Citadels have gone from a somewhat negative bitcoin meme to a serious consideration among people who are ready to act. What was born as a joke is now widely discussed in the community, and the word citadel is part of many bitcoin-related brands. Appropriation at its finest!
Still, many newcomers are confused with the term. What does a citadel stand for? Is it an actual fortress? A city full bitcoiners? A space station? I attempted to give a definition some time back which is, to this day, quite relevant. However, as time went by, my and other enthusiasts' understanding of the concept evolved. In fact, it has become so diverse that I now feel the need to revisit the topic and describe the types of citadels that dominate the discourse.
I took the liberty of organizing citadels into seven levels. The result, from the smallest to the largest, expanding outwardly with each level, is below.
Level 1: The Inner Citadel
In my humble opinion, the first level—the inner citadel—is the most important one. The reason for this is quite simple: as the outer reality is a reflection of your inner world, it makes sense to put a lot of effort into developing the latter. Without a solid foundation, no building will stand long. Granted, self-work is a lifelong process. But there is a level at which your external work in the physical world can go with ease because you can be sure that the base will withstand the weight of the building.
What "work on yourself" involves is beyond the scope of this article. Most likely, you can guess as you have seen countless resources, good and bad, on this topic. He who seeks will find.
A mature world can be built only by mature individuals. Do not neglect what is within. All you need is right where you are. Start now and never stop.
Level 2: Individual Sovereignty
Now that your inner foundation is established, it is time to work on the physical realm around you. A citadel is a place of autonomy, independence, self-reliance. Becoming a sovereign individual is the second level of your citadel.
Look at the various areas of your life. Where do you depend the most on third parties? In what domains are your hands tied? Is there an aspect of practical daily existence in which more flexibility is desirable? You will surely find that there is a lot to improve.
Tentatively, here are some domains of personal sovereignty that you may pay attention to:
- Mind: seek knowledge, remove the noise, learn to think for yourself.
- Body: in a healthy body lives a healthy spirit.
- Security: learn to defend yourself and your loved ones.
- Production: secure your survival by producing what keeps you alive, do not be at the mercy of supply chains.
- Wealth: accumulate assets to become independent from the tribulations of the labor market, provide a better start for your children.
- Brotherhood: nourish your community, gather with like-minded individuals, grow collective power.
- Legacy: work for the future, build for the coming generations, leave a mark.
When your personal citadel has been, for the most part, established, going to the next level will not be a huge challenge.
Level 3: Family
A lone wolf may survive only for so long. A pack has a much higher chance of facing the realities of the natural world. Family, properly organized, is your most immediate group of supporters, partners in life. Commit to building a loyal family citadel, and the results will be long-lasting.
Whether you live in a small log cabin or a vast family estate makes no difference. They are where you are. And that is the true power of familial relationships.
You may not have much success transforming your parents (and there is no need to) and only moderate victories with your spouse (as long as the basics are covered, you are good). But children are a blank slate. That is where most work lies. From the very beginning, you must expose your offspring only to the best intentions, the most caring parenting, the most beautiful surroundings, a community of like-minded sovereigns and, of course, Nature herself. For what happens in their first years of life stays with them forever. Some day, they will take the reigns. Make sure you pass your legacy to someone who knows that hard work and merit are of utmost importance. There is no guarantee, but the odds are in your favor if you pay attention to your family. Competent heirs will not only keep your citadel alive but will make it stronger, more powerful and influential.
Level 4: Community
Scaling up, we find that outside Family, you have to interact with other individuals and families for various purposes—social, spiritual, economic. One family is a cell, several—an organism. It is, thus, imperative that you put effort into building a community that consists of those who are on the same page as you are. There is no way to agree on everything, but there exist some basic principles that can be adhered to by everyone.
Form your community around a common core. It can be a shared religion, a moral or ethical code, tradition, ethnicity or an important long-term goal. Whatever it is, all members have to be bound by it. Think about the physical location. Leave the mixing to places of work and street markets. To be undisturbed, to ensure continued stability and flourishing, you must segregate your community from others that have no desire to live according to your principles. Friends live separately; a tribe—together.
Level 5: A Country
If your community lives separately, then you have formed a village or even a town. There will necessarily be other villages around you as well as natural resources like land, lakes and rivers, forests and so on. Moreover, your communities may be peaceful and civilized, but others not so much. A possibility of aggression makes like-minded settlements join forces, unite into a larger structure that can defend its territories.
There may be various governance schemes for such newly-created countries, but, hopefully, ones based on merit will prevail. Your kingdom or republic can be confident that it has a better chance of survival in the unpredictable, still mostly wild, world. Over time, trade and exchange of knowledge and tradition among the country's villages, towns and cities may lead to an emergence of a new civilization for whom even the sky is not the limit.
It is also possible to start a country from scratch in the digital realm, a digital citadel, with a further plan to occupy some physical territory. Many will try. Time will show which approach shines: a voluntary association of tight communities that have already lived together someplace or a collection of random individuals who may have known each other online but never met in real life.
Level 6: The Planet
All these countries have to co-exist on the same globe. Until we are a space-faring species actively settling on other planets or in space (it will take a while), Earth is the most precious homeland we have. Its surface is limited making it the humanity's scarcest resource. Yes, there is also bitcoin but you cannot build a house, graze cattle or raise fruit upon it.
Our physical life starts on Mother Gaia and it ends here, too. We do not build this citadel: we are merely visitors, passers-by. We must take care to think long-term so that the coming generations enjoy living on our planet even more than we did.
As much as we want to live separately from those who are different, there is no true way of doing that: we are all on Earth. Sooner or later, we collide, and the cycle repeats.
Level 7: The Cosmos
The final citadel is the one whence everything comes and thither everything goes: the Unity, the Totality, the All with its physical manifestation, the Cosmos.
We spend all our lives wondering what is out there. It is impossible to ignore—humans are curious beings. Even though we know little, we are still in awe at the potential of it all. The cosmic citadel that we inhabit is home to everyone and everything we know. We are all part of it, we are it. The vastness of space makes insignificant any strife we have witnessed throughout history on our little blue dot.
Look up at the night sky and see what is. With a bit of practice, you will find that there is a lot more than meets the eye. The macrocosm you gaze is a facade for something greater—the limitless, unfathomable, unreachable Source. Contemplating upon it will inevitably bring you to its counterpart, the microcosm. As above, so below. As without, so within. The inner citadel is back in focus. You are, once again, at Level 1, ready to fill the gaps, make yourself even more complete and in tune with the broader reality.
And just like that, our discussion of citadels turned from merely building a hideaway from undesirable elements of society to a multi-faceted subject matter that covers individual sovereignty, family, community, national and international relations, spirituality. You may think that these are the options that you can choose to pursue. It is no so. All seven levels play an important role in your becoming a truly free, sovereign being. Do not neglect them. The years you are given on this rock are limited, but the citadel that you erect in the course of your life may stand forever. Get to work.