Da Ladies #10 | Navigating Unschooling and Authority

Da Ladies - Cover 10

🗓️ Recorded June 7th, 2024. 📍 At  Åmarksgård, Lille Skendsved, Denmark

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About this Episode

In this episode, we explore the balance between personal freedom and societal expectations in unschooling. We discuss the Danish homeschool union, revealing the paradox anarchists face when complying with formal requirements. We also discuss how unschoolers can maintain freedom while fulfilling the need to belong within a community.

Our conversation delves into the psychological aspects of compliance and the desire for state approval, encouraging reflection on how this mindset influences self-directed living.

Tune in for insights on maintaining autonomy amidst societal constraints.


Luna Maj Vestergaard: 

Carla Martinez: 

Sara Beale: 

Cecilie Conrad: 

Watch the full interview on YouTube

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With love


Jesper Conrad 


00:00 - Sarah Beale (Host)
Welcome, welcome to episode 10 of Delay is Fixing the World. Here we are four great unschooling sisters from different parts of the world chewing on what we see to be some of the kind of foundational conversation pieces of our unschooling life, and today we're going to talk about authority. And today we're going to talk about authority. That's a big topic for unschoolers, who most people would see as resisting authority. And, for context, luna, my dear sister from Denmark, was in my kitchen yesterday morning in the UK. We were having our coffee as we do, talking about compliance and seeking approval.

This is going to be controversial and around the world there are different frameworks and different instruments used by government to have people comply, different instruments used by government to have people comply, and arguably, unschoolers are skirting this line where we are really living quite seriously, most of the time in kind of some level of disobedience, right because we are throwing off these externally imposed structures that we believe are not for us.

And yet we live in the world. We still live in the world and we still have to navigate um state control one way or another, you know. So we were talking about this. What do you do when you live in a place? Or you or you live in a situation because it's not always a geographical issue where the government tells you how to suck eggs, as we say in English. I don't know if you guys know that term how to suck eggs no, maybe not. Um, like, it's like when someone's trying to tell you how to do something that's so stupidly obvious, no one needs to be told how to do it right. So we all none of us need to be told how to live our life.

That's the point and yet sometimes someone is knocking on the door asking for us to justify and seek approval for how we live our life, and maybe someone wants us to fill in some forms. Maybe someone wants to test our children and make sure they're on track as per the curriculum you know, so the conversation that we were having was if you are in that situation where you feel like you actually have to comply how does that?

sit when you're actually all about not bowing to somebody else's authority, and what does that actually look like for unschoolers? Is it seeking approval, is it asking for permission, and what choice do we have in that? That is something, by way of an introduction to this topic, which we could talk about for days and yet we have only an hour.

03:15 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
So we have to crack some insights right now.

Yeah, hmm, I remember when I was in the in the what's that? Um, we had a homeschool union in Denmark back in the days when I lived there and we were very few homeschoolers at the time and we had this union and legally, this union has to have a board and the board has to have sort of a leader and a second leader and someone an accountant and whatever for people. And, um, the thing is, we were all anarchists and we had to. We had to decide on when to meet and make rules, and it made no sense. None of us was like what are we even doing? It was really really funny and and back in the day, I think things have changed quite a bit since then. So I'm not I'm not talking about how how the world of homeschooling is in Denmark these days A, I would know, and B, if I know anything, I know it changed.

But in the beginning it was a big group of freedom people. Anarchy might be a controversial word, but it was people to whom freedom was very close to their heart. It was people to whom, if you tell them what to do, they're like please shut up. Um, I kind of have to make up my own mind. People who would homeschool, because why don't we just do this ourselves? And so in this group of people who homeschool and and this is the same when I meet people worldwide who homeschool I find a lot of people who just they don't have this compliance in their personality.

It really hurts to comply. It really feels wrong, it really feels like hey, wait a minute, you're rolling over me with a tank here. I can't do this. My soul is being destroyed. I don't know if everyone feels that, but we certainly do, but we certainly do. Compliance is very far away from my heart. Yet I'm willing to cooperate, I'm happy to cooperate, I like community, I want to make things work, and as long as I feel that I voluntarily enter the situation and I could leave anytime, I can do things. That wouldn't be my first, second or third choice. Um, totally I don't mind. So the problem, I think, is authority more than compliance, because if compliance is voluntary, then is it compliance?

06:32 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
I don't know that's the thing I think with these and and that was a big part of sarah's and mine uh, the discussion of the lively debate but, it's just that it's this thing about it really is important.

Again, what do we mean when we say a certain word? So like, actually, so one of the things. So you started out by saying it. Now, sarah, it's like a little bit of a chat about the whole idea of seeking approval, seeking someone's approval, because that is something that Well, I guess everyone at some point we've had to learn to deal with that, because as humans, we have this genetic or biological or whatever it is need to be part of the. It's not the herd, what's it called? The community, not the herd, what's it called? But the community, not the herd. We're not sheep.

Well, some look like sheep. I mean. You know what I mean? We want to be part of the. Can someone please give me the right English word the pack Community?

07:40 - Sarah Beale (Host)
Yeah, my community, I like community.

07:49 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
It's like a biological thing, or pack or tribe. Community, yeah, maybe. Yeah, my community, I like community, or tribe or tribe. Yeah, we, we need to belong. We need also because we we know like when we're born we're like helpless and we're gonna die if we don't have, you know, the, the belonging to the tribe, the pack, whatever, but anyway. So it's something that's deep within us and this need of approval is something we have to address and we have to learn to deal with it and we have to find it. It has to be like a balanced thing Because obviously we want people to like us, we want to be likable.

I mean, that's good to be likable, it's good to be kind, it's good to be happy, it's good to be happy, it's good to be fun, whatever, like all those things. So, but anyway, a bit of context is that the legal framework for homeschooling is different in every country, and some countries you can actually just do whatever the hell you want and they aren't actually looking into homeschooling. There's a few places on the earth not that many, but there are a few places, british Columbia being one, a few of the states in the US. So England is sort of if you've never been in the system. Right in England, you can actually be quite like, do your way peacefully unless someone rattles on you and sends the authorities your way or whatever, but there's like. But there are other countries, obviously the countries where, like germany or sweden, where homeschooling is actually just not allowed and you can't do it. Um, it's very difficult. Uh, in in the netherlands, in france, it's just been now subjected to you have to actually request permission to do it and that will then be granted or not.

And so this was some of the starting points of our conversation. Is that, for instance, I'm like, I'm amazed personally that there's a large community in France of homeschoolers and yet the vast majority have chosen to just apply for this permission, ask for the permission and cross their fingers and hope to get it, and there's a very, very tiny part of the community that have chosen to say excuse me, there's no way I'm asking you for permission to spend time with my own child and keep my own child with me, and they have chosen to step out of that legal framework and actually they're entering into civil disobedience. They're saying this law does not apply to me, I'm not complying with it, I don't want to hear anything of this and I was personally amazed that it's so few. And I was personally amazed that it's so few. I would have expected, like very naively, the entire community of French homeschoolers to go to the Bastille, you know, but that's not what happened. So that's just a bit of context.

So, like we were talking about how come, I mean, why is it that someone would then choose to comply? How come, I mean, why is it that someone would then choose to comply? And that's where it becomes interesting is discussing this whole idea of what is compliance Like. Is that complying? When are you complying? When are you not complying and when are you seeking the approval of someone?

And some of our discussion and it would be interesting to hear your points of view, carla and Cecilie is that I was sort of saying. So basically, I guess, to put it like quite straight, sarah was kind of telling me you are still seeking the approval of the Danish authorities because I'm complying with the law and accepting the inspection. I'm complying with the law and accepting the inspection and we're able to have this kind of conversation without any ill sort of we're really just tossing around the ball and I kept saying I'm not, though I'm definitely not seeking anyone's approval. I'm playing along with a game I'm entering, I'm doing something. I'm choosing to say, yeah, okay, you can do that, that, but blah, uh, but I'm absolutely not seeking approval of anyone and that became sort of a.

An interesting thing is because to me, seeking someone's approval means that I sort of actively have to on some level feel that I need it or on some level like want it or care about it. I have to sort of it's. To me it's another mindset, um, and I guess, man, I mean, maybe you'll add something, sarah, but I guess for Sarah that's not really the this. You can be seeking someone's approval. Well, it's always like can you just what was your? Because I can't actually say what you thought, what you were thinking.

12:28 - Sarah Beale (Host)
Right, yeah, well, I guess I guess for me, um, it's about the, the, the specifics of the relationship, the interplay between one party and another, and where you have an authority, which is the state or the government, asking that you do something in order to receive some kind of right or benefit. And you do it, then you are seeking approval. I have no judgment about whether that's right or wrong, um, because you know. Then we went on to talk about how some of us pay tax some of us might get a speeding fine and and maybe deciding whether they're going to pay it or not. Um, and, and we in in england we pay, uh, we pay a road tax, and that is a contract with the government, literally to say I'm allowed to use the road. I'm seeking approval by paying that.

I'm saying I want to, I want to be approved to be able to use this service, right, and then and we all have to, in this world of you know, anarchy and self-governance and living in a self-directed way, we're always dancing with here this like which part, which part am I going to accept? Do I want the government to collect my bin? Am I going to give them money so they come and collect my bin? Am I going to accept their terms and then we decide which bits do we accept? I've met no one. I've met no one in the world ever who hasn't accepted something um, and so I'm not. I have no judgment about it, what, I just think it's a very interesting conversation. So yeah, you, I personally think.

14:11 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Your Wi-Fi just.

14:12 - Sarah Beale (Host)
About where we're seeking approval and where we're complying, and I think it will be useful for people to say, yeah, I'm complying, I'm choosing to comply and I've got the reasons why.

And I'm happy to do it because I think if, as a group, we were more honest about those places where we're dipping in and dipping out, maybe we could get some traction as a global community of people who believe strongly in self-directed living and maybe we could get even braver as a group and maybe we could get even clearer about where do we want to dip in and where are we saying, actually, you don't have any business in my home, you don't have any right to say what we do in our family and I'm not actually doing that anymore.

Um, so, yeah, I just think it's a, I just think it's an interesting, interesting conversation, and I've absolutely got places where I I still am seeking approval because I don't know what the alternative would be. You know, like if I say, oh, I'm not going to pay my road tax, I'm not going to pay my council tax, I'm not going to pay my speeding fine, I'm not, whatever, whatever the things are, I don't know necessarily what the alternative pathway would be, and so I continue seeking approval in those areas so I just think that when you say to seek approval, to me it sounds like an emotional or psychological need, and that's where I I'm like I'm not seeking anyone's approval, I'm just making things work here.

15:43 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
This is so funny how you say the exact same thing and we're both Danish. I'm just bringing in the Danish. Yeah, yeah, I think it's about.

15:52 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I think it's a language thing and I get like no, I'm not seeking anyone's approval exactly that was my face.

15:58 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
Like what are you talking about? Like I was like taking no way.

16:04 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
There is no way. Yeah, no. But I think also that, um, that you you put it in two different ways. You talked about to seek approval and to choose to comply, and for me I'm just saying this seeking approval, in my understanding, could be my heritage as a Dane and it could be a language thing that I don't feel. I seek approval when I pay my road tax or when I actually don't really mind paying road taxes. I don't feel offended by it, so it's a bad example.

I would feel offended by doing the governmental check on my homeschooling and if I did it and I've done that back when I lived in Denmark, I've done it once it was choosing to comply and for me it was choosing to comply and for me it was choosing to comply because it was important for my family. They wanted to stay in the country. I actually said why don't we just leave? I don't want to do this. This is wrong.

It's wrong on so many levels that I cannot even begin to talk about it and I feel, I feel I mean I really felt my personal freedom was being violated and I felt it was ethically wrong that I had to explain myself to anyone and I felt it was wrong to step into that place where someone of authority got to decide whether my homeschooling was good enough or not, because I didn't believe anyone could have that authority ever. But I chose to comply because my family asked me to. They said they wanted to stay in Copenhagen and because of them I did it and I had my terms. One of them was that the state and no one in authority got to ever speak to my children, not even see them, and if it was getting to that point, the deal was that we were leaving because I couldn't handle it. It I really. I look I'm losing my mojo here.

18:50 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
I think what you said.

Oh sorry, carla, go on if you want to complete what Cecile was saying, go ahead, because I'm going to go with my thing you said the word authority and and that's another interesting word, because the whole thing about these inspections and another bit of context is that a large part of what I do for work with my work with parents is around the homeschooling inspections, because in Denmark it is a thing and you can't actually avoid it unless you step out of the law and put yourself in civil disobedience, which is something completely different. So say, you accept the framework and you're in that. And a lot of people are worried about these inspections. They're afraid, they're like, oh my God, what's going to happen? All that, and a lot of people get run over by the quote, unquote authorities, and so some of the conversation because this is the conversation that I have with parents is well, first of all, I mean so. For me, the thing is I don't believe they are an authority. I don't believe they are an authority. I don't see them as an authority. It's like it's sort of like a game we're playing. It's like it doesn't really matter to me what they will say, like I'm not afraid of the inspections, I don't really care what they will say, because it doesn't matter to me, because I'm not seeking anyone's approval, and this is kind of the whole conversation. We're kind of going on this.

I think it's a very important. It's the mindset. Again, it's really important what mindset you're in, because if you believe in the first place, if you are worried about the inspection, that is because on some level, somewhere within you, you still believe that they have authority over you in some kind of way, which I don't. I don't believe that. And then people will go well, yeah. Well, they might say, and I'll be like, okay, so they might say something to me. Your homeschooling is not good enough. Is that going to change anything for me? Am I going to change my life, my children, are we going to change the way we live? No, we're not. So it does not matter.

And that is a very different mindset to, oh, I actually do believe that they have a right or they can even, like, have this view on our family and, you know, say that what we're doing is good or not good or whatever, and the whole like, if you sort of feel that, oh, I'm happy when I've had an inspection that's gone well, oh, I feel so happy, well, that to me that signals that you still on some level and I'm not judging that, it's just saying a fact, on some level you still accept, believe some sort of authority or some sort of greater knowledge or whatever from them, because otherwise it wouldn't matter what they think.

And to me that's sort of a bit of seeking the seeking approval thing, and when you're in a position of seeking approval you're just more vulnerable than when you're not. So it's. It was just, it's a very, it's a very, very interesting conversation because it has a lot of um importance when you're in a country like Denmark and when you're in a situation where you need to deal with these infections, it's so extremely important what your mindset is around it, how it happens and how much space it takes up in in your everyday life and in your mind and all that. So that that's why these conversations are interesting to me, because it actually has an actual importance.

22:49 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
But, luna, I couldn't give a what they think you know their judgment because I know that what I'm doing, I'm going to do it. But there is another reality. I think it's a very clear point you have there and it's very important to let yourself free of the idea of that. Doesn't matter what they say, but it does matter on one point, and that is the whole social. What's that in English?

23:23 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)

23:25 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
You know, if it becomes a social case? What's that in English? Yeah, you know, if it becomes a social case, then you're in trouble, and you're in real legal trouble, and so my line of work is different from yours. But I often talk to people who get into these kinds of trouble where a social worker is on the case because the homeschooling is seen as some sort of neglect and this is dangerous stuff.

23:55 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
This is where that's a very different situation.

23:56 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
It's two different laws.

23:57 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
We're in two different laws.

23:59 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I know, but they do mix it up, I know, I know. And when they mix it up, do mix it up, I know, I know. And when they mix it up, I wouldn't recommend my clients to care about what they think on a personal level, but on a legal level you have to stay in the clear of the suspicion of neglect.

24:21 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
Of course, what I'm talking about here is the homeschooling inspection within the for any danish listeners within the free school law capital order about home education, particularly that's what I'm talking about.

24:33 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I'm not talking about social anything, anything whatever is in, so that's not what I'm talking about so I know, I know, but those are too big for anyone, so that people don't get but I think this is an international problem it's not just Danish that the idea of homeschooling is being mixed with the idea of neglect and the inspection of the homeschooling very often becomes the inspection of the parenting. And the weather comes from, so sometimes it starts that's what's happening in france at the moment that they do these inspections and it comes from the school system. They have to inspect the homeschoolers and actually they only have to inspect sort of the academic development of the child, but they do inspect the fingernails and the state of the home and are they polite? Do they have dreadlocks? All these things it happens. So it is a judgment of the academic development of the child and of the parenting and it becomes very easily a digression into a social judgment on how can families choose to live their lives and who's better than others and what's the right way of living a family life, which means we have from there a very, very short road to fascism. And this is this is why we need um, we need to not comply and we need to oppose it. And that's why I didn't allow them to see my children or even enter my home. I even get close to my home because this is, this is a. It's such a violation of basic freedom and it and it is such a fine line, it's not a fine line, it's such a dangerous path to walk and once you go there and they do all go there it becomes something we have to oppose it. We have to oppose it.

I can comply with the academic element of it if I have to, if I have to have to, but the problem is it becomes a social judgment and very often, unfortunately, it comes from the other side, it comes from the social authorities being involved, because someone notices that some kids are not in school, and from there comes the academic inspection. And then the academic inspection is sort of already poisoned by the idea of a social problem that is non-existent. And if we comply to explaining ourselves on the social level, we comply to the idea of homeschooling being a problem and we comply to the idea of having to explain ourselves, the co-sleeping, maybe our kids don't have their own room, maybe we don't even have a house, maybe we don't live anywhere. Maybe we don't eat meat, maybe we don't, yeah. So yeah, and that I'm just. I don't know. I don't even know where I'm going. I didn't prepare for this. No, I don't know. I don't even know where I'm going.

27:59 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
I didn't prepare for this, I will, no, and I think it's actually going a little bit off track, because I think the whole idea in the beginning why it's so important for me to work mentally, for you as a parent, to work with the concepts of compliance of authority, all of that, the concepts of compliance of authority, all of that is that and this is this is why I'm calling it playing a game is that when you enter into an, expect an inspection, with the perfect knowledge that you are sovereign being and you are the authority in your life, you can play along with that and have a dialogue and do this back and forth and like enter into that framework in an entirely different way than if you still believe they have an authority. It's a nuanced thing, but it's just so, so, so important what you believe inside of you and then how you present it, it what you say, what you give. And your example, for instance, the perfect example of um complying on your terms is I accept the legal framework, I'm accepting the inspections, but you're not talking to my kid. So what I'm about is, say the inspector says, oh, you're having a homeschooling inspection, we need to talk to your kid. Do you then go oh, that's the authority, they're telling me they need to talk to my kid. Well then, that's what's going to happen. Or do you say, well, hang on, no, you're not. You're not the authority I am. So, no, you're not talking to my kid. Here's what you can do instead.

Those are just two completely different ways of where your mindset is, but you won't be able to shift from the fear, from the oh this is an authority to the other, unless you start exploring those concepts and what they mean and how you apply them, how they translate into real life.

And that's kind of what's near to my heart. I mean, it is something that I and it's it's it's so interesting because I've been a bit, a bit tired of all this, always this about inspections. It's such a biggie all the time, and sometimes, you know, I really like to talk about other things as well, but everything sort of circles back to the same thing about your mindset, about your belief, about the way you relate, you are in the world, your, your worldview, it's everything is just connected. And I think yesterday, because I had a one-on-one session with a parent about the inspection and we were talking about some, a lot of these things, and I think I actually just a bit realized that I do actually love helping people to navigate this, because it's smack in the middle of this whole freedom idea, the anarchist idea, the sovereignty, the yeah. Yeah.

30:55 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Anarchist idea, the the sovereignty, the yeah but I think some of the anarchists, some of the homeschooling anarchists who who are? So you have like two different ends of this. One is the very compliant, uh, homeschooling family who really is happy when, when, uh, when it went well and and they got their gold star and, and people and and the authorities told them that they were doing really good and and you know they really like that um. And then, on the other hand, you have the anarchists who were like going to fight the system in the situation and try to convince that the, the checking person, that that the school system sucks and you know we have to make civil disabilities, all that and and what I'm saying is just that going to the extreme other end, in the way you dance with the system, with the authority, that's dangerous and and we have to be aware because that's why there's so few people doing it, because most people are scared.

32:06 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
Most people are too scared for a good reason that's what I'm saying for good except if you were like three million, I mean, if you were like, like, there's strength in masses and in numbers, right, so it's always the same which was also part of our discussion, sarah and me, about the whole. Like my God, it's like. I was literally really surprised. I'm like why aren't all the French homeschoolers out there supporting this? Why is it only a handful of people that are being taken to court, that are being sentenced with? So it's financial fines for now? Um, it's not like that bad, but I mean that could still be really bad, and also they lose their child benefits, like that. There's a lot of things going on on that level, but what is happening is that, within that community of resistance, they are actually pooling resources to help pay the fines for the families that get. So they, they, they support each other in that way, and that they're really trying to like, yeah, stick together and and, yeah, go to the Bastille together.

But obviously there's absolutely no point and I've said that before. That is what like, because I feel the same way as you do, cecile. So there's a solution, which is speaking about the Denmark context again, which is like leave the country, then your problem's solved. I've done that too from time to time. So right now I'm actually a resident of the country, so I'm in the system and blah, blah, blah. What was I saying? I was actually just losing. I lost my thing oh, completely lost it. What was I saying? I was actually just losing.

33:41 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I lost my thing oh, completely lost what I was going to say, forgot about it. Well, we have to move on, then. I think the compliance of the French might look like the compliance that that a lot of people do, um, which is I'll fight this when my children are adults. I'm not going to risk their childhood, I'm not risking it while they are small. I've talked to a lot of parents who did that, and that was basically also what I did when my family asked me to please comply and do the inspection, because that was what they wanted, and my political, philosophical and personal point of view had to take a step back and let something else take sense of stage, and I sort of hope, I hope, I hope, I don't know, but I hope that this is the reason the French are complying, and just whatever, then let me. And just whatever, then let me. Aren't they also used to in France, though, that they have to send a letter to the local government?

I think, so, in a very official way, to announce that now we're homeschooling for another year and get the whole stamp thing. Maybe it doesn't feel that different.

35:00 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
well, it does to the families who are posing it, of course, and but it's just that's the interesting thing again, is? Um? So now that so it's. Yeah, it's just so interesting, the whole like. When do you choose like? When do you choose to like, like I call it, go to the bastille? When do you choose to like I call it, go to the Bastille? When do you choose to be the revolutionary and try to start the revolution? And does it even matter when there's just a very, very few? What does it mean? Does it change anything, does it not? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And I remember what I wanted to say just before is that that's actually the reason why I'm accepting the inspections in Denmark is because it would do absolutely no good in a Danish context for me to say no. The only thing that would do would be me like a lone Jeanne d'Arc type kind of thing going, get me on the front page of the media, and it would do absolutely no good for the community as a whole, because one person, and it's just crazy, and I would just be this lunatic and which I don't care about, but what good would it do? So there's a lot of things to like always consider and I just always find that very interesting to look into and then finding out how can you preserve as much freedom as possible within a framework where you choose to have to feel like you must blah, blah, blah whatever of compliance within that, how can you then, yeah, conserve the maximum amount of um of freedom and not get run over?

36:40 - Sarah Beale (Host)
so you choose to I mean this is like a massive philosophical topic and it's not really as luna and I were saying yesterday. One of the reasons that we can play around with these sorts of conversations where we might not agree, it's because actually we're not trying to get an answer, we're not trying to say I'm right or you're right, we're just having a conversation which is more about where can our minds go, what might be possible. It's totally different. But for me these conversations are really important because it's the essence of whether we're meant to be free, how we're meant to be free if indeed we are, or maybe we're actually not meant to be. Maybe there are these greater, um, maybe there are these greater universal truths that form a container of safety, and around the world different governments try to kind of emulate universal truth in different ways. So the Danish government.

We've had a lot of conversations about how some of these countries that are perceived around the world to be free are actually bordering on being quite socialist, which is very controlling. But actually people in Sweden and Denmark and the Netherlands and other countries, they they seem to be quite Germany. They seem to actually be quite happy with that. They've got this beautiful, safe world that's been created for them, where everybody is provided for and everybody knows what the rules are and people are actually like we're actually okay. The last few years have been very interesting because I think we've all got to see from our our own specific cultural contexts how different governments have interacted with the people around this topic. I am from a country where typically people tend to be quite rebellious by nature and I think probably that is born out of how colonisation happened in that place. I've been living in a country where actually people are very rules-based and they sort of like that, except I don't want to admit it and and it's just, it's just very, very interesting to me.

I don't, I don't think there's a right or wrong, but I do actually wonder increasingly as I get older and as I play around with this stuff more whether there's a part of us that, on the one hand, says, yes, I want freedom, but actually still really wants quite a lot of safety that's provided for us by the scaffolding of the society that we live in. It is safer to comply, it's safer. That is how like it's safer to say, okay, I'll do that thing. Maybe a part of me doesn't really like it, but actually that's how like it's safe to say, okay, I'll do that thing I. Maybe a part of me doesn't really like it, but actually that's how I'm going to stay safe. So I'm, I'm choosing to be okay with it, and that's a chat that's really challenging for me, because I do that in lots of places too, even though I'm like freedom, freedom, blah, blah, blah. Actually, how far will I? How far will I actually push that? How far am I actually willing to? How far am I?

actually willing to go for that. Would I put my family in danger? Would I risk not having any money? What would I actually do? I don't actually know. I don't know the answer. There's times where I've chosen to not go along with something and my children have been more like similar to what Cecile was saying before about inspections.

Years ago her children were like please, just go along with it like my children have said that to me a number of times like please just go along with it because it's making everybody uncomfortable. And there's times where I'm like, no, I am, I am not going along with it and I don't care how uncomfortable I get. But then there is other times where I'm like, okay, I can see it's making everybody uncomfortable and that in itself is a friction point for me. You know, like I say I want freedom, do I really Do I really want freedom or actually do I just want a bigger container? And going back before, I do think this is linked to the stuff we were talking about with conflict before, with our kids role modelling, how we manage that.

You know, luna and I were talking a lot yesterday about the child village being within the safe container of the adult village 's. It's also linked. You know, actually we don't want total freedom because that's not universal truth, total freedom. We're not. A blackbird is a blackbird. A blackbird cannot be not again, people and not going to choose food. They don't have the same mating habits, they don't fly. In the same way, a blackbird knows it's a blackbird and there's freedom in that for the blackbird, because it's not trying to be something that it's not it's like I'm happy to be a bird.

Um, I love a bird metaphor. You guys all know that I will try and bring in a bird metaphor whenever I can, or is it an analogy, I don't know. Yeah, but I just the older I get and, on the one hand, the more certain I am about something, actually the less certain I am about anything, and what I do see with our children is that they actually do, even though people would think that we're raising our children to be free.

Actually, our children all have got a very, very safe container to be free in here, and sometimes there's a bit of like pushing on the, but they're held in that and they bounce around in there and they take risks and they have fun and they wander off and go for walks and do whatever they're doing, but they're actually being held by us and that's how they can play with their freedom and stay safe, and I just wonder actually whether we do want that, but they're not held prisoners, though they're held.

43:02 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
They're held but they're in the space of freedom because it's precisely free, because they can choose to go out, and that's very different from being in a space where you cannot choose to go out, like if you told them you have to stay within this container, whereas just building a scaffold and having like a container is different than well, it's different with like natural. How can I explain this? You know what someone explain it. You know what I mean.

43:33 - Sarah Beale (Host)
To me, it's a little bit like there's a cage, there's a cage and the bird's in the cage and they're like oh, this cage, you know I've got this cage and whatever. And then later on they find the door down the bottom was actually open but they chose not to go out of it. They didn't even know there was a door. They didn't know it was there. They could have flown out any time and, yes, our children could. Children could leave that. Sometimes they might push a bit and work out where that friction point is. What would happen if where? So?

say the state, the state control. Is this actually, and we're in here, and what does happen when you go? Yeah, I'm not going to stay in there anymore, I'm actually oh, there's a door, I'm actually going to go out of the door. What happens then and for some people, what it is is that they actually do lose all of their support. Maybe they needed financial support, maybe it was just the comfort level of being told what to do and they actually like that. Um, but there is a very real risk too. Once you choose to go out of that container, there is a risk absolutely.

44:48 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Yes, I'm afraid we're actually talking politics, which I don't like.

44:58 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
I'll do it with you because I love you, um no, but really I think it's very interesting how do you exist within a world of laws and a non-free world and you and you exist as a free like because we're all doing that, we're all sort of I don't know.

45:15 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I don't think it's politics like, not to me, but in a way, an element of it kind of is because to me, what I see is the authority, the problems that we have with authority. I might be skipping a lot of steps Because I've been listening and thinking and taking notes, but I'll try. Okay, the authority the problem that we I could call us the freedom people have with authority Is more or less the same Don't tell me what to do. And when I speak to people like us, it's always this there's this intuition, it's almost like a bodily response. You can't breathe, you can't stay within your skin, you're like just go away with this, can't handle it. Don't tell me what to do and and when you start thinking, you have these philosophical problems of the controlling of people's behavior. All this I've already been there.

It's I've said the word fascism and and maybe it rhymes with the socialism, I don't know I think it becomes politics, because we, the humans and that's not just the freedom people, all humans, are cultural beings. Wherever we, we, we built our places, we construct the culture. Whenever there's a culture, there will become some sort of hierarchy, there will become some sort of hierarchy, there will become some sort of government, there will become some sort of rule-building situation, and this is natural, this is nature. Nature and culture are actually not different, because it's natural for humans to create culture, so we create culture, and also it's natural for humans to think, so we think about that culture that we created, which is to have a political opinion, and that's a good thing. And in these modern days we all live in democracies where we actually get to well, in theory, get to have that opinion listened to, and so it becomes policy when we oppose the idea of this authority entering our life with some sort of rules and some sort of inspection and some sort of navigation of trying to tell us what to do. And now we're back to the root problem Do not tell me what to do, don't tell me what to do, because I'll freak out and I'll leave.

That's basically more or less what I did, but I still want to live within societies, of course. Of course, sarah's right. I'm not trying to live outside of right. I'm not trying to live outside of cooperation. I'm not trying to live. I drive on roads, I eat with a fork, I'm like a normal human being and I want to live. I want my Wi-Fi and I'm willing to pay for it. I mean, I'm part of this and I want to be part of it. There are just, sometimes, elements of it that offend my deep being so much so that I just can't breathe.

And this is where it becomes policy, because I happen to have the opinion that the state has nothing to do. I mean it has to. I'll say it fuck off from my family life, go away, do not interfere. It's worse than what sometimes happens inside families. I'm saying this after I've been thinking about it for 25 years. Yes, sometimes it goes very, very, very wrong, but the idea of the state interfering with the family life is worse. We have to be very careful with that. So, yes, it's politics. How did we end up in politics?

49:26 - Carla Martinez (Host)
because it's part also I think you just say it, yeah. So yeah, I haven't. I, I don't. I don't feel like asphyxiated or something, I'm more like. My point of view is like luna life, I see life like a board game, is a game, so you have to know the rules, so then you can play the way you want. So I also use this because, like in in one, like in I don't know the compliance or fighting in crowds, I like to be like more invisible, because then I get peace, but it doesn't mean, I just find my way in. This is the line. So I'm going now, here, now, here, now here, and then you can live, uh, the way you want, and I feel with this freedom and for me it's enough.

50:44 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
But you're from spain, I spend a lot of time in spain, and spain is very, very different from scandinavia. In scandinavia you cannot breathe, you cannot brush your teeth. Yeah, you cannot, you cannot buy a bag of carrots without everyone and everything registered. It's everybody knows you. There is no.

51:09 - Carla Martinez (Host)
This, it's all yeah, but then you leave. You can choose to leave, I know. So that's what I mean you're right.

51:21 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
But for those who feel that they can't leave, that they have to stay in Scandinavia for some sort of reason, it's just harder. And there's a reason I spend a lot of time in Spain, because I like the wiggle room, I like the space between the rules and the compliance, and compliance is sort of kind of comply, but not really.

51:47 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
I guess that's. I mean, how did we end up talking about that, or why? Well, I guess because in the places like Scandinavia that is actually a real concern for a lot of unschoolers is that they are in this position of they can't leave and I'm or they or they. They feel they have to be there, whatever, and I'm also always very upfront about that that I'm aware that a great part of my sort of nonchalance or whatever, this gets very easy. It's easier for me because I will just leave. I have done that and I can do it again anytime. That's very like. That gives me a freedom and peace of mind. Of course, that's harder to have if you can't do that for some reason. So, again, everything has so many layers. But yeah, I suppose that's a part of why we end up there, because it's a real issue for a lot of people is the whole. I want to be free, but I have to exist within a framework that's actually not big enough for me. How do I do, how can I do this within that system?

53:05 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
All freedom comes with a price tag.

53:08 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
Yeah. So, how do you manage the price tag?

53:11 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
And some price tags are just not worth paying. Manage the price tag and some price tags are just not worth paying, and then you have to retreat to the point where you just create that freedom in your mind, as you started out saying, luna, that it's also a question of how much. I mean, do you care about it or not? Is it just a price tag? Okay, I'm paying, whatever, and then I forget about it and move on. Or or am I afraid? Does it affect me personally? What other people think? Am I just gonna do this and get on with it, like, like you said, carly, like this is a board game, these are the rules, these are the cards I have on my hand, this is the best I can do, and and then we move on.

It's a great way of handling and preserving a lot of freedom within a system like maybe the Danish one, that is, it's not strict at all, but it is a system that you have. There's no wiggle room. You can't. I mean, you have your social identification number and then everything goes from there. Of course, there's freedom to be found within compliance, and the key factor is the relation to the authority. Do you find it an authority for your personal self, or is it just part of that board game that you can put back into the box and leave on the shelf for another six months and forget about it?

54:41 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
But isn't it a bit like what you said in another of our discussions about there's a problem. Stop seeing it as a problem. It's kind of a little bit the same, like, oh, I have to talk to the authorities. No, you don't Stop seeing it as a problem. It's. It's kind of a little bit the same, like, oh, I have to talk to the authorities. No, you don't stop seeing it. As if you have to start seeing it as as if you're playing the game. I'm choosing to talk to them, which?

is also something I'm very upfront about when I talk to people about it is that I know that I could say no, I could step out if I wanted. I'm choosing not to so I'm not in a position of already. I'm in a much more level position with them than if I'm here and I have to talk to them that they are here and and and. Yeah, that's just mindset. Yeah, no, it's not just, it's mindset, but it's not just mindset.

55:27 - Sarah Beale (Host)
Mindset is, like, so hugely important because it's one of the ways to create freedom and wiggle room within where it might seem like there's not a lot, or yeah, I agree, I'm having so many uh I'm having, I mean, this conversation is just to me it's mind-blowing because, actually, what I think I'm realising and maybe I'm going to say something a bit challenging I'm actually less and less convinced that we actually do want what we perceive to be freedom For real. So, luna and this is like I'm being brutally honest with myself, if you so the dynamic of this inspection thing is that someone is telling you you need to do a thing and you either can do the thing for peace, whatever, whatever, or you don't do the thing, but you're choosing to do the thing and maybe I would.

I don't't know, I'm not in that situation, but there's things that I choose to do because I know that if I don't choose to do them, there's there's going to be, something else happened and I don't quite know what that's going to be, and that's quite scary. So that might be freedom if I don't do the thing. I mean, I do maybe have one or two fines sitting in the kitchen at the moment and I'm just mulling over what am I going to do with these fines? Am I going to pay them? It's the equivalent of the inspection for me. Am I going to pay these fines for peace, or actually do I feel like these fines are such an assault to me, to my sense of sovereignty?

If I don't pay them, I'll be free. I'm not going to pay them because I'm free, but actually I don't know what's going to happen here. And is that actually going to be freedom or not? I don't know. That's the bit that I'm not sure about. If you said no to the inspection, you said no, I'm not doing an inspection. That could be a declaration of freedom, but you also don't know what's going to happen. You might end up less free actually. So I actually would argue and it's the same for me we don't actually want to be free, because when we are actually say, say we are completely self-governed, we opt out of everything.

We actually don't know what will happen. Where would we get Wi-Fi? Where would we get water? Where would we get the things that we all use? We're like handing over a little piece of our own autonomy, which is really handing over a certain part of our freedom, to get something else, which is safety and security. So then, actually, are we all just talking bullshit? I don't want to be free? Do I really want to be free? I don't know. I don't want to live in the forest with no Wi-Fi. I don't want to live in the forest with no Wi-Fi. I don't want to actually. So I'm actually handing over quite a bit of my freedom, even though I talk about freedom all the time, so that I can have the safety and security of actually being looked after to quite a large degree. So, like, actually, are we all just massive frauds and we don't really want freedom after all?

58:57 - Carla Martinez (Host)
I don't know. Hey, I like to be free in, in this whole society that's what I mean. I don't want to be in a cave.

I like to be here we're doing what I choose to do. You know, I I just have. I have a friend who just went to a court court. They were judged for abandon their kids, their homeschoolers. So I was asking her, like what, what are the possibilities out of this judgment? Now, what will happen?

And she said one if we are guilty of abandon my kids, I have to pay a fine of I don't know two thousand or something each adult. And and the other one is like we are I don't know the word in English, but but it's, everything is fine and you do nothing if you are not guilty. And I was like and that was it, you just pay. And then what? You have to put them in school, no, no, and that's it. And then I was like then both answers, both solutions are good, I mean one is money. And she said no, no, she's actually a lawyer. And she said I won't pay because paying will mean I'm um, I'm saying they are right telling me I abandoned my kids. I didn't know that I will change my myself into the there in in Madrid.

01:00:35 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Because I and I was like, oh yeah, I don't know, so yeah but sometimes it really does violate something deep inside of us, and that's when we start talking about freedom. And I I will suggest because, um, those who are listening to this podcast in the video form will be able to notice that we recorded two back-to-back and we are tiring out at this point. Why don't we do, uh, episode 11 under the title do we really want freedom?

oh my god, yes, here we go so what I mean is, for now, we, we, uh round up the authority question and then next time we have had some time to think about it, uh, do we really want freedom, and what does freedom mean? That will be an interesting one.

01:01:38 - Sarah Beale (Host)
Far out. We're getting somewhere. Who knows where we are.

01:01:41 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
It's a great podcast series, this one, if I may say so myself.

01:01:47 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
I mean it is called Fixing the World right, so I mean we have to get onto some meat.

01:01:51 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
We have work to do.

01:01:56 - Carla Martinez (Host)
Yeah, yeah, I mean we have to get on to some.

01:01:57 - Luna Maj Vestergaard (Host)
We have work to do yeah yeah well, I don't know how you can round up, but I think we've said quite a lot of like sensible things around compliance and authority and I don't know. I'm just thinking the whole. It really is also also about unschooling, again on just a bigger level. The whole idea again and this will be going into what we're then going to talk about next time but the whole idea of do you then believe that those things couldn't happen if that wasn't created for us? But we'll probably get into that, because that matters in whether you want.

01:02:38 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
You know what you want, what you don't want but we don't have to round up a five-step conclusion style of how to handle the question of authority and compliance. I think we are fixing the world partly by opening perspectives rather than drawing conclusions. So I think we've done well and it's been a real pleasure talking to you again, and I'm really looking forward to episode 11. That's going to be fun. So thank you for today, girls.


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