The most important dream for me is to form (or to find) my tribe. Those of you who have read Daniel Quinn's novels or are acquainted with ideas of such anthropologists as Marshall Sahlins would certainly understand what I mean:). What (or rather whom) exactly I want to see around : a circle of reliable people - more than just "friends" or "colleagues", who make a living together (without any suppression of private life, though) and who help and care about each other and don't need to have lots of money and wealth, meaningless work, a "hierarchy" or "subordination" or other violent and boring stuff to live together properly. People who act like fingers of a single hand: different but equal. In such a group everyone would feel safe and taken care of. I'm not talking about some kind of utopia, nor about a sect or a "commune" in a common sense of the word.
How did I come to this?
Since I remember myself, I've been always facing the same problem. In fact, I can do almost everything (except maths and chess playing, maybe) quite well, and I’ve always been curious about the world and people around. I speak three languages (almost) freely, and, as far as I’ve seen, I’m rather good at thinking, writing, painting, teaching and public speaking, translating, different kinds of manual labour, inventing all kinds of funny ideas and doing massage :). But I’ve never been interested in converting it into something that most people call « work ». I was trying to avoid it, though I’m neither «lazy» nor «childish». I’ve finished school with rather high marks, though I’ve never been «studious». In the university where I was studying ecology, it was the same. Now I’m finishing my Masters degree, I got an internship in a Conseil Général (the Department Administration in France) in sustainable development and I feel nothing but revulsion and terror while I think about having more or less the same lifestyle even for a few more months !
I’ve always been thinking that there’s something terribly wrong with me : I couldn’t be satisfied or interested with almost anything I did, though I knew that it was no good to work in a slipshod while you could do better. All the things I loved to do turned to be boring and demotivating ever since I tried to convert them into work, money, and «profession».
But now I see things a bit differently. Now I see that there’s nothing really so much wrong with ME (I’m not an angel, but who is ?). However, there is something wrong in our present society, that looks more and more like prison to most of us. (Someone may feel quite comfortable in such a society, but these people, I’m sure, are in minority). I think everyone feels it, though it’s hard to describe what exactly is gone wrong.
It’s like we’re all held in captivity, though we have a lot of different consolations in exchange of our condition : from week-ends, a variety of economic goods and services to consume, television and Internet, night clubs, music, to drugs (legal and illegal ones), ideologies and religions. (I don’t mean all ideologies and religions have only this function, but for most people this one is dominant.)
But what to do when there is no consolation capable to make you forget about your condition?
I’ve passed through much hard and dark times and thoughts, but finally that’s what I can say to you – and, first of all, to myself : I don’t want to spend the rest of my life dragging stones for the Tower of Babylon that is our civilization – a fortiori it now starts to fall apart. (Some would say I’m too «pessimistic», but in fact I’m not. I’d say it’s rather good news, not by misanthropy but because I hope that we’ll be able to start anew and live happily without – or at least with much, much less – violence against nature and ourselves, famine, misery, control, persuasion and meaninglessness. Unfortunately, most people would rather die than abandon this destructive lifestyle…) I just want to live a simple, free, happy and meaningful life with those who want it too, and who are ready to help each other to build it. And I believe that happiness is possible and suffering is avoidable.
It’s not about starting a worldwide social revolution. First of all, it’s about creating a small space suitable for happy life of a relatively small group – and then, helping other people and groups to do the same, and then expanding this circle even wider, creating new connections and friendships, and so on.
It’s not necessarily a life in a countryside or « in the wild », though living closer to nature and being able to have your own food and shelter would do no harm. Even in the city it’s possible to make a living together, and it can be even easier.
It’s not necessarily a sedentary life – after all, some tribes somehow manage to travel as a group and do it quite well ; travelling is too interesting, that’s why we are all here !
It’s not necessarily a hard life – our hunting-gathering ancestors « worked » only two hours a day to have all they needed. Our needs are a bit greater, but our qualification and productivity is also much greater. We can refuse and minimize all technology that enslaves humans and does harm to nature, but there’s no need to stay only with our bare hands.
It’s not an isolated life – though such a tribe needs to have some protection against the mass society that is sometimes very hostile to such initiatives, and also can’t accept absolutely anyone who wants to join it, it’s not about seclusion and isolation. On the contrary, we should show and explain to others that this life is good enough, and connect with other such groups.
Still, it sounds simple, but it’s not going to be easy. Maybe, the tribe won’t succeed for the first time; lots of factors can be at play, and norms and assumptions that we use to take for granted – such as necessity of strict control and hierarchy - amongst tribe-builders themselves are extremely important. Thus, those who want to build a successful and sustainable tribe, should first of all be attentive, sincere, open-minded and non-judging : if something (a rule or a particular technology or a tool) seems to be good for the community but it doesn’t work (e.g., provokes conflicts, meaningless work or just diminishes the well-being) – it should be either strongly modified or abandoned, for the good of all. There is no thing that would serve to everyone equally.
If you ever dreamed of something like that – or, maybe, you’ve just thought “DAMN! THIS GUY’S RIGHT!” – don’t hesitate to contact me (via CS messaging or by mail : email@example.com) and to share it with your friends. I really hope I’m not alone – this dream is to be shared. I’ve got almost nothing – not much money, no car, no stable job… - but myself. That’s much, but that’s not enough. Let’s try it. Together.
P.S. And yes, what else am I dreaming of ?
1. Finding love of my life ;
2. Learning to dance Contact Improvisation, Capoeira and, maybe, other dances ;
3. Painting a thousand stencils and making a thousand installations in different cities of the world (I’m not Banksy, but got something to show too);
4. Planting as much trees and reviving as much deserted land or polluted water as it’s humanly possible… ;
5. Saving someone’s life ;
6. Travelling around the world in a good company ;
7. Building a « living » machine like Theo Jansen’s Strandbeast ;
8. Radically greening a city or two (I always thought that cities can be home to more species than just “humans and a few trees and birdies” – imagine a city where stone, glass, asphalt and concrete are a rare exception in a colourful ocean of leaves and flowers and birds’ plumage!);
9. Inventing a new way of locomotion (something like Jolly Jumper I think) ;
10. Hearing from someone of my family something like “Sorry dude, I thought you were just a lightweight and lazy chatterbox… seems I was wrong!”;
11. Finding a Philosopher’s Stone;
12. Writing a fairy tale ;
13. Learning three of four more languages ;
14. For one more time, spending a white night on White Sea’s shore with my friends that I now miss so much;
15. Watch the dead leaves fall into the clear lake in the autumn – during all day ;
16. Teaching a bunch of kids to do something really fabulous – and learning something fabulous from them.