstruction, think about a visit and apply for joining one of our next activities.
In the middle of the hardest lock down measures in Spain our living community was invited to participate in an international project initiated by Global Ecovillage Network (GEN). Out of hundreds proposals and based on similar characteristics on our reality as a living community we where selected and linked to a project based in Nicaragua.
This is the story about a man who had never seen India and a story about a militant theologian and revolutionary and a story about two expats and their vision of community and a story about informal education, neoliberal hubris and the second sentence of thermodynamics.
It is also a story about the ability to relate, to bind, to be humble and to love.
Nicaragua is the land of a thousand volcanoes, a very fertile area between Honduras and Costa Rica, hard hit by Spanish and British colonialism, shaken by wars up to modern times and deeply divided in its camps: large landowners versus rural population, village versus city, poor versus rich. Like a sleeping magma chamber, Nicaragua is waiting for the outbreak of the next civil war in order to get rid of the tension of unresolved land ownership claims and yet only to pile up new suffering in its own history. There is a rural exodus, but at the same time there is also a great opportunity in this crisis. After the colonial rulers and the capital oligarchs came free thinkers, hippies and dropouts. But, as in modern Spain, there were also committed young people from the north who wanted to create a different, new reality for their families, children and themselves. Some came with weapons, others with ideas, some were interested in efficient harvesting, others in learning and sharing knowledge.
In a first video panel we exchanged some personal information and we dived into a brief conversation of what could be a real sustainable exchange between our two communities. We decided to explore the chance to route some knowledge about old Latin American native technologies back to its source, Terra Preta in combination with our infrastructure project in the art camp, which is part of the color garden in Cervera del Maestre.
To enjoy more lets step back a bit and have a look how the universe had put together this story inside of the story inside of the story.
In July 1502, on his fourth voyage, Christopher Columbus became the first European to set foot on the soil in this area. More interested in the sea route to India, he did not subdue the indigenous people. Gil Gonzalez caught up with that twenty years later and many indigenous people ended up as slaves in the mines of Peru.
The immeasurable accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few was initiated by the hunger for gold in the ancient world. Enslavement as a means of efficient exploitation of natural resources required the intellectual idea of races and their differences, followed by their evaluation. What the mounted Europeans began, the ore, oil and finance barons completed in modern times. They left behind a severely decimated indigenous population and drove the impoverished farm workers to the metropolises to find cheap jobs in their factories and to service themselves. Of course there have been riots to counter this blatant injustice, but as always, counter-violence is only a link in a chain of violence. After the large landowners were driven to the beaches of Miami, the land was given to the rural population without formal legal protection in land register titles. In the following counter-revolution, thanks to the corrupt judiciary, many won back their lands and the question of land ownership still hangs over the people like a sword of Damocles.
When the Portuguese under a Spanish flag set foot on the bottom of Nicaragua on the Rio San Juan, the geography appeared to be a hindrance when looking for the sea route to India. The Spanish crown recognized the potential of cheap labor all the more. The monk Bartolomé de Las Casas estimated the total population in 1552 to be less than 5,000, the rest of them had been expelled or murdered in barely 50 years in the slavery abroad. Imperial America also enjoyed the instability on its own doorstep and intervened as early as 1927. As so often, they installed Varsallen, in this case Anastasio Somoza. He invited his enemies to the last supper (1934-02-21) and put himself to power in 1937 against his uncle, whom he himself installed as president. The Somoza clan was to dominate the country for 42 years and even take advantage of natural disasters to enrich themselves. Even a murderous poet could not avert this. Cotton, gold and silver mines, felling of precious wood.
As strong as the pendulum swung to the right, it also picked up speed on the way to the left. The Sandinista under Ortega tried it with education, elevated Ernesto Cardenal to the position of minister of education and also used women’s rights as a unifying force. But they too were subject to the hubris of knowing better than their own people. What began with a forced relocation of 8,500 Miskito Indians ended with another exodus abroad. While the rich indulged in the villas on the beach in Miami, the poor decided to flee to neighboring Honduras or hired themselves out as illegals in the meat factories and plantations of the southern states of America.
Thomas Müntzer, qui pro veritate militat in mundo
A monk acknowledges his last sold in Zwickau
History has not only divided the population in their earthly values. The argument about true faith broke out in heaven too. So Nicaragua repeated what happened 500 years earlier in the county of Stolberg (Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation). While Columbus was looking up the Rio de San Juan, the theologian and reformer in Luther fan Müntzer stood in his print shop and sank about the syntax in high pressure to spread and implement his ideas, the dissolution of monasteries, space for the homeless, the dissolution of privileges for the nobility. From the pulpit of the Marienkirche, a church in Mühlhausen he led the peasants to the gates of Frankenhausen (old german cities), where they had their lives, he lost his and his head, first tortured and then beheaded in May 1525. Before that, after studying for a long time, he had received his ordination, probably also because he was teaching as an assistant teacher in Halle an der Saale.
The Catholic Church had also lost ground in Nicaragua, with only 47% now professing this belief. Many free church initiatives share the task of getting their message across the majority. Again and again intellectuals got involved in politics and tried out their visions of a different Nicaragua, displaced by violence and arguments, in social projects. The Casas de los tres mundos, a book bus with literature by Berthold Brecht and the Musica en los Barrios are just examples.
The Global Ecovillage Network has now brought the community Nuestra finca sagrada from Nicaragua together with ours in Europe. Both are initiated by expats. Both are small, are preparing for new communards, relying on education and sharing, on closeness to nature and sustainable development, insofar as people can have a lasting effect at all. Both prefer to recycle rather than buy, both want to combine country life with nature experience. Both share a desire for delicious, valuable and healthy food.
In the original Latin American communities, it was customary to pay tribute to the host after being invited to a meal together. With respect for the food served, one visited the host’s toilet after the meal to leave something valuable. The manure was covered with earth and pieces of coal and kept in clay pots in the absence of air for several months and then applied as black earth to the fields as fertilizer. The compost of the Incas still works today. The anaerobic bacteria find a safe habitat in the coal and in their fermentation process they digest and upcycle them over many years. What the indigenous people anchored in their culture was lost in Western societies. FamiliaFeliz has brought this knowledge back and has gained initial experience in the construction and operation of dry toilets in recent years.
Ironically, a high school from Halle, named after the theologian and revolutionary Müntzer, provided the opportunity to build two more toilets. As part of a new infrastructure for visitor groups of up to 60 people, in addition to showers, washing facilities and cooking areas, toilet houses were also built from old pallet timber.
Four concrete blocks and a wooden pallet form the basis. A wooden box was screwed onto it and a concrete slab in the front part (entrance) to weigh down the construction (wind, storm). The concrete blocks promote rapid drying of the cheap wood and prevent termite infestation. The walls and roof are also made of pallet wood and a roof with tar paper protects the interior a little from rain.
A toilet seat is screwed onto the wooden box. Next to it there is an opening to make the earth coal mix accessible to cover. Feces, earth and coal are collected in hermetically sealed metal buckets, as is the paper. A urine trap allows the liquid to be drained into a tank, which is also fed by shower water and wash basin. This urine-water mixture is used to irrigate the terraces further down.
After we presented the infrastructure to the students, they decided to divide the toilets according to gender. You use the toilets several times a day for a period of 9 days. They could organize the handling of the buckets themselves and also procured more earth and coal (the latter was also used for cooking at the nearby barbecue area). 55 students and 6 teachers used less than 1000 liters of water for the shower and wash basin and left behind about 1500 liters of urine-containing wastewater, suitable for watering the nearby trees thanks to natural cleaning agents. In addition, the group left about 100 kg of the mixture of feces, soil and coal. The closed metal buckets are still waiting to be used in the color garden in places with ornamental vegetation or in the dye garden. Since we have to suspect drug residues in the leftovers and want to make sure for future visitor groups that they eat uncontaminated vegetables from our garden, we decided to separate them. We are thus also compliant with the health regulations of society. And yet we give back what we have borrowed from the local nature with respect.
The students were very attentive, very social, very committed. After two years, we even received a request from two of them whether they could do their social year in the projects of our community. Both must have been impressed by the life in nature and with nature. The initial reason to create a minimal infrastructure for the first group of visitors was important. This visit mobilized the strength in our community to create this opportunity, without money, without funding, without other public help.
In the period that followed, it was precisely this infrastructure that offered visitors the option of pitching their tents on the Art Campus for a while. With Nora Valdez, a Latin American artist came to exactly this place and, in addition to an impressive group of figures, also painted the toilets in the tradition of the colorful, naïve, often socially critical and ambitious murals of Nicaragua.
The black and red human torsos formed the basis for the action artist and painter Rolf Habel to work out the colors and souls of the people.
Now these toilets are connected with a distant place in Latin America, with its history and its indigenous knowledge of food production and the treasures of nature, but also with a farmer leader who as a teacher risked his head and shoulders for his convictions and with new generations who oppose it decide the mainstream and set out to revive the abandoned land and create new space for free thinking and action, for informal education and the dialogue between north and south, young and old, city and country.
A big thanks we want to announce for Arta Garanča for her exquisit drawings!
The Art Camp in the Garden of Colors (val.: jardi de colors / laboratori d’artistes), as Esther, a friend of our community, called our dye garden, is now setting out to process and pass on the knowledge about these Terra Preta toilets to a new community project in Nicaragua. And this article is the beginning.
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