Since we ended up in Central Europe, a tradition in the autumn has been to participate in two fantastic events with a wonderful mix of freedom-thirsty untamable souls and to be part of everything in between. At least this gives me a little more motivation and a little fuel to get through the year, and especially this one. This time I took over and arranged the Philosophy Europe Convention. It was different but it turned out really good. Here is a short story:
Philosophy Europe Convention 2020
Philosophy Europe Convention is a unique gathering in Prague since 2014 for philosophy-interested individuals where they share their ideas and struggles for more freedom in the chaos around them. We meet to talk about freedom, austrian economics and how we can protect our families from the state and also discuss how we can find meaning and understand life in a better way.
This year was completely different partly because the organizer from the previous years couldn’t arrange it, and partly because the corona restrictions prevented most participants who usually come from abroad to even get there.
Since this event is important for freedom-lovers of this kind and it would be sad if it didn’t happen at all I took the opportunity and decided to get it done. I arranged it by pulling some strings, fixing the venue and the programme, getting people to get there and despite the lack of resources and the everyday chaos in a family of 5 it worked out and much better than I even thought was possible.
As Sweden is one of the few countries that at the time didn’t have any special travel restrictions to the Czech Republic, the participants were mainly a mixture of locals in Prague and Swedes. It was great to have the philosopher and the talented Alexander Bard on board as well, and to be able to show some parts of our community of political refugees from Sweden and what unschooling and worldschooling means.
A tour of Paralelni Polis and the vineyard in Troja
The first day of the event we had coffee at Bitcoin Coffee in the cryptoanarchists’ Paralelni Polis. There we also had a special tour and could see the creative corner where 3D printers spray out brand new inventions and where there is also a professional studio, lecture hall and a co-working place.
Paralelni Polis is a very special place for those in Prague looking for actual ways of living in a free society. It is a parallel community centre for those who wants to get out of the system in the most tangible way: by using cryptocurrencies instead of fiat currencies to protect their property. Those behind the project are also known for their amusing pranks, such as to have taken down the flag from the castle and replaced it with a huge pair of red underpants, attaching QR codes for bitcoin on the flag and then cut it out and handed out the pieces to the people, as well as the prank in the picture above – to adress that the state can kiss their butts because they were not “allowed” to use their original banner to advertise the upcoming event Hackers Congress.
On the same day, there was also a walk included in the botanical garden’s vineyard where we tried both red and white wines and ate grapes from the vines that hung around the entrance.
A rainy weekend with philosophy talks at Maze
Last weekend it was tropical temperatures which changed for an arctic cold and uninterrupted rain during almost the entire philosophy weekend. However, it didn’t affect us much as we stayed warm and cosy in the alternative tea house A Maze in Tchaiovna, which is a culture centre run by a happy czech/british family where you get a little lost in the underground maze and secret rooms and they accept bitcoin as well. At the bottom of the maze there is a small stage where we planned 3 speeches and also got a spontaneous one as a bonus. We are infinitely grateful that we have been able to borrow the premises and that we are welcome to have future events there as well if we would like to.
First up on the stage was Simon Andersson, speaking about “AI as a tyrant and liberator”. Artificial intelligence can be both good and bad, and if I understand it correctly it is the programmers themselves who decide how AI should think – if the programmers had a preference, it would also show in the AI.
After some fast steps through the pouring rain towards a lunch break at a Czech traditional brewery that served large pieces of pork, we hurried back again to the cozy cellar room and continued with some more philosophy.
Alexander Bard’s topic “Hegel, Nietzsche, Whitehead – Libertarianism as the heroic ideology of the digital age” brought up a variety of complicated ideas and descriptions of examples in history where he explained that the world consisted of different kinds of people – the heroes, the shamanoids and the large mass of victimhood-culture-worshipers who creates a lynch mob that points out a scapegoat and attacks that person because they have no ideas of their own to talk about and how we organize the digital chaos created by giving 7 billion people access to the internet through algorithms.
It was great that Mattias Ribbing spontaneously spoke about how you could become smarter with screens – he had recently released his book under the same theme called “Skärmsmart“.
The following day I told the the story why the state shouldn’t have anything to do with education, and how you can solve it (by in the worst case scenario voting with your feet) and what fantastic opportunities there are for children that have the possibility to learn “self-directed” because that is how we humans learn naturally and this is what we are designed for. My slides are here.
A visit to Liberland’s headquarters
After the lunch break we moved on to another part of the city – a cozy district called Vinohrady. We walked at a fast pace to the Liberland embassy where we met with President Vít Jedlička and the first lady Jana Markovičová that showed us around. Liberland is a small country on an island in the Danube river between Serbia and Croatia.
The founder of the Liberland project, however has trouble living in the actual country due to the politics of the neighboring countries, but there are embassies for Liberland in most countries and there are forces fighting for its existence including the one in Prague where the president’s family also resides. In 2016 our family went on a trip to Liberland, and there was also a story written about it in the magazine Politico.
Excursion to Český kras and the Karlštejn castle
A tradition in this annual gathering is also to go on a full day excursion. This year I chose to go to a village in Český kras where our friend Přemysl guided us through forests and meadows towards the magnificent castle Karlstejn and then back along the river Berounka under water-heavy rain clouds.
We were lucky that we didn’t get wet in the rain as it rained during our lunch break and not when we were walking. It was quite comfortable and the temperature was good for walking a few kilometers. Last weekend it had been tropical and we swam in the same river we were walking back along to the village. The day ended with a long coffee break at our friend’s place before heading back to the train and ending this year’s event – and then to have a couple of days of rest fore the coming weekends exciting event Hackers congress.
Philosophy events in the future
This year I adopted the concept of the Philosophy Europe Convention which is a fantastic event for freedom lovers with combined discussions, speeches and walks. It belongs so well to the autumn and is a nice warm-up for Hackers Congress, but in the future if the original organizer doesn’t arrange something, I will probably do my own thing entirely instead – and there will possibly be more and regular events for us who like unschooling / bitcoin / austrian economy / the NAP and are based in Prague.