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…

Photo:

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…

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