Building Golgonooza: Christiania Freetown, an alternative community

Copenhagen’s alternative self-governing society

Christiania9 (1)Founded in 1971 when a brigade of young squatters and artists took over an abandoned military base on the edge of town and proclaimed it a “free zone” beyond the reach of Danish law, Christiania (or Christiania Freetown) is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood bang in the centre of Copenhagen. There are bars, cafés, grocery shops, a building-supply store, yoga centre, a lake, cobblestone roads (no cars allowed), a museum, art galleries, a concert hall, a skateboard park, a recycling centre, even a recording studio. It’s also the only place where the the sale of cannabis (though no hard drugs) is officially tolerated. The people of Christiania fly their own flag and use their own currency.

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The End of Nature:  Blake and Pantheism, by Rod Tweedy

Babylon, Nature-worship, and the Sleep of Albion 

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‘Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand!’

As Kathleen Raine has noted, “the sleep of Albion is in a word the materialist mentality of the modern West.” However, this “materialist mentality”, for Blake, denotes not only the belief in the Newtonian universe of orthodox Science, which many are now questioning, but also the belief in “Nature” itself. For Blake, the “Creation” – the emergence of an apparently objective, natural, and material world – and Albion’s fall into “Sleep” were one and the same event.

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Jesus and Nonviolent Resistance (Mental Fight)

Love your Enemies

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You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy,’ but I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. [Matt v: 38-48]

Commentary by Marcus J. Borg

There is a habitual conventual way of reading this chapter of sayings as commending passive acceptance of wrongdoing: don’t resist somebody who beats you; go the extra mile; don’t insist on your own rights. Colloquially, be a doormat – let people walk all over you. Moreover, it has most commonly been understood to refer to personal relationships, not to the political realm. Most Christians have not thought of this passage as prohibiting participation in war or capital punishment. Official violence is okay. But all of this is a misunderstanding of the passage whose effect is to domesticate it politically. The powers that be are pleased with the doormat reading.

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William Blake, Thomas Paine and the Bible

Blake’s Annotations to Bishop Watson’s An Apology for the Bible

Bishop Richard Watson’s An Apology for the Bible (1796) was written as a response to Thomas Paine’s trenchant attack on Christianity in The Age of Reason (1794/1795), which had attracted huge popular attention and become a best-seller in America. Paine had challenged both the historical accuracy of the Bible and its morality, and offered as an alternative the more ‘rational’ (and therefore more eighteenth-century) religion of ‘Deism’.

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