Category Archives: HU Windeck

Common memories of a community #2

Common memories of a community – as time goes by…

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

Communities in post-pandemic times

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.

community life in post pandemic times

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.

community life – new refugees in the home unit in Germany

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.

community life – art performance “All about Love” – Spain 2020

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.

Transcend the superEGO

transcend the superego - the agony of the media
transcend the superego – the agony of the media – fig. 1

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.

Jubilees video podcast – about community building

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.

transcend the superego - the winner takes it all
transcend the superego – the winner takes it all – fig 2

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.

transcend the superego - personal interaction
transcend the superego – personal interaction – fig 3

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.

transcend the superego - The invention of the higher authority
transcend the superego – The invention of the higher authority – fig 4

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.

transcend the superego - the message of announcement
transcend the superego – the message of announcement – fig 5

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.

transcend the superego - The institutionalization of belief
transcend the superego – The institutionalization of belief – fig 6

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.

Latvian translation of our charter available now

latvian charter translation available
latvian charter translation available

Now also the latvian translation of our charter is available for download. We are very happy to meet such engaged people in the #NEWNORMAL willing to spread our basic set of rules into the world.

Download final draft of our charter (PDF) in latvian language

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.

Nonsense is the goal – the goal is nonsense.

Community life without sense - the overview
Community life without sense – the overview

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.

Meta Community – 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.

Community life without sense - art performance in CASAdelDRAGON
Community life without sense – art performance in CASAdelDRAGON

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.

Community life without sense - chilling in the color garden
Community life without sense – chilling in the color garden

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.

Community life without sense - concert in the gallery of CASAdelDRAGON
Community life without sense – concert in the gallery of CASAdelDRAGON

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.

Community life without sense - informal education on the fly
Community life without sense – informal education on the fly

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.

charter in dutch translation

familiafeliz - a social space for personal happiness
familiafeliz – a social space for personal happiness

After more than three years – thanks to Greete from Amsterdam – now also a dutch translation of our charter is available for download. In a great session we talked and translated the leading english draft in the kitchen of the house of the dragon.

final draft – dutch version download (PDF)

If you are looking for a version in your native language check out here for more.

Homework – done.

homework done - the paradise papers - we are all under the same sky
homework done – the paradise papers – we are all under the same sky

In the last days of june 2020 FamiliaFeliz was invited to partizipate in a video postcast about intentional communities. Jubilee Creates Something Amazing by meandering through life is one of the emerging video-potcast channels on social media. The host Jubilee is interested in Game B and other projects and initiatives to develop a better life for all of us.

This article is about some of our community activities in the first 100 days of spanish lock down, about the challenge to develop a social community project between community twins, about the daily reality in the house of the dragon and the intention of the community founders to set up a basic rule set – our BIOS – of how it might be to live inside of our community and a link between all of them.

Before we go into details lets discover some main keywords like intentional communities, ecovillages, self-policing and self-fulfilling rules.

Bill Metcalf’s definition of intentional communities in his book “Utopian Struggle: Preconceptions and Realities of Intentional Communities” doesn’t really help. For him traveling 40 years and co-existing in 100 community projects wordwide leads – for us – only to white swan narratives rejecting everything else, especially black swans.

FamiliaFeliz is an alternative living community with shared economy. Every member had already a good life, there was no reason to escape from something or somewhere or to reject, to limit or to fight (against or for) something or somebody. Our intention to gather was basically motivated by our knowledge that we could enjoy more our personal happiness if it would be embedded in a group. And the process of founding it was more a late result of a long term closed friendship between all of us.

In the environement of spanish language the word ecoaldea is often used as a substitution for comunidad (community). It might transport for some the idea of an ecological driven location but for locals its more to seperate it from ancient ideas about the meaning of the word comunidad.

Communities are an inherent feature of human social capacities. Communities as a phenomena are emerging, if a core group of two or more people develop a relation because it makes sense for them. The source for the initial motivation to do this could be indentified by an external reason (violence, forces, pressure, leak of sense…) or by an internal reason (lift personal peace, freedom, joy, fear…). Both types could be linked: imagine a submarine, in which the marines become a team over time after leaving the harbour, has a failing engine and starts to sink. In the first place the relation was designed by externals. At the end there is a strong personal inner will to survive which brings the crew much more together.

Sometimes these constellations of people are invited to define their inner constitution. In case of FamiliaFeliz we where asked again and again: “What really is this FamiliaFeliz?”. Not willing to get tired about explaining again and again we invited our friends to create and verify our basic ruleset, our charter.

When FamiliaFeliz – in this case the crew living in the home unit in Spain in spring 2020 – experienced the first days of lock down, we had a running gag in every dinner at 10pm. Instead of counting the days of lock down we cheered ourselves up with “day hundred minus something of the survival of the fittest”. Nobody was really thinking that it could be our cheers for more than 100 days.

Two years ago we created a prototype of a compost toilet. This was – in terms of our charter – a temporary working unit. The members of this unit donated time and energy to set up a first terra preta compost toilet close to our vegetable garden. The group of contributers where not stable over the time and it was finally finished by a german couple and their son.

The most important content of our basic ruleset is the missing part.

Juan Petry

When we came together to start to think about a basic ruleset it was motivated by many talks about our community life, hidden rules, team buildung, and core values. Again and again we where asked about it and again and again we explained it, and everybody in her or his best intention – but surely different. We decided to create a charter. We decided also to create it in an unpresidential way, by inviting everybody online to participate. Finally we where surrounded by more or less 50 people (everybody had some experience with us and most of them where asking before about such a basic paper).

Self-policing is the ability of each member to follow the rule and to experience the consequences of not following them without any intervention of others. It finally empower each member and gives a very smart design pattern for rule sets.

Self-fullfining rules are amazing because they do not need protection.

1.3 Membership
To FamiliaFeliz belongs only, who accepts the charter of its group and is member of at least one working unit.

Definition of a Member in FamiliaFeliz – final draft of our Charter

In July 2016 we started to write a first draft and in August 2016 we published the first version. Lateron it became a smart process based on swarm intelligence to figure out the best way of what and how to express our basic inner rules. Again and again we published new versions and the discussion emerged again. In the 9st of January 2017 we published the final draft and here you can find the history of its creation.

The challenge was for sure, how to write such a paper to explain truthfully and honest the reality of our community, to define core values and to be as much as possible flexible for future members and their ideas and needs. We defined some meta rules on the way, rules how to create rules:

  • Less is more.
  • Reduce as much as possible expectations.
  • Define only the core values and procedures.
  • Define the way in and define the way out of the community.
  • Make it impossible to break a rule.

Even the last might be a tricky thing. But – thanks to our forcing swarm intelligence – we made progress even in this. Finally we see the ruleset more like a blue print – it was already copied by other initiatives – and as a useful tool to explore the mindset of somebody with interest in our community life. It helps every member to reject false expectations and reduce the guidelines to a smart minimum. In fact after agreeing in the ruleset we never experienced a feeling or need to change it (in the last years). The only thing which didn’t apply was a reduction of explaining our community life, it only added the phrase As we wrote… sometimes many times. :=)

homework done - making a lot of jam in the lock down period
homework done – making a lot of jam in the lock down period

In our community – and in our basic ruleset – we have no reglementation about food and kitchen responsibility. Everything related to a living home has to be organized by the members of this – we call it – home unit. The community is created by it’s members. But we are living in a decentralized community and we have more than one home. We do not think it makes sense to rule out the content of a plate in a dinner session in a house where we are not part of on a daily basis.

The house of the dragon – our first home unit in spain – is an extrem sample of this way of thinking. The artist residence and think tank is visitied by 50 to 200 guests per year (before corona) and the crew on bord decides again and again new about ingredients (vegan, vegetarian…).

homework done - Dilans vegan fish
homework done – Dilans mostly vegan fish

People are not equal, and to force them to be equal and declare this as a right goals to achieve is not in the favor and advantage of an individual. Dilan (10 years) like to cook and design but is very lazy in wiping the dust in his room.

The GEN network started in the global lock down period a project to add value to the movement of communities. It asked related communities for twin projects. As a decentraized community in Germany and Spain we applied and we get into contact with Nuestra Finca Sagrada in Nicaragua. Finally we agreed in a knowledge transfer from our project to them, including documentation of the process to send, receive, transform, adapt and realize a project of terra preta based dry toilets. In a first video session we discussed the steps of implementation and we will continue this in the summer of 2020.

In the lock down we started also another knowledge transfer with some friends in Belgium.

homework done - a urban gardening prototype
homework done – a urban gardening prototype

We invented a terrace garden and refurbished and upcycled material to produce some food like salad, tomato and beans. We published some posts and chatted with Belgium about strategical and technical solutions.

Whether a person is defined member of our community or not, whether this person is living with us in the same home unit or not, whether the person is part of our community or is on the way to set up his own in another continent, we treat this person in the same way. The unique difference between a member of FamiliaFeliz and somebody else is, that somebody outside of our community has no voting rights to decide on the admission of a new member.

We want a better life, and it doesn’t mapper if we rise the happiness inside or outside our community, because in both cases we experience that we rise it finally on both sides (because in our construction of “we” there is no outside really.

Somebody may be grandkid, kid, mother, couple, family member, car driver, teacher, inhabitant, citizen, activist… but these are only roles, given by societies to manipulate people by sticking responsabilities to each of them.

Inside of Familiafeliz, a social space for personal happiness, all these roles are fading out. We like to see the human, and we do not expect anything from her or him.

Publishing our charter with the name DRAFT is an expression of our humility in the view of the diversity of nature and people. Maybe there is something like GAME B, but – for now – there is only Planet A.

A good question about evaluating a community is: what kind of world would it be if everyone did it in the same way? It might be also a good goal, if diversity blooms and the goal of the community is, to make the members as independent of their community as possible.

social media equals social distancing

#SOCIALMEDIA was seen as as a computer-based layer over network connections to be used as an information exchange opportunity for their users. In the wild west hype of Internet emerged a lot of so-called funcionality on screen to tickle the human neurons.

no social distancing - harvesting olives in the color garden
no social distancing – harvesting olives in the color garden

This story is about social media, social distancing, real community life, final goals, military tools and about selecting useful information out of spam and the link between all of them. You are 1 out of 7 out of 23.000 if you read this story down to the end.

When i gave my first lectures in IT-Networking on a glimp of the beginning of remote data transmission i was asked by a elderly student: “What will be a fundamental consequence of using this network on a daily basis?” My answer was simple as that: “The information will loose its value.” Now – looking back – i would likely clarify “the flat-screen-based information…”.

We – as humans – are evaluating the relative truth of information by calculating the distance between the sender (to us) and the source of this information itself. Embedded in never ending story telling we see self-experienced information – sender equals receiver – as likely true, if it is told us by somebody else maybe true and if the person giving us third party information we become more and more unsure.

Based on OSI we experience the information offered in our perception. But finally we are looking on a kind of a black box because we – as an application to receive this information – are not able to decode the underlaying protocols. So like in the last 200.000 years of human mankind we invented strategies to evaluate this black box by using assumptions, prejudices and validations.

Originally created as a military weapon additive the former ARPA-NET, all this ingreediences in this black box became more and more commerialized. In the beginning it was only the access to this black box which was invoiced. Later the bill expanded to include individual functions and access to content inside or behind the black box.

Whenever humans inventing tools they imagine an advantage. They calculate this advantage in comparing tools to achieve their goals. So my second prediction as a reply to the question of my student was: “And the sender will invent more and more sofisticated tools to present their information as true.”

At the same time the black box was growing a lot. As a point in the FIDO-NET fourty years ago i was reading maybe 10 posts in newsgroups and happy about one personal mail a day. The effort to wrap information in a way to send it, was high – like stepping into a little yellow or red iron cabine in the corner of a street to make a remote call – and therefore the average of daily received messages was low.

Based on my career and the capacity of internet functionality our community FamiliaFeliz used a website and social media to spread its information as well. By using this black box we where trapped in the same way as the others and even knowing the conditions from a professional point we experienced the same difficulties “to get our message to the receiver”.

Making research on the possibilities of these new tool social media we where focused on two issues: hidden features and emergent values, in naive speech: “Contemporary communities should have a look at contemporary tools to reach contemporary goals.”

Social media, as a product of private companies, is for sale. You might pay with money – which is another currency for quality life time – or you pay by giving attention, anyway, you pay. Refering to the evaluation of the tool we have to look on advantage and disadvantage of using this tool.

To messure this value we should think about the real goal. For many social media users we see a shift from infinite / final goals to milestones as goals. Lets give a sample: If your final goal is to buy a car you might have a look at some online shops and blogs and vlogs about cars you are interested in. You will compare the received information with your assumptions and prejudices and maybe you will validate it in a test drive at the nearest car dealer. But finally you might buy a car and you stop to make research about it. All research and surfing the internet could be seen as temporary goals to reach the final goal to buy the next car. In this case the information out of the black box is used to reach this defined goal by surfing from milestone to milestone.

But it is not as easy as this. You are not alone using the internet. Some machine learning algorythmns are following you and learning what you like and how you act in front of all this competitive information sources. By tracking your way online – and offline – the sender as an intermediate is learning how to show a given product in the best way to you. As a ROI probably he will try to sell this knowledge to the car dealer.

The message the car dealer is learning from this might be, that it makes a lot of sense to postpone the bio feedback – the test drive – to the latest possible moment in with you made up your mind already about which car you are likely to buy. Therefore you might see less and less opportunities for test drives in the future.

no social distancing - creating mosaics in the house of the dragon
no social distancing – creating mosaics in the house of the dragon

As an international decentralized community FamiliaFeliz doesn’t want to sell a car or any other product. Many other communities – struggling with money to survive – are inventing products like workshops (spirituality, health, community buildung, permaculture, bio construction) for so-called living community tourists.

We do not want to judge about the communities, neither about these clients. It seems to be normal to invent a fitting product for a potential customer. Many of these users are spending hours and hours of screen time to feed the dream of a community life and social media offer a lot of groups where these customers can exchange their dreams and visions about living in a community. No wonder that a lot of communities try to meet their potential clients inside these social media networks surfing for content to feed their dreams.

However, both sides seem to be trapped. The community which try to gather clients will run in a never ending competition about attention and a “LIKE” doesn’t solve any economical challenge for them. The surfer and social media user introduces himself as somebody who search for the final goal to join or invent a community project, but more likely he stick on his chair in front of the screen and return to exactly this surfing mode to feed his desires.

There are other communities – without any business plan for social media – like FamiliaFeliz. These projects are just posting time by time something about their real activities and daily life.

no social distancing - exploring the new land of hope
no social distancing – exploring the new land of hope

In a social media group called “Projecto de Ecoaldeas en España” we found 63.4% of the posts initiated by the sender as a share of external information not direct related to himself or to an existing project of an ecoaldea (research 2020-05-31 – 6pm). The sender was just sharing information about videos, howto’s and external articles about topics like useful tools, bio construction or spirituality. We can assume that each sender was a) aware about the topic of this group (eco village projects) and b) that each sender expected a value to share this posts in this group. We might assume also that the sender would like to see more of similar postings in this place from other group members. Non of these posts leed to a real eco village project or gives information about a real activity of any existing eco village project.

In the same research we identified 13.3% of the posts as direct advertising with deep links to products, like workshops or webinars. Only half of them where related to existing communities as the provider of such trainings. The other half was posted by individuals, who probably expect to be able to win customers among the visitors of this group.

Only 10% where shared posts from individual members of other groups about real activities of communities and 13.3% where direct posts from community members about activities of their own community. If you count the 10% and these last 13.3% as posts and content really related to the topic of the social media group, it should be noted that more than 75% of the information has nothing or very little to do with the real life of communities.

But nevertheless more than 23.000 members are enjoying this group. So whatever might be posted, this people get what they want.

On the other hand less than 15% of this information is delivered throughout this black box from a sender who might be a real member of a real community.

The word of the year 2020 could be #SOCIALDISTANCING and we don’t know yet how big the impact for future generations will be. But it looks like, that the effect of postings in social media support more the following AI and the companies running the networks and selling the user (behaviour) data than it leads to finite goals of users really willing to enter a community or communities looking for new members to join.

no social distancing - all about love - a performance in Tortosa
no social distancing – all about love – a performance in Tortosa

Many years ago i started to develop a social media group called work of art. This group was introduced as “to discover how we could transform virtual attention into real benefit and value for all members”. I wrote: ” Social networks are full of spam and redundant information and it will be a survival of the fittest and a soft skill to use such virtual environments in a human and useful way.”

35 years after using my FIDO-NET server as a host for the first online-based training in collaboration with the public highschool of Cologne i found myself in the year 2020 in Spain in a lock down with kids in the house, neglected by their schools and confronted with inexperienced teachers who desperately practice sending PDF files and video links of social media platforms to their scholar.

In the early years of the internet i was responsible for train-the-trainer seminars. As the elderly student asked me about the future impact in my first online based training in these teacher trainings it was important to me to bring new generations of pedagogues closer to the consequences for their own profession in times of internet. Social media flodding out of the black box was promoted as a social tool, but it kept the distance between sender and receiver and as a product its inherent feature was and is to hold the receiver as long as possible in the loop of surfing: screen time versus quality life time.

35 years ago in my first online based seminar i experienced how important real presence time was for my students. Even receiving information is a social act and useless if not compagnioned by other sense experience than listening and looking.

no social distancing - all about love - lecture in the MLU Halle in Germany - biology
no social distancing – participative strategies in education – lecture in the MLU Halle in Germany – biology

You have to put your hands in the clay to understand what bio-construction means. You have to wash all the plates for the group to understand what it means to live in a community. You have to donate your last money to another member without fear to understand what shared economy means.

The ongoing fragmentation of societies was initiated by media and politics and the myth of western individualism. We can denote internat and social media as milestones. AI – artificial intelligence – driven algorithms personalize what we see. The information is wrapped and selected like convenient food to hold us in our mental and physical comfort zone.

Flat screen – flat life, when surfing in social media becomes a loop and receiving information becomes the ultimate goal, you will not arrive in the color garden of FamiliaFeliz. Keep in mind: Social media equals social distancing.

Like freedom fighters communicating between each other by sticking short paper messages on tanks we send this message in a bottle throughout this black box of social media.

no social distancing - lectures on our UNIIE campus in Spain
no social distancing – lectures on our UNIIE campus in Spain

No workshop, no car, no hidden agenda, our message is simple: just leave the screen and go for your dream. Expand your quality lifetime, in nature, with other like-minded people.

You are 1 out of 7 out of 23.000 members of a social media network group. We calculate 20% active members in this group of 23000. We calculate 15% of them are posting information related to the topic and 1% of them are highly motivated to found or co-found a community (real entrepreneurs). So we wrote this article for nearly 7 people – by posting it into that group, and you are one of them. Maybe you will make it to the color garden.

Jam for #POPAs

jam for #POPAs - experimental cooking
jam for #POPAs – experimental cooking

In spring 2020 Familiafeliz – like many other living community projects – was passing a very special time. We where happy to harvest the last oranges (naranjas) and medlar (nispero) in our home unit in Spain in the color garden.

jam for #POPAs - the freedom of expression
jam for #POPAs – the freedom of expression

The artist residence CASAdelDRAGON hosted between 50 and 200 visitors per year. We where not sure about the future but we decided to prepare some jam for the coming guests in later 2020.

Because of lock down and many restrictions in Spain some shelfs in the super markets are empty and we could not buy aga-aga or pectine. So we decided to look for alternative ways to cook the jam by using not so many sugar.

jam for #POPAs - new label - new order
jam for #POPAs – new label – new order

We combined strawberry with orange, medlar with grapes and we added pieces of eggplants to the raw mix of fruits and sugar (250g eggplants per 1000g fruits and 500g sugar). It worked very well and gave the mix a good volume and absorbed a lot of liquid.

After Generation Y / Millennials we are now thinking of the next era of youth, we call them #POPAs = POst PAndemics, Most of the jars we donated to our local friends with kids and some we stored for new visitors. Actually we are planning for the CFF (Community Founder Festival) in late August (21.08. – 31.08.) and we get nearly every day a mail or call from a couple or single with kids looking for a new life and an alternative livings space and some kind of community life.

We are not sure how life will be in the future but it might be different from what we had before.

Some people did something before CORONA, they are doing it still in the lock down and they might continuing in doing it after. Others had done something, they are not doing anything in the lock down and they might need to find something different to do after CORONA.

Juan Petry, Artist
jam for #POPAs - new label - international jam session
jam for #POPAs – new label – international jam session

At the same time we prepared the first jam in our home unit in Germany. Happy to imagine the taste of all this different fruits from different countries. We hope to exchange a lot in this summer.

CFF – community founder festival 2020 in Spain

willing workers on organic farms - the circle of alimentation
CFF 2020 | community founder festival 2020-08-21 – 2020-08-31 | Spain

Many people are on their journey to find the right community. At the same time many communities are looking for candidates and new members. There are some gatherings on national level, sometimes limited to one language or with an approach somewhat remote. We feel it’s time to think about an international gathering.

If you are a (co-)founder of an existing or soon in 2020 upcoming community and you like to invite others to join your project, you are very welcome. In a first step we have published this message, we have defined the location and date and we have opened an application form to gather a core group for design and administration of such a gathering.

Something starts when one person says NOW, not when everybody is ready.

Juan Petry

In times of Covid-19 we are not able to predict if a physical gathering will be possible in Europe at this time (in late August) but we want to open this dialogue with you NOW to prepare it and to focus on that time line.

Familiafeliz as a host for this gathering is willing to share its resources, especially the art camp and the color garden, but it will need your active participation to create and perform a successful event.

CFF 2020 - festival map
CFF 2020 – festival map

Therefore this post and its content is an invitation to come together and to identify you as somebody looking for an alternative way of life and willing to donate your energy for such an outcome.

Join the core team now. | Read more about this event (regulary updated PDF).