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.
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.
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.