cc Weird Al. Yankovic

Intentional communities: Amish Paradise

by  [•…•]

 

I intend to live with you in my little Village, until the end of time or some sort of plague breaks out and we need the help of technology we that we choose to neglect for decades. And if all else fails we can stay around our celebratory bonfire singing the song of our people. There is little to talk about these communities that has not been treated in one way or the other in pop culture in recent time. These communities stem from the wanting to stay among like-minded individuals. The reasons from establishing such a community may be differ in terms of base motivation, be it social, political or spiritual, but mostly all of them promote a social cohesion, voluntarism and teamwork, the hippie’s dream, with particularities.

One year after the release of The Village, linked above, the creator of the award winning documentary “SuperSize Me”, Morgan Spurlok, released a tv show called “30 Days” where similarly to ‘SuperSize Me’ he puts himself or other willing individuals to live for a period, you guessed it, 30 days under unfamiliar and challenging situations, in the 3 seasons he pairs volunteer border guards with illegal immigrants, he and his wife lived on the minimum wage and in episode 5 in season 1 he takes two people to live off the grid in an ecofriendly community, and while the participants struggle to adapt, the host presents documentation on the theme of each episode. Here is a direct ThePirateBay link to the torrent for the 1st season, episode 5 is the relevant one to this post, I would have provided other ‘legal’ links but this situation applies. I claim no responsibility for YOUR choice of action: ignoring the link, researching the show or piracy.

Another heavily embedded into contemporary culture is the Amish way of life, who chose to keep their way of life relatively unchanged since they came to America from Europe in the 18th century, they are extremely reluctant to adopt any new technology, especially when it contravenes their ethics.

Under the evidence of “The fellowship of Intentional Community” there are as of writing 2437 such gatherings across the world. The largest of these being the Danish ‘Freetown’ of Christiania, one of Copenhagen’s neighborhoods. Initially a military base that was abandoned in 1967, by 71 the holes in fences gave way to groups of people slowly taking residency in the base. Claiming that it is indeed a hippie’s dream, where any and all can find refuge. It has come so far that Christiania, has a representative in the local government, and has special internal rules that the community fallows and there are special laws in regards to the management of the property, while the land is still owned by the Danish Defense Ministry, administration is done by the government and not by the city’s council. And while there have been several violent incidents where the government tried to relocate the residents, Christiania sees roughly half a million tourists each year, most Danes bringing guests to show them something truly unique in Europe. This probably has nothing to do with the fact that the Freetown has its own marijuana market, condemned by the state, but at the same time tolerated.

While this particular community is a spark for much debate many important lessons about people can be learned from Christiania. Such lessons stem from the community’s banishment of hard drugs, of biker gangs who wished to ad drugs inside the community; the fact that while the government spent roughly 100.000 euros in an attempt to establish a new architectural plan for the region, and later dismiss all proposals, the community established group meetings and workshops and made their own urban-plan, which gained the support of the municipality, this was done in less time and with no actual expenses for the state.

I can only wish for such civic involvement in my town, my country, to say I dream big, I wish the whole world would take example. But it’s not the most feasible model on a large scale. But still I like to think that man is good, malleable, but good, because he is social, and such communities bring the best out of those who wish to take part, since they are incentivized to actively participate in everything that affects them.

 

Do your part for a better world!

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