Monday, December 04, 2006

the haunting remains of a Jesuit social experiment

In South America, Missions of a Lost Utopia - New York Times--There's an interesting recounting here of a Jesuit-created society in South America in the 1700s that is precursor to the communities of our fin de siecle Arts and Crafts movement, which inform a lot of the models for our networked, intentional communities coming into being today.

"Thanks in part to Roland Joffe’s 1986 movie “The Mission,” there was a renewed surge of interest in the movement in the 1980s. Still, it was only in recent years that Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil began to restore and promote the missions — which, at their peak, had more than 100,000 residents and produced not just music and books, but also metal utensils and food for export — as tourist destinations.
Even now, the 30 existing missions are in widely varying states of repair, as I found during a weeklong journey through what was once known as the Jesuit Province of Paraquaria, and the infrastructure is hardly luxurious."

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