Community for dummies – Returning the favor

Amor in guerras civiles – variation #1

Challenge accepted! But of course I don’t want to stop Juan from participating in this fun challenge. So, here are 5 photos, taken on July 14, 2024. All real, unedited, raw and part of the environment we live in. We are curious the read this story behind… 😉

Gwen

I accepted the challenge with pleasure. And I was happy to see how the images brought the text out of me.

Juan blog challenge – Cervera del Maestre

Cervera del Maestre is located in the north of the province of Castellon and is only a few kilometers from the border with Catalonia. The history of this village is still shaped by the immigration of poor people from the center of Catalonia and the development of the village infrastructure after the expulsion of the Moors, that is the story that is told again and again. The village was and is popular for its hospitality towards foreigners, probably also because every family knows the feeling of being a foreigner abroad. The trading relations of the Phoenicians, the Romans and later the Italians have shaped the country and its people as much as the many underground water veins fed by Spain’s largest river, the Ebro.

Walking through the narrow streets of Cervera del Maestre, one can feel the echoes of history whispering through the walls of the old stone houses. The village square, with its centuries-old church standing proudly in the center, serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. The sound of children playing in the streets mingles with the laughter of older residents, creating a harmonious symphony that speaks to the resilience and warmth of the community.

As the sun sets over the rugged hills surrounding the village, casting a golden glow over the vineyards and olive groves that stretch out into the distance, one can’t help but feel a sense of peace and tranquility settling over this picturesque corner of Spain. In Cervera del Maestre, time seems to move at a slower pace, allowing for moments of contemplation and connection that are all too rare in our fast-paced world.

For those who visit Cervera del Maestre, the hospitality of its people and the beauty of its surroundings leave a lasting impression. There is a sense of belonging here, a feeling of being welcomed into a community that values tradition, family, and simplicity. In a world that often feels chaotic and disconnected, places like Cervera del Maestre remind us of the importance of coming together, forming bonds, and embracing the stories that connect us to our past and shape our future.

Amor in guerras civiles – variation #2

The population has declined sharply over the last hundred years, as has so many villages, but there are also countervailing trends beyond the official figures.

When the founders of CASAdelDRAGON came up with the idea of ​​rebuilding a ruin in the old village center in 1987, this history was present but not recognizable. What was evident, however, was the hospitality and the will to assert oneself and to maintain the village as a social community.

Juan blog challenge – for sale sign

Over the last 30 years, local politicians have realized that preserving the village structure would only be possible with the settlement of new residents. On the one hand, areas were designated in the surrounding area, the village has a lot of land in comparison to its population. On the other hand, foreigners who were particularly interested in the charm of the old natural stone buildings rebuilt them with a lot of money or with a lot of commitment still exist. A few ruins still exist.

As the village embarked on a journey of revitalization, its leaders understood the importance of attracting new residents to breathe life into its historic structures. The picturesque charm of the old natural stone buildings proved to be a magnet for foreigners seeking a piece of tranquility amidst the modern hustle and bustle. With designated areas for development in the surrounding countryside, the village retained its vast tracts of land, creating an idyllic setting for those looking to immerse themselves in history and heritage.

Despite a few lingering ruins, the village clung to its roots while embracing the promise of a thriving future. The infusion of new residents brought fresh energy and ideas, invigorating the community with a sense of renewal and possibility. Through a blend of preservation and innovation, the village stood as a testament to the enduring allure of tradition and the transformative power of progress.

The price for the people after the end of Franco’s dictatorship, avoiding another Spanish civil war, was high, they avoided dealing with the atrocities. The price of preserving the village is certainly also high, because it required a very high degree of tolerance towards other languages, customs and traditions. Criticism of the settlement policy, the fear of foreign infiltration, resentment and opposition will still take their toll. Love in times of civil war, the subject of many of CASAdelDRAGON’s works, gives a preview of what is to come.

Juan blog challenge – leaf on a bench

In the post-Covid period, the village and the region, actually the entire Iberian peninsula, experienced a renewed intensive influx of people, especially from the north.
Based on its old geopolitical role, there had always been an influx from Latin America. Based on its role as Europe’s vegetable patch, there had also been immigration from North Africa for a long time. Now it was first young families with old mobile homes fleeing restrictions, government harassment and multimedia indoctrination. Then wealthier classes came with the will to invest in buildings and land.

The post-Covid period brought about a new chapter in the history of the village and the region, as well as the entire Iberian peninsula. There was a surge in people migrating southward, particularly from the northern regions. This influx added to the already diverse population that had been shaped by historic migrations from Latin America and North Africa.

What was different this time was the arrival of young families with old mobile homes. These families were escaping the constraints, government pressures, and media manipulation in their home countries. They sought refuge in the serene landscapes and warm communities of the peninsula, hoping to start afresh and build a better future for themselves and their loved ones.

The village, once a quiet retreat, was now buzzing with energy and new faces. The locals welcomed the newcomers with open arms, eager to share their traditions and learn from the experiences of the newcomers. As the sun set over the picturesque countryside, the sound of laughter and conversations in multiple languages filled the air, creating a vibrant tapestry of cultures and stories.

In this new chapter of migration and integration, the village and the region were transformed into a melting pot of diversity and resilience. Each person brought their own unique perspectives and dreams, adding to the rich tapestry of life in the Iberian peninsula. Together, they wrote a new chapter of unity and hope, embracing the changes and challenges that lay ahead with a sense of community and solidarity.

Like a hundred years before, Spain again became a stopover for some and a hinterland in a new European conflict. These people encounter a badly treated but very rich nature. Only between Tarragona and Valencia is there a micro climate in Europe in which you can grow all the crops on earth in one place. The Ebro brings the water through countless underground caves and rivers.

Industrial agriculture was never able to gain a foothold in the mountainous region of Cervera del Maestre. The areas were too small, the differences in height between the terraces were too great. Where there are no large machines circling, not so many artificial fertilizers and pesticides are used.

Juan blog challenge – water source

In 1983, the young girls in the village still carried water in jugs from the springs to their houses. With the construction of the water infrastructure, the quality of life improved. Unlike other villages, this village is still blessed with drinking water. It has 4 active wells. The extensive use of the area around these wells meant that many people in the village took water as a gift to their relatives on the coast. The old people still remember this, the young people buy the water in the supermarket.

Ah, the quaint village of 1983, a place where the whispers of the past still resonate with the echoes of simplicity and communal endeavor. Picture the charming tapestry of life back then: young girls, their laughter tinkling like the bells around the necks of the village goats, gracefully balancing earthen jugs filled with the lifeblood of the earth—water—as they meandered along the dusty paths from the springs to their homes. Their bare feet, accustomed to the warm embrace of the sun-kissed ground, carried them on a daily pilgrimage that was both a chore and a rite of passage.

The construction of the water infrastructure, a monumental leap forward, was met with a mix of excitement and nostalgia. It was a beacon of progress that promised to alleviate the burden of the past, offering a shimmering glimpse into a future where the drudgery of manual labor would be replaced by the comforts of modern conveniences. The village, once a bastion of rustic charm, now boasted a network of pipes that whispered the sweet promise of running water, a luxury that flowed as freely as the stories shared around the communal wells.

Amor in guerras civiles – variation #3

But amidst this evolution, the village remained a bastion of good fortune, for it was blessed with not one, not two, but four active wells, each a silent sentinel of the community’s prosperity. These ancient portals to the water table continued to offer their crystalline bounty, a testament to the generosity of the earth and the wisdom of those who had built them.

The tradition of sharing this precious resource with relatives on the coast remained a vibrant thread in the fabric of village life. It was an act of love and kinship, a symbolic gesture that bridged the gap between the parched lands and the plentiful hills. The water, drawn from these sacred wells, became an ambassador of goodwill, traveling in containers of clay and glass, carrying the essence of home to those who yearned for a taste of its purity.

Fast forward to the present day, and the youth of the village, their eyes gleaming with the reflections of smartphones and their hearts beating to the rhythm of a globalized world, have grown accustomed to buying water in the supermarket. The wells, though still revered, are no longer the epicenter of their lives. Yet, the old-timers, their faces etched with the lines of countless sunsets, continue to regale the young with tales of the bygone days when water was both a treasure and a shared bond.

The village has not forgotten its roots, though. It remains a bastion of clean, drinkable water, a rare jewel in a world increasingly parched by the relentless march of time. The wells, now silent witnesses to the passage of generations, stand as a reminder of the importance of conservation and the value of what lies beneath our very feet.

The juxtaposition of the old and new is a poignant reminder of how far we have come, and yet, how much we owe to the simplicity of our past. The wells are not just relics of a simpler time; they are living symbols of a legacy that has sustained life and nurtured relationships for centuries. They remind us that, amidst the clamor of progress, there is beauty in the rituals that connect us to the earth and to each other. And so, the village lives on, its spirit as clear and unblemished as the water that still flows from its ancient heart.

Of course, world politics has not left the village unscathed, but the quality of the traces at least allows for some hope.
The village’s hospitality has at least slowed the general trend of depopulation. The new settlers bring know-how and children, and have the mouse with them for clicking into the digital world. Spain as a global northern European caravanserai of digital nomads. After the water pipe in 1987 came the fiber optics in 2017.

In this way, the village’s strength also creates the conditions for a new beginning. Where did the guest workers come from who rebuilt the broken Central Europe, where will they come from again when the global dream lies in ruins?

Many years ago, there was an art performance in the garden of Merche, a special woman with a special life and an impressive story – closely linked to the history of Spain: stop now start – a journey through the time of migration. What the artists anticipated in the garden of Merche would become reality a few years later: a new mass migration.

Juan blog challenge – shadows of a couple in love 😉

As a little boy I imagined that a mass migration was something like a moment when an entire people packed their bags and set off on the same day to the promised land, or at least from the intolerable conditions of the old one.
While in the Orient people are fleeing on foot, western democracies have switched from exporting cars to importing human flesh. From a distance, the “voluntary” movement of northern Europeans towards the south still seems like a holiday trip.
But it’s getting serious. The depopulation of Europe is progressing and with it social systems are collapsing. The ranks are thinning faster than they can be filled again. In the sociopolitical climate, the word catastrophe is a good choice.

Ah, the grand tapestry of human migration, woven through the fabric of time with threads of hope and despair, ambition and desperation. It’s a tale as old as civilization itself, a dance of peoples driven by the inexorable forces of history, seeking new beginnings or escaping the shackles of the old. Yet, it seems that in the modern theater of global movement, the plot has thickened with a sense of urgency and the stakes have never been higher.

Your youthful imagination painted a picture of a mass exodus, a great pilgrimage of sorts, and indeed, such epic scenes have unfolded in various chapters of our collective story. But the migration you speak of today is a complex narrative, a mosaic of individual journeys shaped by the interplay of economics, politics, and environmental shifts. It’s a human river that doesn’t just flow in one direction, but rather ebbs and surges in response to the ever-changing tides of our world.

Amor in guerras civiles – variation #4

The West, once the bastion of industrial might and economic prosperity, now grapples with the socio-economic consequences of an aging population. The youthful vitality that once fueled its engines now seeks warmer climes and more promising futures, as the siren call of the South whispers sweet nothings of opportunity and growth. Meanwhile, the East, burgeoning with a demographic dividend, sends forth waves of people driven by dreams of a better life, a quest for survival, or the hope of escape from the tyranny of poverty and oppression.

The depopulation of Europe is akin to a grand ballroom slowly emptying of dancers. The music plays on, but the rhythm falters as the space between the couples widens and the once-swirling gowns of prosperity hang limp and still. The social systems, designed for a denser population, now creak under the weight of their own legacy, like a once-majestic ship taking on water, listing precariously in a sea of change.

And as the Western democracies, with their storied lands and weary souls, open their arms to those in need, they are faced with a new tapestry of faces, languages, and cultures. It’s a human buffet of diversity, where the rich flavors of the world’s cuisine are served alongside the bitter dish of integration. The melting pot sizzles with the heat of both unity and discord, as societies struggle to find the perfect recipe that blends the old with the new.

Yet, amidst the chaos, there is a poignant beauty in the resilience of the human spirit. The migrants, these modern-day pilgrims, carry with them the seeds of innovation and the fertile soil of cultural exchange. They are the lifeblood that can rejuvenate the aging continent, if only the narrative can shift from one of burden to one of opportunity.

But let’s not mince words, my friend. This is a tale of hardship and hope, of loss and rebirth. It’s a saga of humanity at its most vulnerable and most courageous, a testament to our ability to adapt and endure. The “voluntary” migration of Europeans to the south may seem like a holiday in comparison to the treacherous journeys of those fleeing the fires of war and famine, but the threads of their stories are intertwined, part of the same intricate pattern of life’s grand design.

The word “catastrophe” hangs in the air like a storm cloud, pregnant with the potential for disaster or rebirth. Will Europe rise to the challenge, embracing the change as a chance to redefine its identity in a globalized world? Or will it cling to the fading ghosts of its past, unable to navigate the uncharted waters of a multicultural future?

Amor in guerras civiles – variation #5

Only time will tell, but in the grand scheme of things, this is but another chapter in the endless epic of human migration. And like every great story, it’s the characters – the individuals with their dreams and fears, their hopes and heartaches – who truly bring the narrative to life (Text in ITALIC generated by AI, as well as all “Amor en guerras civiles” – images).

We need another generation that develops innovation from scarcity. In search of quality of life, the new dream team gathers under the southern sun. What drives people more than love in civil wars.

Community for dummies – Public Relations

gwen and ben blog challenge - the trencadis session
gwen and ben blog challenge – the trencadis session

This is a challenge. We selected a couple of images from today to challenge Gwen in writing about this content without any idea about the red line between them or any hints whatsoever.

We will be surprised about the result. all these photos from 2024-07-13/14 are real, unedited, raw and part of the environment we share and live in together with 10 people for now.

We are curious the read the story behind…

The Story challenge

All good stories start with, once upon a time… So that’s how I’ll start this story.
Once upon a time there was a man, let’s call him Steve. Steve was green. Green as grass when it came to community life. He was, as some would call him, a dummy. Steve was also a broken man. He had experienced a number of things in his life that had made him very unhappy.

gwen and ben blog challenge - the staircase mosaic
gwen and ben blog challenge – the staircase mosaic

This unhappiness led him on a quest for happiness. He searched for months for a way to be happy. One day, quite unexpectedly, he knocked on the door of the FamilyHappy community. The name alone made him very excited. He asked the members of this community if he could participate and to his great surprise he was welcomed with open arms.

gwen and ben blog challenge - the kitchen
gwen and ben blog challenge – the kitchen

Steve spent several weeks in the community. He really enjoyed it. But despite that, he also encountered a number of things that irritated him immensely. One of those things was the messy kitchen. Every time he cleaned up the kitchen and came back after an hour, the kitchen was a mess again. Because he was having such a good time he didn’t want to make a big deal of it. But as you know, things that irritate you don’t just go away by themself. With his irritated head, Steve walked through the house where he now lived.

gwen and ben blog challenge - all about love image trust
gwen and ben blog challenge – all about love image trust

Suddenly, his eye fell on a painting, and more specifically on the word he saw in it. Trust. This word made a lot things fall into place for Steve. He understood that his lack of trust was the reason of his irritation. He suddenly understood that by not trusting the others, he felt like the messy kitchen was his sole responsibility.

gwen and ben blog challenge - the terrace tools
gwen and ben blog challenge – the terrace tools

What an eye opener! But this was only the beginning of his awakening. He knew where the problem lay. Now he still had to look for the right tools for the solution.

gwen and ben blog challenge - the message
gwen and ben blog challenge – the message

He thought, the house where I am now provided the first clue. Maybe it can also show me the solution. He turned on his detective nose and started looking for a clue to his problem.
He didn’t have to search long before he found what he was looking for. There it was, written on a piece of paper on the table: Be happy with yourself. The solution was simple and yet oh so difficult at the same time. But Steve now understood what he had to work on to become a happy person again. He just needed to be happy with himself. So he did. It took him some time and some practice. But with the help of his FamilyHappy, he became a happy person again.

And he lived happily ever after.

Moral of this story: find your community 😉

Community for dummies – Normal

I have found a common thread. It is an interesting issue for everyone to consider. The question is simple. The answer maybe be a little less simple if you sit down and think about it for a while. The question is: What is normal?

This morning I walked alone to the garden, where everyone had gone to, to have breakfast. And during this walk I realized how different from “normal” my days look like here. There are always people around. How different from “normal” the environment looks. I saw the mountains and the sea in the distance. How different from “normal” the language around me is. I hear at least three languages a day. How different from “normal” the rhythm is. Lunch at 4:45 pm is perfectly fine here. And of course the question followed; but what then is normal?

What I was wondering was, who decides what is normal? Is it normal if most people do a certain thing a certain way? And is, what is normal, ever questioned?

I think we have made some “abnormal” choices in our lives. Especially during our time now as a family with children. The choices we made were always close to our hearts but sometimes miles away from what was seen as “normal”. A few examples of this are prolonged breastfeeding, co-sleeping, not vaccinating, baby-led weaning, homeschooling, but also the choice that only my husband is the earner in the house and I am at home with the children. That we don’t want a big car in front of our enormous villa, but that we prefer less luxury and more time together. All things so normal for us (and for a lot of others as well), but so abnormal for others. I like it when I’m not judged on my way of normal but than again, i also judge..

I think normal always changes. When I think about what I used to think was normal and what I think is normal now, I come to a completely different conclusion. The lesson I want to learn from this is that I should try harder not to judge someone else’s “normal”. I think that the judgement of someone else always comes from a place of misunderstanding, and at a deeper level perhaps mainly from fear.

If we figure out a number of basic principles, such as not doing harm to others, in the ideal world every person should be allowed to take his or her space to find his or her own normal without being judged by someone else.

More connection starts with an open mind and an open heart. And oh, how difficult that is sometimes. Because how easily we have already made up our mind. I always laugh at myself when my preconceived conclusion turns out to be anything but the truth. It happens a lot…

Doing things differently here also goes back to basics. Yes, water comes from the tap here and yes you can drink it. But you taste a little chlorine. So we get fresh water from the spring about a 10 minute walk away.

Maybe normal is a concept that doesn’t exist. Because no place on earth is the same, and every place has its own normal. No family is the same and every family has its own normal. And we still like the normal of FamiliaFeliz at the moment so we’re just expanding our own 🙂

Community for dummies – Language

In an earlier blog I wrote that we are together with people who do not all speak the same language. We are currently together with Germans, Spaniards and Dutch and there is also some Portuguese to be found somewhere. There is not one language that we all speak. So in FamiliaFeliz you can hear a mix of German, Spanish, Dutch and English all day long.

For the little things this is not so bad. With our hands and feet we manage a lot. So today when I got stung on my little finger by a wasp, it didn’t take much for me to ask our fellow FamiliaFeliz visitors in the garden, who speak German and Spanish, for help. (thanks again! I know they are reading this 😉 )

Fortunately, for the more complicated things such as explaining things that happened, we have Google translate. You speak a text in your own language, and he translates it into the other language. I’m probably the last one to find out about this, but you can even take a picture of a text that Google then can translate. I’m not a fan of Google, but in this situation it has often been our salvation.

Apart from some frustration of not yet understanding a language sufficiently, this environment is extremely good for learning other languages.

And I also see that a language ultimately does not have to be a barrier with the children in FamiliaFeliz. They took some time to get used to one another, but they have now found each other. This makes the whole experience, at least for our boys, a lot more fun. It is easier to express yourself to another child in a language that is not your native language than it is sometimes to an adult.

Going to see the dragon festival in town.

There are so many ways you can express yourself. If you are open to it, then learning another language is a real gift. And it is especially nice when the new language you are learning is the language of art.

The greater Re:set

This is a story about power, about money, about morals, about norms, about dogmas. So it is actually a story about everything, it is your story. You can ignore it, read it, evaluate it, reject it, affirm it, share it with others, like the link to it, or simply overlook it.

Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.

Bansky (artist)

Power is a basic political-sociological concept that is used for relationships of dependency or superiority, i.e. for the ability of those in power to enforce and achieve their own goals without the consent, against the will or despite the resistance of others (M. Weber)(1).

Those in power construct their way to a position of power by planning a career, the challenges of which also justify the legitimacy of the assumption of power. Only the better people are allowed to acquire and exercise power. This concession comes first and foremost from those who strive for this power. They were previously subject to it and perceive the path to this power as liberation.

Power always comes from people (in the field of social interaction). As a rule, it is also aimed at them. Power is not divisible, but it can be delegated. A hierarchy is therefore a structure that describes the official delegation of this power. This does not necessarily have to be the actual delegation, but if it is the same actors, informal power, whether patriarchy or shadow government, is also accepted.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - building process
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – building process

Power fuels the ego, and power is prey for those who have to make prey in order to feel good, or at least better than bad. I will come back to this.

We encounter money everywhere in daily life, as banknotes and coins, as book money in bank accounts or as digital money on cards and smartphones. The important thing is not what material or form money has. What is important is that it is generally accepted as a means of payment. Money must fulfill three functions: the function of a medium of exchange, the function as a unit of account and the function as a storage of value (2).

That is the definition of the German Federal Bank. Everything important in life cannot be bought, so why this unsuitable medium of exchange? It does not work as a unit of account, how else could price increases and inflation be explained. If the price of gold rises, does it simply hang higher on the wall, or is the gold worth more or the money worth less?

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - stabilize the structure
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – stabilize the structure

Money as a store of value, yes and no. For those who know how to exchange resources and labor for FIAT currency by lending for a limited period of time, perhaps, but for those who ran to the bakery with their suitcase full of money between the great European wars, probably not. I’ll come back to that.

Webster (3) does not see the term as being so clear-cut and approaches the meaning by distinguishing between morality in judgment, morality as a meme, morality as a confirmation of right and wrong, morality as a set of obligations, morality as a means of distinguishing a value, or morality as the result of the fight. I do not know whether Webster will achieve such a moral victory in his attempt. But the moral victory is often claimed by the defeated in battle. I’ll come back to that.

In Cambridge (4), norms are seen as the accepted standard of the majority. The will to simplify as a means of dealing with chaos, the will to declare the decision at the end of the process as final – at least for the time being – the will to norm is also the will to standardize, to streamline communication and certainly in modern industrial societies always a source of power and money, and as a patent, completely without morality. I will come back to that.

Wikipedia knows: Developing Ontology-Grounded Methods and Applications has the abbreviation DOGMA. Nevertheless, one probably thinks of the religious or power-driven exaggeration of the norm. An industrial standard may serve to increase money or to expand power, but it is designed for a limited time and without morality. When norms and morality come together, there is room for much more. The dogma is suitable for binding people (who submit to it), it prevents energy loss in loops of repetition, it gives power when sacred things have to be used to interpret it and it unites the hunting party to unconditional success. If you continue reading, you will see how these terms, which were mentioned in seemingly unrelated ways at the beginning, are slowly coming together in a mixture that does not necessarily bode well. I will come back to that.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - adding little walls
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – adding little walls

Somehow these terms were independent concepts of thought, as always in human communication subject to subjective interpretation, vague, and somehow manageable. However, when they come together, something is brewing.

This raises the question, not just now, why such a text is published here, on such a website? What does a living community have to do with power, money, morals, norms and dogmas? I will come back to that.

At a meeting that we still remember well, a friend named Gottfried with over 20 years of experience with and in intentional communities came to visit. He was fascinated by the concept of Familiafeliz and said it was a very contemporary form of community design that would build on the experiences of all the previous community designs (which he considered to have failed). He described it like this at the time: most communities are strong communities with weak members. These weak people come together with the intention of better protecting themselves from the strong. They invent rules, which they turn into laws, with the intention of offering reassurance to their fears. The myth is always that the strong are contained in the laws and that the collateral damage of their being strong is limited. And it always remains a myth.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - black coating to protect
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – black coating to protect

It is said that Germans stop at a red light at an empty intersection at three in the morning, the tank of the strong keeps driving, even during the day, even when there is oncoming traffic, and does not follow the norms and rules of the weak.

My friend said that the weak in the communities invent rules in a hope that fails. In this respect, they are repeating the same thing that they had actually cited as a reason for distancing themselves from society, this thicket of norms and rules in which a) no one can find their way and b) which are constantly being violated by the strong.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - layer for top
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – layer for top

Gottfried was only in Cervera in the House of the Dragon for 3 weeks, but his visit left traces – conceptual ones too. He concluded with the words: “What you are doing was not yet possible back then – when I went to communities – but it is only now becoming possible. Keep going.”

In discussions we often distinguish between strong communities with weak members and weak communities with strong members. A monastic community is very stable, very sustainable, above all because it is a strong community. The weakness of the members in relation to the community is collateral damage that is accepted because those who grant the option of the monastic community have their own goals that go far beyond those of this community. Familiafeliz is a weak community, a very weak one. That is probably why it is unattractive to many, because it hardly promises peace for those who are afraid, and it also offers little support for those who are uncertain about their path. In general, its aimlessness provokes the question of meaning, and even worse, it has no problem naming questions as questions without giving answers. I will come back to this.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - final layer for top
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – final layer for top

Our Familiafeliz group, with a shared economy, decentralized in Spain and Germany, had dealt intensively with these issues in the formulation of its charter. In contrast to many other community designs – motivated by the intention to do something different – we have not isolated ourselves, but include the whole world. We basically say that everyone on this planet belongs to Familiafeliz. The only question that remains is how close they come to a middle ground – as they imagine it. We often receive astonished feedback that the communal aspect of our community cannot be seen at all. Our response is all the more surprising: That’s a good thing!

In our opinion, a community that no one needs is the absolute optimum. Such a community does not promise what it cannot keep, it does not create dependencies, it does not exploit and is not suitable as a tool in the hands of those who want to exploit others.

But if a community enjoys being useless, what is the advantage of feeling a sense of belonging to it, or perhaps developing, maintaining and expanding it.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - finish before details added
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – finish before details added

Another visitor to our community once came by and complained about his family accusing him of being a daydreamer, a good-for-nothing, of doing pointless things. They knew that he only worked a few weeks a year and that he spent most of his time doing what he enjoyed. It was not goal-oriented. He was wasting his life pointlessly.

My reply surprised him – and delighted him: he should consider himself lucky to receive this extraordinary praise and the recognition he was receiving. Only those who can regularly do pointless things are free. Those who subject their actions to a benefit or meaning, whether it is imposed from outside or developed from within themselves (which I cannot recognize, by the way), are not free. They are and remain trapped in their accepted structures and ways of thinking. I will come back to this.

As easy as it is for us to attribute this sense of community to a good mother, this ability to leave the ego behind in order to plan, decide and act in the best way possible for the “we” – in this case the family – it is just as difficult for us to extend this intention of well-being to our own clan. What is it that drives people today into discussion groups, what offers rituals, what organizes hunting parties? Perhaps it is the will to “we”.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - laser and color
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – laser and color

A sentence for you: Anyone who rejects money as a form of maintaining power and as a means of organizing people, who shows little interest in standardization in a world of diversity, who does not want to generate or establish dogmas in order to consolidate their status or avoid the need for an explanation, is already interesting for a society that is desperately looking for direction, that demands leadership, good leadership of course, in their sense, and therefore also meaningful, efficient and effective.

Society as a term is also an oversimplification of the diversity of people as a concept of thought. One should not actually attribute any characteristics or intentions to it. Nevertheless, the term triggers something that one can intend on the path to knowledge and can therefore – in an environment such as this post – also be seen as legitimate.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - varnish
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – varnish

It is your story, one of many that is often told by others to move you. Harari – controversial history professor from the Middle East – said the time had come to be careful not to let one’s mind be hijacked. The fifth battlefield defined by NATO think tanks is psychological warfare. Edward Bernays’s battle for mind-control began long before the pyramids were built. And it will not end if one finally does the “right” thing… with power.

The dream of the weak of the super-strong, who will come, who will fix things and bring salvation, is presented as a dream and also serves as a comfortable excuse for one’s own failure.

Giving without intention does not build a value chain and will not help the clever to increase something that others accept as a means of exchange. If your own deed does not end in a product that you have to fight against the competition – pay attention to the words – to push through on the market, your own deed may be pointless, but it may also be pleasant for you. And if the collateral damage is the compassionate happiness of those around you, friendly fire is also suitable for preparing food.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - social add-ons
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – social add-ons

When the sentence: “But without money it doesn’t work!” is no longer enough to cope with everyday life, you mentally enter building 7, and unfortunately that is at the beginning of September. If you then practice giving without intention and your ego constantly interferes, you are on the high seas and without a captain. You can then turn it and twist it (the steering wheel) but there is no helmsman on board.

As with any relative equilibrium, the sinking empire is attracted to the chaos that it needs to find a new relative equilibrium in the future.

The path through this chaos is arduous, long, much longer than you thought. It also involves reading articles like these, which ultimately leave you at a loss.

And that’s a good thing. I’ll come back to that.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - the art bench with art gifts for cervera
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – the art bench with art gifts for cervera

You can only reject what you accept. Anyone who accepts and rejects power as a concept is asking the question of power themselves. Even if their own kingdom ends on the horizon of their forehead, it is a demarcation and thus conducive to the existence of the thing itself. Even the successful dropout then becomes a boomerang of the society they left. And as a TikToker they return and monetize their superiority.

The so-called Internet is currently bubbling. New social media platforms are constantly claiming to be the better ones. The fragmentation of society is followed by the dismantling of the mind. From books to emails, from short messages to smileys. The trivialization of communication in chaos competes with the charging cycles of autonomous vehicles. The network is overloaded.

Every discussion is charged with morality, the ROI in the afterlife allows unlimited exploitation, and in war, all means are LEGAL.

the greater reset - minas bench - buenavista cervera item no 14 - mina - author of the dragon image
the greater reset – minas bench – buenavista cervera item no 14 – mina – author of the dragon image

Anyone who manages to exchange weapons for money turns money into a weapon. Then every money trade is also a trade of weapons. And since opinions can also be bought these days, the – published – opinion also becomes a weapon.

It is just a story. To attribute meaning to it misses the point. The story may create or motivate a question, but it cannot formulate an answer. We are too different for that. I will come back to that – gladly.

Community for dummies – Food

We have been here for 5 full days now. The kids asked me today how long we’ve been there. For them it already felt like 2 weeks, said the eldest. The boys are doing great! Anyone who is a parent will understand that a happy child makes a happy parent.

Owenn learns from Juan to make a bench out of wood.
Javi and I accompanied Francesca to the garden and the chickens.

They adapt well to the climate and to being around “strange” people. They really seem to feel at home here. One thing that may take a little getting used to for them is the times to eat. The rhythm in Spain is so different from home. We are late eaters by Belgian standards, but the Spaniards really take the cake.

Add to that the fact that we often eat together and that this is not always something they know or like, can make for some grumpy children.

But all this indirectly creates interesting situations for me. Being used to doing things my own way and then coming into a community with more people to take into account are really two different things.

I’ll try to explain what happened. Yesterday in the afternoon we agreed that we would eat fries (fries = happy children). The five of us went to do some shopping in a village nearby. That took a long time and we were back late. I was under the impression that people would already be busy making the fries. But that turned out not to be the case. Dinner was made in the evening, but something completely different which I wasn’t sure who it was for.

Then several things happened. I am a huge conflict avoider. I don’t want to bother anyone with my problem and I don’t want to make anyone feel like they didn’t do a good job. But I was also annoyed that it was now late, the children were not getting what they were promised, they were hungry and grumpy and I, as a mother, had to deal with it.

What I should have done was ask. Ask what happened to the existing plan. Ask what was going on now. But the above mentioned qualities stopped me from doing so. So what I did was not communicate, make soup for the boys that they liked and solve it myself. This is how I’m used to doing things. There is a deep-rooted feeling in me that I have to do things myself and that there is no help or that others do not want to take care of me or us.

I know where this comes from and I also know that this feeling and behavior is holding me back to be the best version of myself. Both for myself and for others. What is beautiful and at the same time very difficult is that community living gives me a lot of opportunities to break free from these unserving beliefs.

But for someone who doesn’t want to make mistakes, it is sometimes a real challenge. Old pain surfaces and may be resolved. I think I knew this would happen, but I secretly hoped that everything would go smoothly.

Very unlike me, I had a conversation about this today and luckily there was nothing but understanding and support.

I understand that this sounds like something small to some, but for me it is the beginning of a new life, a different view and an interesting learning path.

Community for dummies

In February of this year we dared to take the step. We as a family of 5, with no experience with community what so ever, drove over 1600 km to stay for a week in a real community.

Well, with real community you might think of a place where many people live together, where everyone has his or her task and where expectations for each other are high. If that’s the case, then we maybe didn’t go to a real community.

FamiliaFeliz is an un-intentional community. And this fact, the no intention part, does not necessarily make it easier for a dummy. Maybe even the opposite. If you know what is expected of you, you know what the intention is, than you can do it and you don’t have to think about anything. But then, here in FamiliaFeliz, that is just not the case. So we dummies came here to figure out how things are done here.

This week at FamiliaFeliz was amazing and also a bit overwhelming. We talked to a lot of people, considered a lot of options and most interesting we fell head over heels in love with the town. With a head bursting of information and with a lot of questions about “what now” we went back home.

In May we made the same trip again. This time, due to circumstances, we did not stay at CASAdelDRAGON, which gave us the space to view the area around in a different way.

Now it is July and we are here for the 3rd time. This time we will stay in CASAdelDRAGON for 6 weeks and really immerse ourselves in what life would be like if we want to move here. Because that is our idea.

For anyone who is interested in FamiliaFeliz, community life, emigrating with children, or just wants to follow our journey. I’m going to try to document these 6 weeks for you. The ups and the downs. The honest story.

I am writing this blog on the 3rd day we are there.
The children found the swimming pool. They are 13, 10 and 8 years old and can easily go to the pool on their own. Cervera del Maestre is a charming, small and well-organized village. With peace of mind I can let the children do their own thing here. For now they are having a great time. They enjoy getting their groceries in the supermarket or the bakery. We don’t speak Spanish very well yet, but luckily they don’t let that stop them.

Ben, my husband is still working remotely for the first 3 weeks. It takes some time to figure out how and where he can best do his work. If all goes well, from tomorrow he will have a place outside the house so that we don’t have to get in each other’s way as much.

And for me. The first day was arrival day and settle down day. Plenty to do and little to think about. Yesterday things got interesting. The kids did their thing. I didn’t necessarily have to do anything. And so I walked around a bit like a headless chicken. Fighting that feeling that I needed to do something. Looking for a mode that worked. I read a bit in the Spanish sun, but I didn’t get much more out of it. In the evening we enjoyed each other’s company with a BBQ on the roof terrace. Today was already better. I got behind the laptop to do some work and wrote this blog. I enjoy being creative and this can be done in different ways. There are a number of plans for the coming week to express this. But life can also be slow here, if you want. And I think this suits us to.

In the community now there are 9 of us in CASAdelDRAGON. 5 adults and 4 children between 14 and 8. Some speak English some speak Spanish but not everyone can speak both which makes for funny situations but also for a great learning opportunity. This composition will not be the same for the entire 6 weeks, some will stay, some will leave, others will join, some will come back. Since last week, 3 people have also been living in the garden of FamiliaFeliz. We will certainly meet them these days, but yesterday’s thunderstorm threw a spanner in the works.

My husband and I walked through the village yesterday evening. Every time we do that our heart beats faster. We both agreed that before we went, 6 weeks seemed like a long time, but now that we’re here it feels like 6 weeks isn’t going to be long enough. Whether that is really the case, you can read along with us here in the coming weeks.

Thanks for joining 🙂
Gwen

The day after – welcome Linux

the day after - welcome linux
the day after – welcome Linux

This is a story of a mission, the story of a fascination, the story of an enterprise and the story of a new beginning. When we bought the first x86 based personal computer in 1983, two years after the introduction of PC – DOS 1.0, it was not yet clear where the journey would take us. The decision was a big one back then: a computer or a good used car.

When researching prices, we also sat opposite a group of office equipment salesmen who couldn’t understand why a young man in old jeans would want to buy a computer. The idea of ​​making such an investment without a well-developed business plan was outrageous.
What began with the clear prompt quickly led to dBase, Framework, Lotus1-2-3, batch programming and an exploration of Pascal, later Turbo-Pascal.

Address databases, letters and form letters, budget planning and programming work aids for our own transport company, first steps in the field of digital graphics. It was a journey on a high-speed train and we were always in the first wave.

digital art - juan petry - 1983
digital art – juan petry – 1983

Hardware – software – who else – what rhymes well in German was the direction (meaning: machine, software, human). From the beginning, the question was what this technology can do, how it will change the world of work and thus the world itself, and what it means for people, for those who work with it, for those who keep up and for those who stay behind.
The introduction of microcomputers was comparable to the introduction of automobiles. In the beginning, driving a car meant maintaining and repairing it, it was a job, and going out was the highlight, but hardly part of everyday life. In an old manual for a pre-2nd-world-war car, I could still read: stop every 50 km, remove, clean, check and reinstall spark plugs.
In the beginning, everyone was an administrator, operator, user. And the upgrade of the first hard drives, the increase in RAM, the exchange of a better graphics card, the networking with network cards, the first internal modem, the ISDN card… a race, a pit stop… a learning curve like no other, and always in the first wave.

Assembling IBM computers in Cologne, delivering them, setting them up, introducing them to the use of the hardware, customer training – the way was paved for the trainer, first in the companies, then in the public universities. It was a steep journey, and always in the first wave, training an entire workforce of a German IBM supplier that produces motherboards, and always focusing on the reality of people in the working world.

The list seems endless. From programming the first simulations (how people move around in rooms in special situations, parties, sales rooms, evacuation) to creating teaching materials for new software applications, teacher training, business consulting, network administrator training, and the first mailbox-based online course in Germany in collaboration with the city of Cologne.

digital art - juan petry - 1983
digital art – juan petry – 1983

And there was always one person present, the elephant in the room, the company that offered the leading operating system for micro computer and many other products based on top off it.
As interesting and enjoyable as this journey was, right at the beginning I had the chance to talk to veterans in the field of mid-range computing. They had started with System/3 and had been virtually overwhelmed by the introduction of these microcomputers.
They were tired of the constant updates, tired of the constant reworking of code. Moore’s law was and is the observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit (CPU) doubles about every two years, and the expected program errors probably double as well.

These veterans were simply tired after 30 years on this high-speed train. Younger and younger people were increasingly storming past them, with new ideas.

I was aware of this when I got on the train, and so the exit strategy was there from the start.
The new technology was also ideal for art production and marketing. What started with handheld scanners, OCR and high resolution offered by the flatbed scanner, continued to control CNC milling machines and laser cutters, and always in the first wave.

What had already become apparent at the end of his career, the shift in interest from personal computers to networked servers, continued and the emerging free software promised much more and faster innovation. The intelligence of the masses, as a grassroots democratic movement, as a sociological phenomenon. After OS2, BSD and UNIX derivatives, the focus was drawn to Linux.

digital art - juan petry - 1983
digital art – juan petry – 1983

And so it went from batch to bash, from Dephie to PHP, from dBase to MySQL. The elephant in the room was still there, the interface to the world of servers, part of the comfort zone, known.
People are said to rarely change banks (that will certainly change in the future). They also probably rarely change their OS (and that will probably change too).

Every big step from the old into a new unknown comfort zone has its victims. From the prompt to the GUI it was certainly dBase, Ratliff’s post-football-games statistics-motivated Vulcan-named creation. The new step leaves Photoshop behind. The rest… was already better and more attractive.

Today – on June 8th, 2024 – the elephant has moved out. The desk has a new “top”. The new GUI shines, and the prompt happily calls out, a home run:

mysqldump –login-path=backup –no-tablespaces –column-statistics=0 –protocol=TCP –user=${USER} –password=${PASS} –host=${DBSERVER} ${DATABASE} > ${FILE}

One line backs up the database of this website… in the CRON job.

Even if the free habitat of public domain software is being infiltrated by commercial interests, it is a path to a new era. Don’t talk, do. In times of mass migration, it is not only the analogue that migrates. It is time again for departure, travel, arrival.

Vizita din Moldova – The visit from Moldova – Aftermath

apeal visit - aftermath - a leap into humility and forbearance
apeal visit – aftermath – a leap into humility and forbearance

When inviting a group of teenagers and young adults from different cultures to an ordinary home (CASAdelDRAGON), one would be wise to show humility and forbearance. These pictures describe the chaos that we had to clean up after the group of youth left. And above all Francesca should be mentioned, who had helped a lot days before arrival to get the house in a condition that could cope with the rush. And again she was helping a lot to clean it after!

The images describing reality, and they should also find space in a review. But they are not an accusation. The children of this time are a reflection of this society. And every criticism of these children is actually criticism of ourselves.

Spaces like the CASAdelDRAGON, which offer a social space to experience yourself and others, in cooperation, in success and in failure, are all the more needed.

The children from Moldova and Romania made such a trip for the first time. It was a journey into a foreign culture, with foreign customs and believes, but also with different values and strategies.

They have witnessed with their eyes and ears what life is like in a Spanish mountain village today. And they were able to discover and experience themselves through joint action.
Responsibility is a word of submission. It comes into life as an attempt by one person to burden the other with something that he/she themselves want to get rid of. Trust is expectation. Confidence is self-confidence. So let’s not talk about responsibility, but rather about cause and effect, about significance, and let’s talk about the confidence in a new generation that can only grow through failure.

apeal visit - aftermath - a leap into humility and forbearance
apeal visit – aftermath – a leap into humility and forbearance

Anyone who only sees reality in the rearview mirror will hit the wall. Follow caution, intention, supervision and forbearance (german quote VORsicht, ABsicht, AUFsicht, NACHsicht = CAUTION, INTENTION, SUPERVISION, FOREIGNNESS).

We made this stay possible by accepting gifts from friends and supporters of CASAdelDRAGON and by intentionally donating our own resources. Cleaning up afterwards is part of it.

Stupid people learn from their mistakes. Smart people learn from other people’s mistakes.

anonymous

When we later look back on this time – the free movement within Europe in spring 2024 – the negative sides of history will fade out and the beautiful shared moments will shine ever more intensely. What remains with us are our good experiences, not the things that once surrounded us.

When these lines were written, it was impossible to foresee what this journey would bring, when they are read, it is just the beginning…

Vizita din Moldova – The visit from Moldova – Day 11

apeal visit 2024 - supporter
apeal visit 2024 – supporter

At the end of this journey we would like to say thank you to countless supporters. Without this private, social commitment, such a project – which is not publicly funded or subsidized – would not have been possible.

Some supporters could be seen in the pictures, others stood and still stand in the background. Francesca (CAT), Miet (BEL) and Maria (COL) are represented here (left to right, surrounding Maria from Moldovia, the President of the youth organisation there).

The list will probably remain incomplete, but we would like to mention a few: Jens (GER), Antje (GER), Corinna (GER), Judy (US), Jon (US), Aura (NIC), Ludmila (MOL), Aria (ESP), Paul (UK), Lisa (CAN), Wilma (GER), Leslie (POR), Gwen (NL), Ben (NL), Agneska (POL), Didac (ESP), Monica(ESP).

This list is certainly much longer… but something catches your eye. This list is as international as this village of Cervera del Maestre and its residents.

apeal visit 2024 - airport castellon
apeal visit 2024 – airport castellon

La revedere.