In the clouds – bearded ancestors,
Bells on the frost ring.
— Anatoly Alexandrov.
Where do we live? What are “settlements of Family Homesteads” or “eco-settlements”? Are they just names of settlements? Or behind these words is there a deep difference of meanings, ideologies, and ways of life?
It has widely been known what an eco-settlement is. The motive for their creation was a protest against the senseless city life and all its ensuing consequences. In fact, this is an escape from the urban way of life. Eco-populations exist all over the world.
In the late ’90s in Russia, the idea of ”Family Homesteads” was born. The family homestead is a plot of land 1 hectare in size, where the family lives, creating their own paradise on Earth. Currently, the idea of family homesteads is booming in Russia, is of great interest in Europe, America, and many countries of the world.
What is the difference between these two forms of concern about the urban environment? And is there a fundamental difference? After all, any form of moving to the Earth is good.
Having lived 14 years in our own Family Homestead in the Kovcheg settlement in the Kaluga region of the Maloyaroslavets district, we came to the conclusion that these are completely different paths, different goals and lead to a different future.
In eco-settlements, everything is common, there is nothing of the family’s own. Often families themselves are not even their own. The whole life and activity of the eco-village is based on the powerful authority of the creator, leader, or ideologist.
By contrast the Family Homestead is a self-sufficient unit, in which one provides for oneself, etc. Of course, it is better when there is a community of Family Homesteads in the form of a settlement, but even one homestead for one family is self-sufficient. This is some kind of indivisible unit in which the whole world is concentrated, the whole Universe, everything is there.
The best eco-settlements are known for large public projects on the creative transformation of nature. Settlements of Family Homesteads also have such projects. There is no difference.
There are many talented people living in eco-settlements, there are great achievements in the field of alternative energy, permaculture, ecological construction. Here, the inhabitants of Family Homesteads have much to learn. This is the topic of possible cooperation.
The most important key question is the question of the composition of the family. In Family Homesteads live traditional families. Children are born at home and mostly brought up at home. In eco-settlements – there are same-sex marriages, families of polyamory (when several men and women live in the same house and give birth to children in arbitrary combinations), and in general anything else on this issue. Children from two years of age are taken to kindergarten. The question, “Why?” is usually answered, “So that they do not see the dirty life of adults”.
In 2015, the world ideologist of the eco-settlement movement, Diana Christian, came to us. It’s very good that she came, and we learned everything first-hand. When she was asked the question, “Do you have homosexuals?” she replied, “Of course there are.” This response caused a murmur and indignation in the hall. There was a pause in the hall. Residents of Family Homesteads tried to explain to Diana for half an hour that homosexuals are unacceptable in a settlement of Family Homesteads since this phenomenon does not contribute to the birth of healthy offspring. She, in her turn, asked in perplexity: “This concept that you really don’t like is all the same allowed by law.” Mutual understanding did not arise. That’s how first-hand we learned the ideology and philosophy of eco-settlements on this crucial issue.
The next moment: the so-called question of the planned rotation of the population. Imagine that a peasant family lives, well, let’s assume our ancestors. The house was built, the garden planted, the garden was planted, settled and live happily. And then five years later they come to them and say: “Well, get out of here – we have a planned rotation of the population!”. Guys for the forks will take, right? And in eco-settlements, this is the case. The very stay of life and work in the eco-settlement is considered as a certain stage, however, it is not necessary to linger.
Of course, historically our ancestors did not always live in the same place. They left for separate trades, mastered new territories. However, the concept of “Homeland” has always been present in the soul of the Russian man as the most fundamental concept. If a person has arms, legs, head, then there is also the Homeland. This was implied, it was self-evident. Even if a person was not in his homeland for ten, twenty or more years and then returned, this was a perfectly normal, ordinary and necessary action. More precisely, the right to have a Homeland is an inalienable human right, the same as the right to life.
Having lived for several years in a Settlement of Family Homesteads, many come to understand Rod, feel a vivid sense of the need to collect their Rod. To do this, invite living relatives, celebrate sunny holidays, plant trees on your plot in honour of departed relatives.
In eco-villages, this can not be discussed. It turns out that in eco-settlements by default there is a ban on consideration and rethinking of main worldview issues, such as Homeland, family, or Rod.
If you pass through our settlement on a warm summer evening, you will feel a gigantic life-force coming from homesteads where people live permanently. And the nature of this force is similar to the character of the owner. Trees, plantings, location of buildings – everything tells you about the owner of the homestead. It can be said that each person paints his self-portrait with living paints on living land. In the near future, the settlement will look like this: from a bird’s eye view it will be a gallery of fine self-portraits of the creators of Family Homesteads. But the plots on which people come only rarely stand as if sad. They do not have such an optimistic life force.
In our opinion, one of the sides of the genius of the Family Homestead project is that it contains an exact balance of public and personal.
Ask the question – which is the best plot in our settlement? – Of course, mine. And I will prove this on 10 pages of printed text in small print. And the best site for my neighbour is his plot. And the most amazing thing is that there is no contradiction in this. Go into some homestead and politely ask the owners to show their plot. You can be sure you won’t be leaving any time soon! You won’t be released until you’ve been shown the very last bush! And then of course there will be tea, chat, conversations and the rest … And now imagine the community when the whole settlement consists of family homesteads.
Let’s talk quite simply. Where is it better to live, in an eco-settlement or Settlement of Family Homesteads? Of course, in the Settlement of Family Homesteads. “The fish seeks where it is deeper, and the man – where is better”.
If the inhabitants of the Family Homesteads can easily perceive the best achievements of the eco-settlers mentioned above (permaculture, ecological construction, alternative energy, that is, positions on the improvement of the habitat that are acceptable and desirable), then in order to perceive the idea of Family Homesteads, eco-settlers will have to give up homosexuality and polyamory, that is, revise the very foundations of their life. Ecology alone does not solve the main environmental issue — the question man’s own ecology.
For us, there is no doubt that it is better to live in a Settlement of Family Homesteads, but it is more difficult. And we are talking, of course, not about material difficulties. According to our observations, for every inhabitant of the settlement who began to make at least small steps towards the knowledge of the Divine program of life, streams of information literally emerge from the huge chalice. Apparently, the hope of our righteous ancestors for every inhabitant of the settlement is so great that every inhabitant of Family Homesteads is now precious to the Universe. Great hopes are placed on everyone.
The visit of Diana Christian coincided with a seminar “Perfect the Dwelling Land”. Nobody planned it specially. The seminar was conducted by one group, and Diana’s visit, by another. In addition, Diane Christian is an elderly person with weak health, so until the last moment it was not clear if she could even get to Kovcheg. However, by an amazing coincidence, these two events took place simultaneously. Two Americans of Russian origin came to the seminar “Perfect the Dwelling Land”. It was very bad and boring in America, and they came to Russia to look for land for the arrangement of their Family Homestead. When they saw Diana Christian, they were very surprised, and one of the women who lived 25 years in the US literally said the following: “What do you have Diane Christian doing here? What can she teach you? After all, you are already far ahead!”
We are old-timers of Kovcheg, and we remember very well that when creating the Ark a group of pioneers was inspired by the ideas of Anastasia, set forth in the books by VN. Megre, the “Ringing Cedars of Russia” series. These people managed to create a very bright, creative image of the beautiful future life in Family Homesteads. And the image works in an incomprehensible way, despite all the temptations to deviate from it, which arise in the minds of some of our inhabitants.
Our planet-mother, Earth, rushes with great speed in outer space, every second time it turns out in another place. Thus, every day the whole universe, every person, literally every cell in it – is different. In order to retain the image of the Divine dream in oneself, we must confirm this image in ourselves every day in the most direct concrete sense. Not everyone always succeeds. Some people’s original beautiful image begins to blur. They have the illusion that “I’ve already built this homestead, so now I’m smart, I’ll move on”.
The spread of opinions on how to live in a whole settlement is huge. Some say: “I want everything to be cool here, like in a cottage settlement”, and try to convince the rest that we do not need any Family Homesteads, and we need to build a cottage community. Others say: “The idea of Family Homesteads is morally obsolete, outdated, we need to join the world community of eco-settlements, because that’s the only way they recognize us and then we will receive Western grants”.
At the same time, people who continue to think in the mainstream of Anastasia’s ideas come to the very opposite conclusions. They come to the realization that the Family Homestead is a powerful living device for the materialization of any creative dream of man. The functions and limitless possibilities of this living instrument, we have just begun to feel, understand, while some have already started to use them consciously.
Still others say: “We live in a village, we do not need any self-management, we need to give all powers to the municipality – the municipality will do better.”
The fourth sing: “Only Krishna will save us.”
The fifth ones declare: “I will build a hotel complex here and I will serve foreigners dearly!”
First you marvel that these are the same people who, at the time they joined the general assembly, voiced their intention to build a Family Homestead and nothing else. How much were they swept away from their own dreams, their own idea! And how to explain that the accumulated grace in space is the spiritual product of the life of all of us living here under the laws of a new civilization and this is grace for all, but it can not be traded? How to be through all of this?
Those who staunchly adhere to the Anastasia’s ideas sometimes find themselves a minority in the settlement. How can you not quarrel, do not argue, do not say – “Why did you, dear neighbour, say one thing at the general meeting when you were received, but now you say something else, and you sing completely different songs?”
And how to be through all of this? At the same time, all these people are your neighbours who have helped you more than once, and you have saved them many times, and with which you will live for many, many years. Whoever has a ready-made solution – tell me!
In fact, we now see that the image of the Anastasia settlement is still stronger: people hold on to their plots, make plantings, no matter being distracted by short-term ideas and hobbies of the moment. For the sake of completeness and fairness, it should be noted that some of our residents, who have struck the idea of eco-settlement for a while, are currently reviewing their views, returning to the original image of Anastasia’s settlement, and openly and honestly talking about it. And even people who originally came as consumers, rather than creators, are forced to eventually recognize that Kovcheg is still an Anastasia settlement.
In 2016, we also observe in conversations with local and federal officials that they, the officials, had a decisive change in the perception of the words “Family Homestead”, “settlement of Family Homesteads”. If earlier officials often strained and twitched on the topic, now, “They aren’t sectarians who came to visit me!” – all is not the same.
Now, in the overwhelming majority of cases, there is benevolent interest and support on the part of officials. It is something imperceptible, inconspicuous, but very much changed. Promotion of the idea of Family Homesteads has reached a new stage, one can say the stage of the State.
The efforts of the Government and the President to promote the idea of Family Homesteads are already clearly visible. The number of settlements of Family Homesteads is growing. More and more people are finding their Homeland, they are learning the Divine meaning of life.
A. Gornaev, academician of the Academy of Family Homesteads, E. Katkov.
Kovcheg Settlement of Family Homesteads, March 2016.