It is the early morning. You wake up from your sleep refreshed and thankful for another day on this earth. The morning routine awaits you, and you go through it as you did yesterday and as you will do tomorrow. Meditation is your favorite part. Not the Eastern kind, but your own: on a terrace outside your house, enjoying the Caribbean breeze, the sights of the sea, the cawing of seagulls. Your mind is serene—no thoughts disturb it at this very moment.
Having spent some time away from the physical realm, you return into your body, now recharged not only physically but mentally. Your life resolution is as strong as ever: the Work must continue. It is of utmost importance that the citadel is finished on time. But first, family matters.
New Babylon has been under construction for over a decade. While the budget has never been an issue (bitcoin kept appreciating faster than it could be spent), logistical hurdles have knocked things off the schedule more than once. In a world undergoing radical socio-economic changes and extreme power shifts, owning the rarest commodity in the world does not always guarantee getting what you want. There are no white or black markets anymore. Just one big messy agora. The powers that be, the losing side, grasp at straws for ways to subvert the rapidly accelerating exit of the masses into economic sovereignty. Supplies of materials are abundant, but the losers still control most of the landmass and the aerial traffic, so they figured that messing with the movement of goods was one way to slow down the demise of their power structure. Of course, while successful in some cases, they were unable to kill what gives the movement its unstoppable momentum—human ingenuity. The problems created by some are market opportunities for others. In some crooked way, people welcome government interventions as they generate new ideas on how to earn more sats. A constant game of cat and mouse.
The first brick was laid eleven years ago as soon as the rather quick negotiation with the local government secured an agreement that would guarantee complete autonomy to whatever would appear on the land plot in question. For a severely underfunded government in dire straits, any deal on the table prompted serious consideration. When a group of earlies offered to buy a piece of coastal land that, while having a strategic location, had never been used, with the closest development over fifty kilometers away, the officials did not even raise an eyebrow. The public servants (a truly laughable term today) did make a feeble attempt to negotiate a higher price, but they sure were at a disadvantage. After all, six point fifteen bitcoin was an extremely generous offer.
Fast-forward to today, New Babylon, although still a work in progress, is a monument to human dignity, creativity, and spirit. Three thousand citizens enjoy a life of cooperation, united by a common goal: to build from scratch the material domicile of their spiritual ideals. When seen, the place is a magnet. One would have to be blind to miss the spectacular view of New Babylon while passing by. Located on a hill right next to the coastline, its baroque edifices, bathing in sunlight during the day and moonlight at night, are a sight to behold. With no cars inside the town to spoil its majestic scenery, its narrow streets fill the surrounding landscape as elegantly as Nature itself would have desired. Hard to believe that all of this is not a European legacy from centuries ago but quite a recent undertaking! While ugly has been the new black since the twentieth century, appreciation of real beauty is as immutable and ever-present in the human mind as the stars in the sky. And now it seems to have awakened from its prolonged slumber. The early adopters building this gem would not have it any other way. Once a near-utopian dream, the citadel is now manifest.
The end result is yet to be seen, but, so far, the citadel's progress has not left a single soul unimpressed. So much so that multiple other attempts have sprung up globally to imitate New Babylon's success or test a different approach. Even seasteading is once again fashionable.
Your new home has so far been under the radar of the government forces, whose attention is spread thin among the countless cases of military and civil disobedience. Ever since fiat money became the joke even among five-year-olds, and bitcoin proved to be the commodity that one must possess to survive in the New World, the State has been forced to cancel legal tender laws and collect taxes in any form possible. But the genie was out of the bottle: previously law-abiding citizens saw their friends opt-out of the tax system altogether and get any goods and services they needed from private enterprises. There was no reason not to follow suit. The virus was spreading.
In bitcoin's early days, many people predicted that, if successful, the hardest money on the planet would usher a new era of political experimentation, a New Renaissance in art and culture, return to tradition, accelerated technological progress. To various degrees, those predictions have proven on point, with citadels leading the way. When a bunch of visionaries could not find the perfect place on the whole planet to settle in, they built one. Like houses can be erected for families, so can entire cities for like-minded individuals.
City-states are nothing new. But ones built by wealthy romantic idealists with cultured upbringing, unparalleled intellect, and a strong conviction in a possibility of a better existence for all on this planet, are what will make the twenty-first century a turning point in history books of the future. These enclaves, exclaves, natural and artificial islands, and even enormous yachts finding refuge in international waters attract freedom-seekers from all over the place who understand that the world does not owe them anything. If you want something, you must work to achieve it. The only way to join the ranks of citadel citizenry is to prove your worth—a concept still alien to the majority of the population feeding off of rapidly evaporating government handouts. But this unsustainable way of life is changing fast. The new economic reality is forcing a life-and-death choice upon the masses: adapt or die.
Bitcoin is both praised and blamed for all the turbulence in the world happening today, yet people still do not see the forest for the tress. Any money is but a tool, a means to achieve one's ends. The most sound money on earth is still that. What really happened was the appearance in the collective consciousness of mankind of a thought so powerful, so monumental that the material world had no choice but to yield to it. Combined with real-world action of those who dared, the ideas of liberty and freedom, of throwing off the shackles of physical bondage and economic slavery, was what made it all possible. The human soul had had enough; it had hit rock bottom. From there, the only way to go was up. The Genesis block marked the start of the ascent.
Today is a special day for your family. Your eldest son comes of age. Although there will be a celebration tonight, with prominent New Babylonians in attendance, you find him standing on the balcony staring at the horizon—the big unknown—with his eyes screaming, "I'm ready to go!" Emotional as you feel, your one-on-one with him on this long-awaited day is brief and to the point.
"Son, today, you come of age. Everything I have been teaching you, all the things that you have learned on your own, with instructors, or through experience, must now be recalled. The world out there is most exciting and beautiful but, at the same time, barbaric and ruthless. Remember: this is your journey, and nobody else's. These twenty-one months will be the most decisive in your life. They will form the basis of your real character. You will see many places, meet a lot of people, and experience new things. But never forget that the real search is inside: to find your calling, you must uncover the true self. It is as much a spiritual journey as the physical one. Make sure to train your mind no less than your body. And, most importantly, listen to your heart—it is always on your side."
Just like that, the newly-devised tradition of the New Babylon citadel was enacted once more. Another young bird left the parents' nest to explore the limitless skies of the world. He will learn to prey, to mate, to lead a flock. One day, he may return and bring glory to his home or build a new one elsewhere. Either way, he is confident his parents will be proud.
UPDATE, February the 12th, 2020: After some thought, I have concluded that Citadelium is a better form for what I intended to convey for the following reasons:
- Citadelia, broken down, seems to be made of “citadel” and “utopia.” In no way do I envision the New World be a utopia. Economic and social issues will persist, although bitcoin is a (huge) step in the right direction.
- Since time immemorial, female energy has been considered “chaotic” while male energy “ordered.” A citadel is a place of order and structure, so the masculine version of the word makes more sense.
Going forward, I will post any citadel-related materials under Citadelium.