Alternative living communities are currently receiving many inquiries from people who have voluntarily or involuntarily broken away from old relationships in their local sociaties. They are looking for inspiration and functional approaches to organize human coexistence in a new, different and more social way. As a community, we started Sunday Conversations and gather people online who want to join communities, who intend to start communities, and people who have had community experience and those who are currently in living in community. The focus is international, an important aspect is the necessary cooperation among the communities.
History is made by the victor, and so is science. This is the story of those who set out to create knowledge and those who want to believe in it. It is the story of the Big Bang, of dark matter, of alternative explanatory models and the arrogance of the respective elites to simulate the world as they would like to see it. It’s the story of us.
It’s also the story of a spice rack in a dragon house kitchen. And it is the story of cooking and eating as it is a story of thinking and acting. Insight liberates, especially from belief in knowledge.
In the fall of 1609, Galileo made the mistake of pointing his newly developed telescope at the sky. He had always been a critic of Aristotle and what he saw made him doubt again. The observation of nature could not be brought into harmony with the worldview of that time, the earth at the center of the then known universe was untenable.
Around 1929 Hubble published his first scientific paper on the relation of redshift and distance between galaxies. For his famous diagram, he chose the speed as the scale on the Y-axis. Einstein stopped his work on the cosmological constant. He called his assumption that the universe is static his “biggest mistake”.
In 1924, Louis de Broglie presented his research thesis, in which he proposed electrons have properties of both waves and particles. As a consequence he rearranged the terms of the Plank-Einstein relation to apply to all types of matter.
More than 20 years later David Bohm renewed the evidence for de Broglies thesis, known as DBB theory.
We consider this to be youthful deviationism. If we can’t refute Bohm we have to agree to ignore him.
What do Galileo, Hubble, de Broglie and Bohm have in common and what can we learn from them in times of pandemic?
What most people will experience in 2021 has been prepared well in advance. Gaining sovereignty over the definition of a pandemic, along with the privatization of public tasks in the health care system, paved the way for the new power elite to enter the GREAT RESET. What is meant is less the smoke candle from Davos than the adjustment of global flows of money and goods to the new conditions. And these new conditions result from the dictates of the power elites and their simulations. This is intended to give the phrase “We have good reason to believe that …” is given sufficient evidence. Maintaining and expanding the power structure was and remains the priority of the elite. The call to science as a neutral and thus objective witness turns into a comedy. Whoever orders the desired result in research with a subsidy gets what he orders. So it is helpful that capitalist research produces easily manipulable protagonists who tie their reputation to theses once they have been implemented.
Galileo has been placed under house arrest for the rest of his life, a tried and tested solution to keep the public track free for the elites to enable them to achieve their goals. Hubble was not able to get used to his own thesis of interpreting the redshift as an expression of the escape speed of galaxies. The reputation struggling Einstein gave up his static view of the universe very quickly to stay inside the mainstream. Oppenheimer’s statement about Bohm exposes the institution of science as a circus maximus, in which bread and games are distributed like budgets and honors. And thumbs up when the ruling elite thinks so.
Anyone who sits in the audience and believes that everything is going well here is more than naive, he is safe in the mainstream and is supervised in thinking.
In all cases, turning to nature observation leads to frictions with the narrative. This narrative is not designed to explain the world, but to maintain or establish the order desired by the elites. Friction becomes a danger, censorship the means of choice and distance from the factual is to be measured in cosmological units of distance. Scientists worried about their reputation become – in their bigotry – complicit, and all means are right: whose bread I eat, whose song I sing. Simulations are invented and adjusted until they bring the result of what was ordered. My ancestors believed what came from the pulpit, my grandfathers what was written in the newspaper, my father what was seen on TV, and my brothers what was published in Wikipedia and what Google showed as a search result and in general what the AI now outputs as a result.
The fictitious narrative is stabilized by adding more and more theses. In the end, you need quasars, dark matter and constants of nature, all of which only conceal what friction remains in the face of nature, which you can observe, but which you don’t have to and shouldn’t if you want to stay in the mainstream. I don’t know whether hydrogen is baked into helium in a thermodynamic process inside the sun and released protons find their way into my observing eye or whether our sun works off the potential differences of the environment in a long glow like an Elms fire. But I remember that simple descriptions gain an advantage as long as they cannot be refuted, but only if they correlate with the established mainstream. Scientific progress can be measured well in the unit GENERATION. Whenever a generation of researchers dies out, there is always room for new ideas. Bad luck is for those who do not survive their PhD supervisor long enough. Wise is the one who looks for the oldest possible doctoral supervisor.
Biological weapons are conceived, developed and used. Propaganda is a cost-effective, efficient and continually used means of the elite. Anyone who now makes a connection between these two statements is considered a conspiracy theorist. He should be placed under house arrest, no bread and no games.
What is the basis of this human tragedy that continues to lead us astray?
Humans have always tried to save energy. This was well advised in the savannah. The tiger was close, everybody had to run faster when it mattered, not faster than the tiger, but faster than the neighbor.
Thinking costs energy. The externalization of thought is the means of choice. What has already been researched does not have to be researched again, what has already been proven does not have to be proven again. Scientific reputation certifies the implementation of the thesis, not its development and above all not its repeated verification. In this way, all science becomes a belief system, and those who contradict risk a war of faith. The crusade can easily become the wrong way. And an event is required that questions everything and allows you to start all over again.
A master who demands the adoption of his own theses educates disciples, but not new masters.
Religion and science are two sides of the same coin. This coin is not the bread. But that is exactly what is confused in the game.
The science that emerged under the Moors and their turn to nature observation was a declaration of war for the rulers and questioned the divine order, the derivation of which was the secular, as the lords liked. The church could not stand idly by the degradation of the earth (as a place created by God) to a satellite of the sun. Whoever so fundamentally questions what has been considered true for centuries must be a heretic before the Lord. The naive look through the telescope underestimates the impact of the publication of the observation. In the age of the bomb it had to be the atom, and that’s how I learned that it is the atom that releases the sun’s energy. The alternate truth wasn’t in the textbooks. Teachers who preach the truth don’t need a book of lies.
So I would have wished for a master in school who would motivate me to replace yesterday’s lie with tomorrow’s better lie, knowing that it would be a lie again.
Winners write history. Unfortunately, this always applies. Whoever goes into battle creates collateral damage, and that always creates suffering. Whoever sees in his victory the confirmation of the correctness of his thesis falls victim to hubris. So there must be reasons for the correctness of one’s own actions. The sacrifice is to be made, usually by the loser. And there is no alternative and regret is to be limited.
38 years ago we put a camping gas stove on an old wooden trestle to cook 10 kg of potatoes for the first helpers. A bucket of water next to it, a box of spices, that was the first kitchen in the CASAdelDRAGON.
After that we built many kitchens, some in connection with the casa and its visitors. The kitchen, as the central meeting place in the house, becomes a stage for planning, preparing and eating and for dialogue, embedded in the peace of the common meal.
There are many places with tile mosaics in the house of the dragon. In the large kitchen, the celtic knot dominates over the stove. Now, after 38 years, a shelf for spices has been added on its left side.
The big and small stories of the CASA and its residents are hidden in it. Old tiles from France are used and are reminiscent of friendships that have lasted for two generations. A scallop resembles the path that also leads through this village in eastern Spain and a New Year’s Eve meal in the Pyrinees many years ago.
Even the choice of spices is the history of the chefs through all ages and thus part of the history of this house.
Elita, Sing-Yang, Fadeela, Mariella, Bärbel and Martin, Etienne and many others have left their mark on history.
What can you learn from this kitchen? What can be a healthy connection between what is happening on the stove and in the world? You are what you eat!
The many visitors brought their recipes and preferences with them, they left us memories and tastes.
But we have to cook for ourselves, again and again, and think anew, think for ourselves. If we externalize the food we end up with fast food, if we externalize the thinking we end up in the black hole of knowledge, waiting for the next Big Bang.
Now is the time to show solidarity. Now is the time to realistically assess your own resources and conditions. Now is the time to build strong bonds between intentional communities and their members. This European dialogue – as a simple sample of backstage activities – is an indication of the challenges and opportunities in working together over a distance.
And it also has special symbolic power thanks to protagonists from three continents. Global, regional and local conditions form the basis of the very personal decisions people make to migrate and to bind themselves to new places. Those who do not lose contact with their tribe, wherever their paths lead, have a clear advantage.
In a magical place magical things happen. The garden of colors, the campus for informal education of FamiliaFeliz, is a place to enjoy. Again and again this space releases the creative potential of the visitors and transforms them into the actors, the protagonists, the designers, the facilitaters of happiness. The garden becomes a stage, a canvas, a building site, an exhibition space and a memory of an idea: in the garden of Epicurus, all people are equal. Unintentionally they give themselves joy in looking at, using and building. They often pick up the thread that others have laid before them, they continue to spin it for the next to come. They meet in their deeds, across time and space. And they take something with them in their hearts, to have experienced themselves in an all-encompassing WE.
This is a story of youth from Romania. This is a story of a social entrepreneur in the house of the dragon. This is the story of a beautiful and brave village in Castellon. This is the story of a founder of a summer school in the little village Ciocănești close to Bucharest. And this is a story of success.
FamiliaFeliz was visited in 2016 from Sorina. She decided to make a travel through different communities in Europe for her master thesis in social entrepreneurship in Copenhagen. She visited with a collegue CASAdelDRAGON to study the special arrangements of our decentralized living community. At the end of her visit she was very well connected to our ideas and principles and she said: “It would be a dream for my kids from the summerschool in Romania, if they could come to this place. Its magic, the village, the people, the kindness, the peace, and the opportunities for youth in the artist color garden of CASAdelDRAGON.”
Our answer was short: “Lets make it happen…!”
Less than 10 month later Serban, the president of a little NGO in Ciocănești (a village close to Bucharest) was sitting on the terrasse in the house of the dragon and said: “I can not belive, its true.”
Sorina took the risk to pay out of her private budget the flights for a group of youth, FamiliaFeliz organised travels inside of Spain and accomodation and food.
For nearly all of the youth it was the first time out of their country, it was the first flight, the first bath in the mediterranean sea, the first trip without parents, the first immersion in a new language, a different culture and a life in an open house with lots of art and music.
The irrepressible will to take in as much as possible, to enjoy as much as possible and to share the joy with everyone in the village was evident every minute.
The youth prepared an activity for the local school, a social art project in the color garden of CASAdelDRAGON.
Sorina co-organised before and after many youth activities in Romania and Juan form FamiliaFeliz joined the team in Bucharest to realise some workshops for trainers, teachers and the management (game of life) of the summer school, also workshops (trencadis, catering) for youth of the region in the following years.
Sorina finshed her studies and started an NGO in Copenhagen, called HORA, related to a traditional Romanian folk dance in which the dancers hold each other’s hands and the circle usually rotates counterclockwise as each participant follows a sequence of three steps forward and one step back. The greek routs of the word are related to circle, singing an celebrating.
Four years later Sorina knocked on the door of CASAdelDRAGON again, and explored in a video panel the possibilities to invite, FamiliaFeliz, the village of Cervera del Maestre and the youth of the region, to participate in international youth projects in the future.
FamiliaFeliz as an open think tank for new social art movements and CASAdelDRAGON as a cultural spot in the region of El Maestrat in Castellon confirmed support to the new NGO in Copenhagen, founded by Sorina on Christmas 2020.
As menioned before, this is a story of youth from Romania. This is a story of a social entrepreneur in the house of the dragon. This is the story of a beautiful and brave village in Castellon. This is the story of a founder of a summer school in the little village Ciocănești close to Bucharest. And the best… the story is true.
In early 2021 FamiliaFeliz received a message from Eric, a belgium father of a daugther, interested in community life. He explained that the original project was to set up a ecovillage project in eastern Spain. Surprisingly he was working on this project in the neighbour village since 3 years and we never met.
In his request he pointed out, that there was a second family from the netherlands and they also like the idea to put roots in the soul of “El Maestrazgo”, the region around us.
We confirmed a chat all together and you can listen the audio record. We added some photos of spring 2020 to underline the reality of a living community in these times. All photos are taken between march and june 2020 in Cervera del Maestre in the CASAdelDRAGON and the color garden.
Based on government restrictions for many people social media becomes more and more important. To flaten the curve of requests we decided to offer more video- and audio-content online for people interested in our community life.
Actually people are moving from cities to the countryside, from flats with balkonies to garden areas with tiny houses and from industrial areas to rural remote places. A lot of people ar working now in home office and even digital workers don’t see a return to the office in a short time.
We hope these podcast might help to navigate a little bit on the way to approach FamiliaFeliz.
This is a story within a story within the story. If you have already developed your own opinion about human intervention , please read no further. Cancel culture shows the way.
Human life evolved from biomass, the mass that it shares with all other living things. The distinction between inanimate nature and animate nature is already a simplification in terms of perception. Since we can neither think structurally / parallel nor exponentially, our own thinking costs us a lot of energy (in a state of rest our brain uses around 40% of the total energy used for our body) and we are not willing to overwork our body regularly, we work essentially in the unconscious autopilot mode. The lowest possible energetic expenditure for maximum yield was and remains the challenge that nature faces again and again.
The extension of our extremities (ax, bow and arrow) is subject to the same premise. The energy expenditure for the production of the tool, but also for its care and provision (logistics), must overall be less than the energy yield that we achieve by hunting the buffalo in the savannah. Obviously that worked quite well for over 300,000 years. But as so often, euphoria and the feeling of superiority are in the foreground, especially with those who can bring home a greater success than their competitor when used skillfully. It is also underestimated that fast running, a good eye, the ability to work in a team, safe orientation and good reflexes lead to success using the arrow tool. Since there have always been people who were better at arrow production than at hunting, this not only favored a division of labor, but also paved the way for marketing. Those who could make better arrows also got more of the meat. The number of arrows became an expression of the social position, the hierarchy of the hunting party (driving or shooting) was always based on the use of the tool. This ranking could only be overlaid by those who had the opportunity to tell the hunter when and where the animal was to be found. In order to maintain his position as clan leader vis-à-vis the young, fast and skillful hunters, it was necessary to put them in their place and sometimes to send them astray, with the sure intention of then ascribing the failure of their hunting luck to the hunter himself. What began with the arrow leads to what we call politics today: divide and rule.
The consequences of this tool arrow could not be foreseen: longer life expectancy of the clan members, lower child mortality, greater need for food, greater space requirement (and the associated higher risk of meeting other humanoids, with a dubious outcome: more deaths, more children), no more existence threatening leisure time (training cultures), much can also be attributed to the arrow.
Even if this list seems positive up to now, other consequences can easily be found: fundamental change in diet (more meat), loss of knowledge (for the utilization of flora), greater dependence on regulatory systems of natural cycles (the higher the food in the food chain is tapped, the less certain is its availability). So there may have been some discussions around the campfire in which the vegan neighbor reminded of the good old days, when you had to move your tents much less often and the peacefulness in the clan was greater, not least because most of the people were busy in spending most of their time with them collecting and preparing plants for dinner. Probably the neighbor already had a difficult time against those who lived from the production of arrows, who wanted to make a career in the hunting society or who had already made it. And politics, too, which, with the intention of maintaining power, did not want to forego the hierarchy as the economic implementation of their will, had found that the rest of the clan could be encouraged to make sacrifices for the good Lord of hunting luck to vote. Even then, everyone agreed: technology is progress, and progress is good. So it was okay that some arrows found their way into the meat of the brother, the neighbor – especially the vegan one. There are a lot more newcomers than before to fill the gaps.
But that’s not all: if you see humans as moving biomass in their habitat, you will have further consequences. The digestion, largely left to bacteria and fungi, first had to adjust to the new offer. New diseases appeared, the immune system was challenged and so was the medicine man in the clan, who then usually took up the plant, if he still knew about its effect. The social burden on the clan due to the wounded and those, who lived longer and longer was a price to be paid.
If you have already developed your own opinion about human intervention , please read no further. Cancel culture shows the way.
The arrow of the past as a tool and manifestation of technology has become today’s computer science. The extension of the hunter’s arm by almost 50 meters was rewarded with meat, known to be a piece of vitality (old slogan in the advertising of the meat industry in Germany: Fleisch ist ein Stück Lebenskraft!). Today the confident handling of the bits and bytes is rewarded. The meat somehow fell by the wayside, but you can still enjoy FIAT currency, since you can still buy highly subsidized meat with it.
It was 55 years ago that Lotfi Zadeh developed the fuzzi logic set theory. It was more than 30 years ago that researchers recognized the connection between population, settlement area and the quality of this area in terms of sustainable settlement. Both sources of these scientific considerations offer many opportunities to understand the effects and interactions in dynamic systems.
The populist of that time narrowed the discussion to the statement: no arrow equals no meat. He described the use of the technology with its collateral damage as no alternative. Anyone who still talked about a purely vegan diet was left behind in the best case, but possibly also a threat to the survival of the clan, maybe also a conspirator in their own ranks, not belonging to their own clan and sent to weaken the clan. The evidence-based statement is obvious: the hunter goes with the arrow and he comes with the meat. The progress denier becomes a useless blackhead. He should not be entitled to the hunted booty.
Attention should be directed to the development of larger and sharper arrows, the conquest of land is unavoidable and thus also the military conflict with neighboring clans, whereby one should first concentrate on those with the smaller arrows. The trade in agate / jasper (the arrowheads in the Stone Age) is to be promoted in order to produce more arrows and the carrying of arrows is only permitted in locked quivers within the village in order to be able to better guarantee general safety. In order to enforce these measures, selected hunters, who can generally be recognized by their openly carried arrows, are to be released from the hunt (eligible to claim a tribute).
If today the simulation of reality using limited available and arbitrarily selected raw data from the same is called science, and virologists insist on the evidence of the prognoses calculated from it, then the world is on the wire (as R. W. Fassbender showed us), then the prognosis becomes the truth that cannot be questioned, and if they do not match, the fault must be looked for in the real world outside the simulation. A few years ago a hurricane laid down large parts of the German black forest. Those responsible did everything in their power to research how to reanimate the affected forest areas as quickly as possible. Different strategies (clearing, new plants, use of fertilizer, fast-growing varieties) were put into the race side by side. After all, areas were also shown without human intervention, as a reference and yardstick for the expected success of human intervention. The result was sobering. After ten years, the forest had recovered most precisely where humans had left it alone.
That was of course not in the interests of the manufacturers of heavy forest machines, not in the interests of the tree nurseries and also not in the interests of politics, which assumes its success in the degree of its intervention and als a minor class of society can only benefit from it by diverting energy and taxing it. Anyone who clears too much damaged wood from the forest and explains that there is a risk of fire will also drive the bark beetle into the fresh wood. The next danger was presented to the populist: the dying of forests: The Waldsterben.
In Central Europe, one person can work on 15,000 square meters in such a way that they can pass this land on to the next generation in the same or better condition. That has something to do with the amount of sunlight, per square meter. In Spain an average of 3.5 people live in this area, in the capital Madrid 79.5. But it is not the case that human progress could change this relationship between human / surface / soil quality. He can only use this technique to extract the energy from one surface in order to supply it to the other, which is heavily populated. The energetic costs of logistics will also be reflected in the negative balance. The arrow from the buffalo is automatically directed at the neighbor in order to distribute the hunting area, and this effort also costs energy that needs to be imported in order to be available on one’s own land.
If you have already developed your own opinion about human intervention , please read no further. Cancel culture shows the way.
Anyone who regards the symphony orchestra as a cultural achievement of a society should not deny the price (redirection of resources to the detriment of the neighbors). There are only symphony orchestras on this planet where there is agricultural overproduction. Where around 5000 children die of hunger and thirst every day, no music plays. It may help in the short term if the neighbor is far away, the chief speaks of meat deniers and the hunter of grass-eaters. But if the neighbor then wants to get closer to the meat pot, it was good to have invested in longer arrows early on.
Hoimar von Ditfurth once put prospective development worker students in front of a computer simulation in a science program. With a fixed budget, they were able to invest in consulting, wells, tractors and hospital wards. The computer simulated the coming year. And it looked better year after year. More children, less child mortality, more housing, population growth. After 20 years the budget was exhausted and the population was released into its fate. It looked good, better than ever. What the budding development worker students did not knew was, that the simulation would continue to calculate for the next 20 years, now with no extra external budget. No spare parts for the old agricultural machinery, no money for the infirmary, wells that are drying up, fields that are too salty. After 40 years, fewer people were living in the same area than before the student’s intervention.
There was a hidden role in the simulation, based on sunlight and square meter.
So if students are not supposed to intervene in the fate of nature with their half-knowledge, then scientists, who are concerned with the study of reality should not be used to set the pace for political decisions. When these scientists withdraw from a confusing real world into the simulation of a subset of the same, and thus declare simulated evidence to be the yardstick for politically correct action, then premise becomes fact, assumption becomes truth and evidence becomes belief. Whoever questions this, has to be seen as sneaky.
If you have already developed your own opinion about human intervention , please read no further. Cancel culture shows the way.
Surprisingly, you’re still reading on here! You may wonder what this story is doing on the website of an alternative living community. What do arrows, bark beetles, computer simulations and intestinal bacteria have to do with contemporary lifestyles? It is not an expression of the refusal to progress, it is not the swan song for serious science in Popper’s sense, it is rather the holistic view of the resulting patterns and the structure on which they are based. As a living community, we know about the relationship between area and people. As a living community, we know about the consequences of using tools for optimization. As a group, we know about the resulting structures from the division of labor and specialization. Anyone who walks through the pedestrian zone clapping their hands to drive away pink elephants may count their absence as a service, but we provide no way of counting them against salad (or meat).
We don’t question everything every day. We too are subject to the second principle of thermodynamics. But we allow ourselves and all of our neighbors to question everything. We locate progress in better simulations; the real world remains the benchmark for us. We navigate between assumptions and avoid dogmas. In our relationships, we refer to fellow human beings, not to roles that others assign to them. You can’t really see our permaculture garden. We are still studying. We hold back with the imagination of interfering with nature. We don’t want to create any needs and have suitable products in stock to meet them.
We avoid hierarchies and those that require hierarchies. Some of our visitors miss rules, distrust sustainability without law and order and can still answer the question of who should determine the violation, who checks and evaluates this misconduct and who carries out the resulting punishment. Most people seek security and simple solutions: arrow equals meat. They pay with freedom and show solidarity with the guards. They go their own way, with no alternative: it just doesn’t work without arrows. And if the old arrows are really no longer useful, they can at best be replaced by new, better ones. The populist promotes alienation from nature, and what is meant here is the attempt to manipulate the simulation in the minds of his followers. He knows that this increases the distance between the real world and subjective simulation. That is his leeway, enough for pink elephants. A community that has no room for this populist cannot become popular. A community that hardly distinguishes outside and inside cannot show a strong profile.
This is a story within a story within the story. You wanted it that way and you have read on until now. Therfor now it’s the story in your head, in your own simulation. And this story of yours is embedded in the history of our society which is part of the great history of this universe. Cancel culture equals malfunction – to late. Go ahead, avoid people who clap their hands and want to be rewarded for it.
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.