Photo by Laura Pazo (CC BY-NC-SA)
Yes, it has free love, vegan food, Wi-Fi and a low carbon footprint. But it also has unchallenged assumptions, ramshackle housing and a questionable belief system, finds social media analyst Jamie Bartlett.
by As the sun rises over the Portuguese countryside, I find myself standing in a circle on top of a hill with a group of strangers, grasping hands, eyes shut. We are gathered around a collection of enormous stones, a candle, a ceramic bowl filled with water, and a crystal. A woman in white robes is humming, and we are trying to stop the war in Syria using our thoughts in an exercise called the Ring of Power.
I’m at the eco-village of Tamera, which is a two-hour train journey from Lisbon. More than 20 years ago, a band of Germans arrived here with little money and an ambitious plan to create what they called a “healing biotope,” a template of how humanity could live in harmony with themselves, their fellow humans and the environment.
The Ring of Power was one of the items on the agenda for the forty of us outsiders. Every several months, Tamera allows visitors to live here for a few days and learn how it works. It cost us €350 each to attend, plus €30 each per day for food and accommodations.
Tamera is split into two sites. On the western side is the Campus, where visitors stay. It has a bar, café, kitchen, eating area, cultural center, bookshop, guest house, male and female dorms and auditorium. On the eastern side are the 150 full-time Tamerians. They reside in small villages of 20 to 30 residents — who range from babies to octogenarians — who inhabit caravans, huts, yurts and shacks. The whole place has the feel of a half-finished holiday campsite.
The visitors are mostly well-off Westerners dissatisfied with what the modern world offers and looking for more meaning. Tamera is the brainchild of psychoanalyst Dieter Duhm. He’d been involved in the 1968 left-wing student movements but was confused by their failure to transform the world.
Like other ’68ers, Dieter concluded it wasn’t the material world that needed reshaping, it was the mental one. He came to believe that unresolved sexual desire, jealousy and a lack of trust were the reasons for our problems. Dieter, his partner (and a self-described medium) Sabine Lichtenfels, and a handful of others founded Tamera in 1995. Continue reading Eco-villages… Tamera.. Future Blueprint or Escapist Adventure_