A few days ago (Dec 2010) I met up with one of the world’s wandering angels of destruction/creation in Berkeley for coffee on the street corner, and nighttime yoga in the park.
Monica Scheerer doesn’t have a blog, she doesn’t have a location independent income, but she is an incredibly successful vagabond — when the wind blows, she flies with it with a guitar and $20 in her pocket. In many ways it was Monica who originally smacked me on the head and said that the system I tried to hard to conform to wasn’t working — she did this by packing her bag and taking off across the country.
I’m a child of the Internet. She’s a child of the streets. I build a bridge from the old world to the internet to freedom. She builds a bridge from the old world, to the music of the streets, to freedom.
We’re both leaders working towards the same reality in very different ways
We obviously both don’t understand how the world of the other works. That’s okay, they both work quite well in their own simultaneously similar ways.
We talked about a few things over coffee, while her world-traveling puppy alternated between bouncing up and down and sleeping on us.
Long-lost wanderers tend to reminisce. The old days, the paths we’ve taken, current state of the energy of the universe and all of that good stuff. I want to speak to one topic that came up in our conversations:
There was a time in our lives when we were trying to fit ourselves into a world that we were told we had to be a part of — but didn’t work for us at all. Square peg in a round hole. I was sitting at a desk in New York being miserable, she was sitting in classrooms in New York being miserable.
And then we left, and everything started to fall into place. It all started to make so much sense. The world we’d been trying to fit into wasn’t for us, maybe it wasn’t for anybody at all.
Looking back on it, the perspective seems clear:
What if human evolution is moving towards greater and greater individual freedom? (there is a chapter on this in What Technology Wants.)
We’ve been told over and over again by miserable people that we need to be miserable with them. Sit down, shut up and work at a desk creating crap that no one needs. We’ve all been given this advice, right? It comes from anywhere, our parents, our friends, our co-workers. Everywhere you go billboards scream at you to settle down and conform to a society that wants you to be unhappy.
Meanwhile the call of the wild is so strong. It’s as if you’ve heard it before.
…it’s because you have heard this all before, and now you’re hearing it again.
Long ago we were all wanderers. We roamed the world, moving from food source to food source. The name of the game was spread out or die. Food was scarce, and our hunter-gather tribes had to keep moving in order to survive.
Human culture evolves faster than our genes. 10,000 years of agriculture have done little in comparison to the 200,000 years since Mitochondrial Eve shaped the destiny of all humanity.
This means that the call of the road will always be stronger than the call of stability. Locking ourselves in boxes will always make us itch for something more.
You can try to fight it, deny it, but it will always come back to haunt you.
The truth is that we had to give up so much more than we were willing to in order to exist in a sedentary society. Sitting in front of the TV robbed us of far more than our physicality. We’re only now starting to rediscover the tools that we’d lost — unlocking the secrets of a society that vanished when we all sat down for TV dinners.
Just because you’re not hearing a public service announcement about this on the news doesn’t mean that it’s not happening. I know you can feel the change, and it’s calling you.
What if the society they told you to build is already dead? What if it’s your job to show the rest of the world a way to transform our society into one that’s based on energy. The energy of ourselves, moving through space and time. The energy of money, moving from the past to the future. The energy of healthy minds and bodies, integrated with technology in a healthy way.
This is all happening, whether you like it or not. The pain you see in your past and the present is because you’ve been told by a dying society to build a future that cannot exist anymore.
We need to build a new future where technology takes care of us, and we can work on finding freedom for everyone.
The question I’m asking isn’t easy: how can I free myself enough to show you the world that I already live in? This is real. I live it, I feel it, I breathe it.
…and it’s beautiful.
If you’re into where I’ll be over the next six months, here’s the path:
I’m headed to Chicago over Christmas and New Years. I’ll be in New York for a few weeks in January. I’m headed to Austin for SXSW in March (not going to the conference, who cares. I’m there for the people.) Then I’ll be in Portland OR at Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit in June. Chris tells me that there are still a few spots open if you’re thinking about attending.
Of course other things will happen, –the past doesn’t serve you, the future will unfold– but I intend to be in these places at these times. These times being rather non-specific at the the moment. Maybe I’ll see you out there!