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The ultimate simple philosophy?

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    Hi all,

    I was searching for something and found this forum, which seems to be the best possible platform to post my rant 🙂

    It may be slightly off topic, but then again – it may be just ON topic…

    I’ve been unhappy with some aspects of modern civilisation for some time now. I believe we are wasting enormous resources, and that’s not only in the traditional sense people mean when they say we waste resources. For example: just look at the amount of space wasted for roads and parking lots. A new children’s playground is now being built near where I live, in a wonderful green spot that was left un-urbanised and guess what – they started with bulldozing a large part of it for a parking lot. Why not make cities more compact and not need so many cars in the first place? Why should we have so many gadgets at home “to save us time”, and then use this saved time plopped in the sofa watching TV? Why spend enormous resources on TV, cinema, video games etc. (their budgets are mind-boggling) instead of getting live entertainment where you get to meet actual people? Why spend enormous money on supermarket food and kitchen gadgets to get tasteless food, when a simple stove, a cast iron pan and some butter and hand-ground flour can give you real taste?

    And so on, and so forth (sorry, I haven’t written up the whole philosophy yet).

    So, what idea did I come up with in relation to this, I hear you asking?

    Well, if we admit that our “modern” civilisation took a wrong turn somewhere, why not go back a bit and start again? Not everywhere, obviously – that’s impossible, but in a small purpose-built community somewhere in rural Australia? In short, I propose to build a small town along “Ancient” principles and see if quality of life there will be better than “modern” life or not (my theory is – yes, it will be better or at least the same but with much less resources). If the town produces its own food using Ancient technology – all of it will automatically be organic. Having no cars will make it more compact and will not waste land. On the other hand, people will be able to walk everywhere – imagine living a five-minute stroll from shops, pubs, theatres, public baths…

    I have made a web site for the idea: – and am currently looking for people who would be interested to join and help organise it. One of my inspirations has been Organic Farm Share ( ) where my wife and I are shareholders – it got organised from scratch, got enough shareholders, bought 280 acres and is already producing. Yes, a whole town is something much larger but – why not?



    Welcome to the forum. I think you will find that most of the people on this forum are trying to do similar things, albeit mostly on a smaller scale. I think your idea is a grand one, and that making it work would be wonderful. Many people have tried similar things in the past, a handful have succeeded but the majority unfortunately have not been fruitful (for numerous reasons). I like to think of this website a little like your idea, in that like-minded people gather here and share ideas, help each other, and generally find a sense of belonging.

    Good luck with your idea, I’m sure you will get a lot out of reading these forums to help you along your way.


    Good luck with the project, but I find it ironic that you’re proposing to build “a living Antiquity-style city” with “nothing, in fact, which the Ancients did not have”, but using that most modern of technologies to publicise it – the Internet.


    Welcome to ALS and good luck with your Big Idea.I just looked at your organicfarmshare link and it’s one that I think all ALS members would enjoy.There’s currently a similar trimmed down version under way in the South Burnett, SE QLD.I just visited your web site too Pavka. :tup: :clap:

    Wazza, I don’t suppose the Internet will always exist, so let’s squeeze all we can out of it for our own and others’ benefit while it’s still here!!


    Yes, it is ironic to use the internet… However, modern communications have made all other methods of communications extinct, so I can’t employ a “town crier” to shout out the idea at a public gathering where it will be heard.

    Another part of my rant is the death of normal communication… People used to write letters to each other before. Long, informative letters, where you actually sat down and spent a couple of hours composing the letter. In this way, you a) made the letter meaningful, b) since you were writing it in person (and on expensive paper!) you tended to keep junk out of it, and (most importantly) c) when trying to compose it and work out what you want to say, you spent time THINKING and ordered things for yourself, in your head, first. With email and instant messaging now – fast, free, unlimited, “always on” what happens is – you send short notes, you don’t think, you don’t care – “because I can always clarify things later” and you end up knowing what your “friends” had for breakfast, but not knowing anything important about their lives.

    Not to mention the fact that the “web” is so huge now that whatever you publish will probably end up not being read by the people you want to reach because they can’t find it… (that’s the topic of my PhD research, incidentally :-)).


    You are so right, Pavka.I used to enjoy writing long letters to very scattered family and friends around the world , and I still treasure their replies.I tried to buy an airmail writing pad not so long ago when I got the urge to actually write a “proper” letter – air letter forms are way too restrictive for someone who enjoys writing!! – but they are not sold any more. I did see a blank large pad in town today that would just do. Most people in the future are not going to have written family memories to treasure…..I think I might go back and actually purchase that pad!! :laugh: Photos is another whole issue with digital cameras and mobile phones…….


    Hello pavka.. and welcome to ALS :wave:

    A very interesting – dare I say daunting – project a head. :tup:

    Well, if we admit that our “modern” civilisation took a wrong turn somewhere, why not go back a bit and start again?

    You hit this on the head. The trouble is, I believe the majority of the public (excluding us of course) don’t think for a moment we took a wrong turn. And those that do are too lazy, ignorant or greedy to make the change.

    No doubt these questions have cropped up in your planning sessions:

    What are your council’s regulations to property sharing? How would you go about ensuring all shareholders toe-the-line, and what are the ramifications if they don’t?

    As has been said, similar ‘communities’ have been attempted – albeit not Rome-flavoured – but for one reason or another, they fell by the wayside (I even considered something similar, but nowhere near as grande) :

    disagreement about something; people not pulling there weight/doing their share; shareholders just deciding to sell up and leave ..

    What can be done to avoid these situations?

    Not been through all of it but the website looks great! And I do wish you luck in your endeavours :clap:



    Hi Andre,

    please feel invited to the project, it’s people like you that I came here to look for 🙂

    To answer your questions (or observations) one by one:

    “the majority of the public (excluding us of course) don’t think for a moment we took a wrong turn” – many don’t think at all… The project is not for the majority but for a small minority.

    “And those that do are too lazy, ignorant or greedy to make the change.” – I haven’t formalised the answer to that yet, but the idea is to make “greed” work for the project – yes, I know people are lazy (I am a lazy person myself too). So – enter greed… If you help advance the project – you get A, B, C etc. in return (become a Patrician, get some perks… haven’t come up with a list yet). Also, I realise people will have to give up a lot if they go and live in such a place. In the way of compensation, a serious effort will be made to make life interesting there – the job of the city magistrates will be to come up with festivals, spectacles etc. (come to think of it, that was the case in Rome too :-)).

    “What are your council’s regulations to property sharing?” – there will be one actual title on all the land. Within that, the council will give out (or sell) “virtual” titles (or 99-year leases). These will carry conditions – if you don’t play by the rules, you get two weeks notice and leave. So, in one sense, you will “own” a plot of land and be free to build a house there, or a pub or smithy or whatever else you want provided it’s compatible with the overall experience. If you want a McDonald’s franchise – you are out.

    “they fell by the wayside” – yes, because they tried to a) be totally artificial and just imitate the real thing (Old Sydney Town), or had nothing to stimulate people to actually go there and do something (Crossroads). I’ll do my best to differentiate from these, but it will be an ongoing struggle.

    “disagreement about something” – Roman-style democracy (Late Republic)… The Plebs vote, they can be outvoted by the upper classes, they can be trumped by the Senate and the Senate can be veto-ed by the Dictator.

    “people not pulling there weight/doing their share” – that’s why the Romans had formalised “economic classes” – you belonged to First Class, Second Class etc. depending on your property and the taxes you pay. The lower you go – the less your vote weighs. So, you are free to contribute as much as you want, but if you don’t – you lose your political representation.

    “shareholders just deciding to sell up and leave” – hopefully not all of them at the same time… There will be some turnover obviously. It will have to be an on-going balancing act between privileges you get and what you have to do. That’s why the whole thing will be positioned as FUN in the first place…

    “What can be done to avoid these situations?” – Senate, Plebian Assembly and full-time politicking in the Forum :-)). (which also comes under the heading of “fun” – when was the last time you had the opportunity to actually debate a point of politics with the people who rule the country? in person?)


    –mistake, please delete


    This sounds wonderful in theory. I do have a few points to raise, coming from someone who has done a lot of research into ancient civilisations.

    My questions are:

    1. Military..? Protection against outside forces on the town? Political dissent? Uprisings?

    2. Taxes? Obviously some one must pay the politicians and the dictator?

    3. Education? Who will teach the children?

    4. Medical? Will there be Dr’s, midwives?

    5. religion? None? Any? If none, what will you base the festivals on?

    I have more, but will take a look at your website first.


    1. Military – no, it’s only a town not a country 🙂 Local police though – yes.

    2. Local taxes, yes (e.g. just ordinary council rates).

    3. Education… I have this vision of a new (or rather – old :-)) type of school, with teachers etc. but no computers, where children have to do their own stuff instead of getting computers to do it for them.

    4. Doctors, midwives – yes. Roman medicine was actually pretty advanced. However, there will come a point where someone will require modern treatment and I guess they’ll have to leave the town for that.

    5. Religion – yes, all of them :-). The Ancients were pretty tolerant, before Christianity appeared. There was an official “State” religion (on which we can base festivals), but it wasn’t forced on anyone – not until much later (I’m aiming for the period of I century BC – I AD, before the period of Nero and the other crazy emperors).


    Hmmm…I’m not sure it’s necessary to brand modern life as a wrong turn. I for one am very thankful for the facility of a hot shower in my own home everyday. And by the smell of some people on public transport in summer I’m very thankful they have that facility too…

    In any case good luck with your project I hope you can find enough closet Roman’s to set up shop with you.

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