The art of successful failure

In a world of cancel culture and riots in urban streets people are looking for truth, stability and security. The Indian caste system, a French King of the Sun or a European dictator suppress freedom, and yet they give their subjects the feeling of security and innocence.

Lies often seem much more plausible and attractive to the mind than the truth, because the liar has the great advantage of knowing beforehand what the audience will want to hear.

Hannah Arendt

Every hierarchy has its origins in a narrative about an invisible power. It is invented and used by those who see themselves as representatives. Representation legitimizes their power. If enough people believe in this narrative, they also submit to the self-appointed representatives.
The old gods addressed fame, honor, fatherland, ethics, morals, enlightenment. They have been displaced by competition, money, globalization, resources. With the collapse of the old world order, the power elite put the ultimate god on the throne, life itself. The elite defines itself as the representative on whose behalf it gives life … and takes it.

Cervera del Maestre - Fellowship of goodness
Cervera del Maestre – Fellowship of goodness

The priest fears nothing more than unbelief. He cannot counter this with evidence, he can only condemn, exclude, destroy. His power is based on the dogma not to question his legitimation. It almost doesn’t matter to him whether his subjects follow him out of conviction or fear. But the priest also pays a heavy price. He has to deny himself the longing to belong.
That feeds his fear of his own powerlessness. He fights this powerlessness in the fantasies of his power. He has to choose his bodyguards carefully, he has to reward them constantly and warn them, that their fate remains closely linked to his. In the end, he prefers to choose suicide.

In a world that is decaying, in which people are becoming increasingly lonely, the longing for community becomes stronger and stronger. The great whole falls apart into pieces. But everyone is given the will to organize himselve. So these parts are looking for other gods, for other stories and actually they are looking for peace, for meaning.

Many spiritual or political communities address this longing. They will grow in the years to come. Some will draw their strength from the senseless aggression of the old elites which they had previously shown. They will seek their salvation in the company of the weak. And with that they raise the antipode to the throne. There is a danger in all of these communities. They are often captured by a strong leader type, who use powerlessness and first appoint themselve as a local prince and then begin to conquer the outside world. And with that, they’re just repeating history.
In the new media, new eloquent speakers are now appearing, the intellectual dark net is proving to be the quick breeder of sensemaking of an anxious middle class. They use contemporary narratives to attract new disciples. They promise redemption and they are just the organized new bodyguards of the old elite. As gladiators in the arena, they create entertainment. For some, the thumbs up will soon be pointing upwards, for most of them downwards.

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.

Henry David Thoreau

A weak community like Familiafeliz is not an arena for these gladiators. Just as mother and father are working as a team in a classical family, and the performance of the weaker part dominates the overall performance, so in our community the overall performance is the performance of the weakest.
This contradicts the general narrative, and all the lost souls who now want to look for new leaders in the diaspora, find it dangerous or at least unsafe not to align themselves with the strong.

The classical right locates this force in singular individuals and collapses in the neo-liberal madness. The classical left sees the power in the movement of the masses and ends in fascism.

A community that neither pays homage to top performance nor to overall common sense victory is not good for both. FamiliaFeliz establishes a social space for personal happiness. This is a forum romanum, borne by constant criticism of existing conditions. The bigoted attitude to demand precisely this space of free speech as long as one does not have one’s own God on the throne distinguishes all those who consider democracy to be a suitable means of oppressing a majority.

The very idea of ​​governance is a perversion in itself. It divides, armed and disarmed. When the people’s voice rises, one only hears individual mouths.

The plenary with its intelligence of the swarm can be tried as an alternative for a vital future-oriented community. And yet it will always be an approximation. The right of veto in a plenary session protects the individual from the will of the majority. The inability of the majority to marginalize the individual opens the door to continued innovation.

A community becomes more stable when it encourages the deviator. If the community removes the fear of failure from the deviator, he will gift it with innovation.

Cervera del Maestre - amazing citizens
Cervera del Maestre – amazing citizens

There is no greater suffering than being labeled systemically important by the elites. The dissolution of the weak community in the unsystematic, the unintentional care for its members, these are the foundations of its prosperity. When the community also gives the space for those who claim exactly the opposite, it transcends to the place of freedom, to the garden of Epicurus.

Freedom is always the freedom of those who think differently.

Rosa Luxemburg

An open community can be recognized by the fact that it is courting trials and tribulations, that it is home to the deviator. The space for this community is the garden of Ekipur, it has no limits, we also call it Mother Earth. And as Hannah Arnedt put it, after liberation from hunger and poverty comes political liberation. She said: “At best, I fear, we can only hope that freedom in a political sense will not disappear again for God knows how many centuries from this earth.”

I think she wasn’t right. It’s not a question of hope, it’s a question of courage. It is the courage not to submit to a new god. It is the courage to endure fear and not to pass it on. It is the courage to recognize old mistakes and replace them with new ones.

Photos: Jochen Seelhammer / Juan Petry | by using images from an installation by Jo Pellenz - one of the most important artists of our time - in the Ermita de Sant Sebastian, Cervera del Maestre, 2011