To grow up in one ecovillage
The foreword of the book The New Family; the communities of New Age.
When I read the draft of Juma Vitali’s The New Family; the communities of New Age, I thought about a particularly controversial book, written several years ago with some speechs of Osho Rajneesh: The Greatest Challenge: the Golden Future. Among the proposals of that text there are the ones of a world government (the conspirationists, probably, will not agree, even with all arguments about the steps behind of democracy in European Union), genetical engineering (which is not appreciated by many people) and “a world of communes/intentional communities”. The word communes within the speechs of a guru who has shocked the world with his collection of around one hun-dred Rolls Royces could be particularly controversial too. It is not easy to compound one of the top status symbols of wealthy people with the dishes cleaned, poetically, in the river, to use a kind of stereotypical image of seventy’s communes’ season. Anyway, the idea to include the communitarian life in one philosophical perspective, mainly focused on meditation and personal development, was not, in my opinion, to despise. A similar perspective, even with some crucial differences, is the one of Swami Kriyananda, pupil of the famous Paramhansa Yogananda and founder of several colonies of universal brotherood (Ananda vilages) to live and grow, spiritually, together. In this book Juma proposes something similar, integrating personal development and communitarian life. More specifically, she postulates that for living harmoniously together it is necessary to follow an educational training to contain the destructive effects of some physiological human behaviours. This process to form a future good new member of a New Age community starts at the moment of the birth. It involves his parents, the adults of community and his future educators. In other words, it is possible to find, in this book, one concrete project of communities including individuals born, grown up and trained in a harmonious way by people who had the chance to develop in the same direction. In this way it is maybe simply a winning integration of “individual” and “community”. In the 20th century many ideas had been proposed about “individual-community” issues. Philosophers as Max Stirner (author of The Ego and its own) have proposed conflict perspectives, considering that whatever is just socially structured is incompatible with the needs of “free selfish individuals”. Other philosophers like Martin Buber, kibbutznik and author of Ich und du (I and Thou), considered a good dialogue ability among individuals and within communities as an essential skill to live in the most complete sense of the word. Mostly in the second half of the 20th century, we had several experiments where the binomial individual-community has been declined in very different ways, leaving space for “promiscuity”, collectivism, sobriety, social and ecological commitment, etc. Today, at the dawn of the third millennium, experiments have to go on. What is proposed in this book will be verified in the field. The New Family is a project partially in process in Florianopolis (Brazil) and it is beginning in Italy. It is using innovative techniques of childbirth and introspection, a sperimental pedagogy, green building and permaculture. It has many presuppositions to be successful in the creation of communities able to pass the test of time. From our side, we should be ready to get inspiration from the strong work in progress of the author of this book and to offer whatever support we can. Enjoy your reading!