Friday, September 30, 2011

More Ways to Come to Grips with a Radically Changing World and to "Build 2020"

Adrian Molina is a hip hop artist, poet, futurist, educator, and thinker whose Build 2020 Manifesto: A People's History of the Future takes on such diverse topics as transhumanism, civil rights, mass action, economics, and peak oil, and sets them to beautifully produced tracks courtesy of a mutual friend, Eric "HipGnosis" Young.

Build 2020 is available for download at any price (including $0) and is truly priceless, deepening with each and every listen.

The final track, "Build 2020," spells out some of the many things that all of us need to do to take the power back and build a future worth having. They include seemingly mundane things like getting in shape, composting, bartering, learning to grow food, educating yourself and others on these subjects, etc. Here it is for your enjoyment and edification:

So take a listen, download all ten tracks, listen closely, pass them around, send Molina a few bucks in support (or get in touch and see how else you can help out), and take these ideas to heart. The world is changing around us, rapidly and radically, and we must do all we can to ensure that it moves in a direction that benefits all beings.

It really is up to us.

Special thanks to Molina and HipGnosis!

Ten Ways to Wrestle with a Rapidly and Radically Changing World

A while back I came upon an apparently defunct blog called Brainsturbator and spent a couple of weeks reading through the backlog of fantastic material posted there. One of the posts was so powerful and relevant that I have tacked up a modified, one-page version on my cubicle wall at work, right under a picture of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty.

I check it regularly, seeing if I am putting the recommendations into practice. While I usually find that I am not, or at least not enough, I do that whole "start where you are" thing and hit the reset button, attempting once again to take a baby step or two in the right direction.

Here are the ten things, I recommend visiting the site for the full breakdown:

  1. Practice is repetition is preparation is power.
    This might be the hardest for me. I have little discipline, and so I tend to get caught up in an interest, only to be swept away by the next, and so on. I will be exploring this further in the next couple of blog posts, I think.

  2. Create situations that cannot be controlled.

  3. Do not allow yourself to be controlled by situations.

  4. Seek information, avoid arguments. Especially good to remember in the "someone is wrong on the Internet" world of pointless pedantry and faceless flame wars.

  5. Seek predictive models, avoid explanatory models.

  6. Become an autonomous cell.
    "Work for your community, independently and perhaps invisibly."

  7. Don’t be a dickhead, and love thy neighbor.
    This is one of my favorites. And it is easier said than done, of course. And the anti-fascist in me has to ask, "Is the cop spraying mace in the face of a peaceful protester really my neighbor? How about the Wall Street hedge fund trader whose greed translates into real suffering for millions of people? Is he really my neighbor?"

  8. Invest in tools and share them subversively.
    I am reminded of the tool libraries like the one in Berkeley, CA and the Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign, IL.

  9. Become a Beacon of Insane Hope.
    Rob Brezsny springs to mind immediately, as do the late great Robert Anton Wilson and Hakim Bey/Peter Lamborn Wilson. I also find that the "Christus Victor" interpretation of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of the bodhisattva both fit this description.

  10. Please, be fearless.
    Chögyam Trungpa's Shambhala Training is a fine place to start, as are most martial arts. See point 1 above. Rinse, repeat.

Special thanks to Justin Boland for his work on the original Brainsturbator site!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Leaving Facebook

Not sure why, but it finally seemed like the right time to kill my Facebook account. Evidently it dawned on me that I was using Facebook for two primary reasons:

  1. To put ideas out into the world that I think are worth sharing, discussing, contemplating, etc.
  2. To connect with friends.
Neither of those reasons force me to use Facebook, though, and the latest blurb from Douglas Rushkoff, about how we are not Facebook's customers but its product, really hit home. I don't want to be Facebook's product. That sort of defeats the point of the things I post there. 

So back to the reasons I used Facebook.

Regarding the first point, I figured that I can just as easily share the sorts of articles and ideas here that I do on Facebook, and while fewer people may encounter them, those that do might be more included to contribute more than a "like" or a snide comment.

Regarding the second point, how many of my "friends" on FB are actually friends, how many are acquaintances, and how many were people I spoke to once in high school who remembered my name and tracked me down? Shutting down FB will mean more face to face conversations, more phone calls, more emails, and heck, maybe even a couple of hand-written letters. All of which are good things, especially if one of my goals is to build that elusive creature, community.

Anyhow, adios Facebook.