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A Lesson in Anarchy (Christiania)

Even in Europe I seem to be drawn to South American cultures. Some hippies from Bolivia and Venezuela, as well as the Canary Islands, were selling jewelry on the street. Before long we were playing music, drinking beer, and joining the hippies and a crazy American family on an adventure to the anarchist town of Christiania.

Part of me is drawn to the idea of anarchy. Not anarchy that lets people steal, vandalize other’s property, murder, or do whatever they want to do. But I am attracted to the idea that a society can operate outside The Pyramid, and without building a new pyramid of money and power from within.

Christiania is an area of Copenhagen just a short walk from the centre of the city. It started out as a group of squatters who, after 30 years of squatting, had official claim over the land. From humble beginnings it has grown into a town that operates outside of the laws of Denmark.

The police turn a blind eye to the marijuana stalls and whatever else goes on beyond their walls.

Heading back to our hostel I wondered what is better: hierarchy or anarchy? Which is more inclined to bring about peace?

Is there a greater possibility of peace with a hierarchy or with anarchy? I guess it depends on your definition of peace…

Which brings about less violence? Which brings about greater freedom? Which empowers its individuals? Which gives them a greater sense of purpose? Which brings about more creative and less destructive consequences of conflict?

Some food for thought over the months to come…


Christiania has some laws, including NO PHOTOS INSIDE.  This photo was taken of our new Canary Island friend Moses at the entrance to Christiania, before I knew their law…

Attempting Politics

Three years ago, before I went back to uni, I voted Liberal. Why? Three reasons: (1) Because my Dad voted Liberal. (2) I wasn’t interested in Politics. (3) I didn’t know the difference between Liberal and Labour (Australia’s Right and Left). Not a good place for any voting citizen to be. And certainly not the best intellectual place for a person who has just enrolled in a Master of Arts. But that was why I was there. I felt an abyss of lacking knowledge and a desire to try to fill it.

I thought in case some of you are in this place it might be worth sharing some of my notes.

Some definitions, and possibly a more accurate and simple model is the continuum above – showing Left to Right.

The picture blow locates key political ideas in a circular diagram, with left and right to the sides, classical liberalism on the bottom, theocracy at the top, and anarchism in the middle. I’m not sure if this is completely accurate, so please let me know if you think some elements might be put around different ways. I’m actually not sure what inspired this, or how I came to locate these where they are.

Of course, as with any definitions, words carry different meanings in different contexts, different places and at different times – as this clip of Noam Chomsky talking about Anarchism, Libertarian Socialism and the development of “renting out our labour”:


Rethinking “The Pyramid” – do alternatives exist?

I want to revisit the social, economic and political pyramid I discussed in my last post: Preserving the Pyramid- the Reason Things Are the Way They Are, sharing my evolving thoughts on the question: do alternatives exist?

While it seems overall human civilisations only really know the pyramid, if we think outside the square – could any other shapes work?

When I first considered this question I drew a number of shapes:

Could we operate in a circle, a flat line, a square, a rectangle, a diamond?

“How about a a flatter pyramid?” I asked my friend.

“That’s Communism,” he replied. “It tends to make everyone poor, and just a few mega rich.”

I nodded woefully. Over time I have looked to other sources of inspiration.

In animal kingdoms…

In nature…

In space…

Inside ourselves…

From our minds…





I think my favourites are 1. THE SPIRAL 2. THE WEB 3. THE HUMAN BODY

Spirals might have interesting usages but probably not in this context. It makes me think of the pyramid on steroids, kinda what we have now – with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer in a manner that is spiraling with no limits.

Webs on the other hand are an interesting idea. Could a political, economic and social structure be more like a web than a pyramid?

Does the World Wide Web already provide a platform for this? Maybe.

When it comes to the organismic shape of the human body, I have to wonder: Do the my body’s organs and cells operate in more of a pyramid organisation structure, with my brain at the top and a hierarchy of body parts below it? Or does the networking of my spine through to the individual nerves throughout my body, the connections between my body and my mind, connections between my heart and veins, between lungs through alveoli and capillaries and through to feed oxygen to the cells in the tips of my fingers- is this more like a web?

Are our brains like pharaohs, monarchs, dictators and bankers, sitting at the top enjoying the work the rest of the body does? Or are our brains, spines, hearts, lungs, nerves and senses showing us a different system? Could our society be modelled on this?

If my foot and my arm squabbled about taking over from my brain, my body wouldn’t function so well. I need my feet to walk, I need my mouth and voice box to talk, just as right now I need my fingers to type. If my stomach goes on strike, my taste buds aren’t going to have much fun. If my hand decides not to feed me, I will die. Similarly if my hand feeds me endless amounts of McDonalds and chocolate – seeking short term pleasures at the cost of long term body functions – I will also die a relatively quick death. Similarly if those up the top of the human pyramid neglect those at the bottom, it won’t take long for the whole pyramid to fall.

While my entire body seems to be an integrated web, when it’s a working system some parts do seem to have more fun than others: I’d rather be a brain than a finger, just as I’d rather be a taste bud than a stomach. I’d prefer to be rich than poor in the capitalist world. But one without the other doesn’t really work. All body parts are happier the more happy/healthy the other parts.

At the end of the day, whether we have a system based on a pyramid or a body,

What I would really like to do is draw a big circle around the pyramid and label it “ecosystem”.

Look at your $1 bill and you will see this symbol is already kind of there…

A pyramid with a circle around it.

The “All-seeing eye” – “a universal symbol representing spiritual sight, inner vision, higher knowledge”, is a Masonic symbol that is a “mystical distortion of the omniscient (all-knowing) Biblical God”[1] which goes back as far as the ancient Egyptian god Horus.

Rather than representing an omniscient God, the all-seeing-eye makes me think of the growing fascist-nature of our governments, and the rich/elite/powerful who control them.

That’s not so bad, in my mind, as long as there is that circle around it which (ironically) is already there on the $1USD note!

I think it is really important  to remember what our social, economical and political model is located inside – an environment with limits.

The great pyramid of human civilisation can outgrow itself and if our Pyramid bursts through this circle there will be no humans left to build another one.

Can the pyramid work within our planetary limits? Maybe. I think it is possible for everyone to live out their lives playing their individual roles that altogether work for the good of all. I think it’s possible for us to have different levels of power and economic wealth, so long as together we create an anatomically correct system – that is, one that fits proportionately within our ecological circle. In order to do this, population must be limited, hence poverty must be limited, the crazy wacky food production lines must be changed (I just watched Food Inc. ewwww!).

If human civilisation is to be a functioning body, we have to re-think the roles and functions of its constituents.

There must be rewards of all the roles and each should be designed to be desirable and fulfilling. Just as unemployment might be depressing, so is living 70-hours a week in a concrete prison in the sky.

I wonder what would the social/economic/political roles look like if we were living within our ecological limits?



Most from google images – forgetting to take note of owners, although most have their websites on them.

That great photo of the snails is from WAPPY AL –