Why are things like marriage, the nuclear family, and happy childhoods so under threat of extinction and what did we all get wrong in raising our own children too quickly, at age 18, become autonomous beings cut off from the family home?
We emphasize freedom. But most people think freedom is purely an individual thing. However, in practical terms, if freedom is only an individual thing, then every lone individual or detached nuclear family stands as a sole figure against mega forces, like monopoly corporations and the central government, and the vagaries of life and nature, defenseless and vulnerable.
Freedom must necessarily include shared identity and the shared sovereignty to define that identity in terms and according to standards reflective of the individual’s beliefs, values, and convictions. This is not something the culture of today even grasps, which is why the atomization of individuals and their emotional and economic vulnerability is only getting worse.
This leads to the introduction of something we have lost in our culture, not merely an extended family of around 20 or so adults clustered near each other, but a cluster of such extended family groups consisting of around 120 adults which is self-contained, self-sustaining economic and sociocultural unit, a fractal of an entire nation or even an entire civilization.
WE INTENTIONALLY PRACTICE EXTENDED KINSHIP
People are not made to be isolated and separated. Life in the Kingdom is not just about what we do individually, but how we live with others. Our lifestyle is an expression of agape love in family, community, and collaboration. A Shirehold is an intentional multifamily extended household community in close geographical proximity.
From The 17 Protocols of Upadaria, Protocol Seven
Clustering together with people you warmly feel kinship toward is essential to both personal freedom and shared freedom that shields you from external influence and control that isn’t in your best interest. We can say, regardless of the politics of the hour, that without a deliberate restoration of this kind of extended kinship, at the scale of a tribal band or village, freedom itself will continue to fade and centralized top-down control will increase until we are all atomized cogs in a machine that uses us like a commodity.
When family as an idea lost that sense that it was, organizationally, a self-sustaining and self-contained socioeconomic unit, a fractal of the whole national people and of civilization, it became insular and fragmented. Only self-actualization and the benefits, of love and affection, for the individual mattered.
It’s not that tribal bands of around 120 adults and their extended households of around 15 adults didn’t in some way also emphasize these benefits to the individual. The more healthy ones did and likely endured for centuries. But in practical, material matters, the outsider would see them as economic or corporate bodies as well as social and cultural familial groups.
When people mostly see family as two adults under the same roof or a single person and children, and when they only “marry for love”, then the atomized little “family” is hopelessly weak and incapable of meeting its basic needs without dependency on external structures. When the FEELING of love decreases this “family” is split or when external pressures grow beyond what two people can bear, there is suffering and even a potential breakdown.
In the Upadarian sociocultural and spiritual belief system, what we call a Shirehold, as a community of individuals within extended multi-family household groups, is for us the essence of family and such family ought to cluster together in the same physical space wherever possible. As some say, “family can be anything you want”, we agree, and while we certainly don’t want to compel anyone to adopt our Shirehold model for what family means, we also desire to be free and do so in peace.
Extended multi-family kinship groups connected to each other as a community of such groups, what we call a Shirehold, is for us the core constituency for our civilization. It, and only it, is a fractal of the whole civilization. While the individual, the nuclear family, and the kinship group of around 20 or so adults are essential elements of the Shirehold, the Shirehold is for us the true family. It is this and nothing less than this.
We are not proposing that people who don’t buy into this and whose idea of family differs aren’t families. Family, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. But for us, family isn’t its elements alone, like the individual and a nuclear family, it is this collaborative and mutualist community of around 120 adults who have a high degree of organic cohesiveness.
The argument against, say, having a cluster of around 30 to 50 nuclear families and related single adults living in the same space exclusively together, is rooted in the fair housing law. This law is in many ways perfectly useful, in principle and spirit. It prevent discrimination in housing. But its focus is too narrow, it isn’t based on the core fractal of human civilization. This fractal isn’t the nuclear family, it is these 120 adult extended kinship communities.
As noted, what we call the Shirehold is the smallest possible fractal of an entire civilization. Our concept of pluralism is based on kinship groups of people who cluster together as a household community, that is, a self-sustaining sociocultural and socioeconomic fractal of civilization.
Throughout history, most of these tribal bands of around 120 or so adults had a form of kinship not connected to blood. In most cases where remains can be tested, where one of these bands existed, the blood ties of their members were not prevelant. In other words, kinship wasn’t usually limited to blood kin. Wheoever shared your values and shared in the common good was kin.
There are potential pitfalls and real tradeoffs in seeking to revive this extended multi-family household community in the form of something like a Shirehold community.
In the past, extended multi-family households tended to relegate women to menial roles, though this was neither universal nor essential to the model. Additionally, there is the problem of feeling surrounded and suffocated or even feeling controlled or limited. This isn’t a feature of healthy Shireholds, by whatever name you call them, but of unhealthy ones. Stratified gender roles and interference with individual spiritual sovereignty are not essential to or an inevitable feature of these tribal bands, extended multi-family household communities, or, as we call them, Shireholds.
But it is true that when you decide to be connected to other people there are some seeming limits on your own scope of choices. The tradeoff of total individual autonomy is loneliness and vulnerability to mega corporations and the government, against whose mechanisms of influence and control you have no defense.
Shireholds would be massively empowering to individuals, give you more say in the social and cultural as well as economic milieu of your life than ever before, and shield you from external mechanisms of influence and control that pressure you to conform to things not suitable to your interests or values.
They would, however, spell the end of your lone ranger life and require some level of commitment and participation in the lives of others. Nothing good is free of any cost or inconvenience, but the tradeoff is always well worth the cost. The benefits are far greater than whatever you have left behind.
We argue that something like a Shirehold community is essential to the individual, marriage, the nuclear family, and childhood. It is also essential to a prosperous, healthy, and free society. If we desire to build freedom anew we have to find a way to develop these intentional Shirehold communities based on some form of organic cohesiveness that is strictly based on freewill participation by consensus among equal peers.
Around 120 adults, and whatever other connections they have as a body to other adults, living in close harmony, both physically and spiritually, both socioculturally and economically, is the core fractal and constituent entity of any nation of people, of the area-wide Ecclesia as a spiritual city-state of the Elect, of any country, of any civilization, and of the entirety of human civilization.
This is a shared conviction and value, it’s neither a doctrine nor a proposed law. The same concept of a single house or apartment and a single nuclear family applies to these Shirehold communities which may include 30 or 50 houses/apartments in a clustered living space with its own economic and material self-reliance resources capable of ensuring the physical well-being of every member. Legally, the ability of individuals to form such communities as an extended multi-family household community based on some form of adoptive kinship, should be as sacred as any human right.
The ability and power to choose and be part of a clustered living arrangement of around 120 adults who have a shared kinship of some kind must be asserted and respected by the greater society as it should any form of family people desire. The arbitrary limitation on what constitutes a family is a form of intolerance and bigotry against a broad spectrum of choices each individual should be free to make.
An entire book could be written about the Shirehold: what it is, why it must exist, why it is essential to Christian culture and a Biblical lifestyle, what its advantages and costs are, its governance in the modern world, its structures and functions, and why its right to exist must be codified into laws which only envision single home “families” and which do not take into account multi-house familial living arrangements where “family” is much larger than a nuclear family.
We do not propose these Shireholds as a racial or genetic construct: they would best be purely voluntary freewill participatory kinships based on a shared identity rooted in a common set of beliefs, values, and convictions. In our case, we propose a form of intentional spiritual nationhood within the larger universal nationhood of all Believers in Yeshua.
Our ideal communities are pluralistic communities made up of diverse individuals and nuclear families who still use the Western model of individualism and diverse clustered living estates or neighborhoods for different types of multi-family extended household communities, what we call Shireholds.
The only reason we want these estates, which are where Shireholds would cluster together, to be more or less exclusive to members of the same Shirehold is because, for us, a Shirehold is the basic family unit, while the individual, the nuclear family, and the kinship group are all elements of this family unit.
We recognize the danger of discrimination in housing, but this danger can be mitigated through a legal limit on the size of an estate, much as a single house can limit who lives there. An estate conjointly owned through a mutual benefit corporation whose shares must be owned by people of the same Shirehold, for instance, doesn’t discriminate any more than a single house occupied exclusively by members of the same nuclear family.
We further recommend that a Shirehold estate have space for helping internal refugees and asylees as well as offer housing and retail space to the public to offset costs for members. These housing options would certainly not discriminate in any way.
Regardless of all that, people clustered together as an extended multi-family household community of around 120 adults will form the basis of the emergent civilization. These structures will endure through whatever upheavals and crises will come because the old and dying civilization that surrounds us continues its detachment and atomization.
The development of these Shireholds as our basic family model and their eventual clustered living lifestyle as a single self-contained and mutually self-reliant sociocultural and socioeconomic body of people is essential to building resilient freedom. The ultimate proof against corporate and/or government gigantism and centralized control of your life is the restoration, in modern form, of what were once self-contained tribal bands.