Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Gives Me Hope

This is my last post of 2008 and my last post before I start a very different direction in my blog (studying US History--go figure!). I want to end by looking at what gives me hope that we might move in the direction of the SECSy world I have been describing. This is a wrap up post--some of this is a rehash of other posts (notably some repetition from my post of 12/15/08 on SLoDBN Resources).

The internet holds some sources of hope for me. There are blogs by people trying to find a way to a different world, some relatively well-known such as The Archdruid Report and The Great Change, others by people less-known but perhaps more intimately involved in the struggles, such as My Flight From the Grid and SoapBoxTech and Trout Clan Campfire. There are also blogs by people just trying to live differently (more simply and sustainably) and encouraging others to do so like the somewhat well-known Crunchy Chicken and Casaubon’s Book and the not-so-well known undacova mutha and Living the Frugal Life and global homestead and dozens more. Then there are blogs by folks advocating social justice, such as Michaelann Land and Diary of an Anxious Black Woman and The Jaded Hippy. Not to mention blogs by those thinking about better ways to communicate and build community and network and emerge such as Evolutionary Dynamics Exploration and Journey Reflections and Laird's Commentary on Community and Consensus and Network Weaving and blogs about alternative sexualities and the changing of society, like Queers United and Polyamory in the News. And finally there are blogs just about those who are trying to find their idiosycratic way in the world and encouraging others to do the same, like Cracker Lilo's Front Porch and Austanspace and One Smoot Short of a Bridge. (And, yes, a good bit of this is a list of the blogs I follow. Of course.)

I'm also given hope by things like the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (see my post of 10/22/08) and The Rhizome Collective (see my post of 10/18/08) and the DIO Skillshare and folks like Randy Schutt (author of Inciting Democracy--see my post of 7/10/08--and one of the people behind the START Guide) and the ZNet folks (developers of not only Parecon--see my post of 7/8/08--but Participatory Society, ParPolity, Polyculturalism, and Real Utopia, and weavers of one of the most massive radical education sites on the 'net). Not to mention all the folks that took part in the Riot for Austerity (see my post of 9/28/08).

My most astounding Christmas gift was from a young woman I helped raise. She gave me a book I'd never heard of but which gave me another reason to hope: Making Stuff & Doing Things, by Kyle Bravo, a wonderful Do-It-Yourself guide for the next generation. (My quote of the day is from this book.)

And ending the year brings up buying new calendars, and there are two calendars in particular that give me hope. The first is the Syracuse Cultural Workers' Peace Calendar , twelve months full of information and inspiring art work, and the other is datebook with the same anarchist/punk/DIY mentality as Making Stuff & Doing Things, the Slingshot Organizer which is filled with all sorts of useful stuff, radical thoughts and history, and pictures to color--plus radical contacts around the world, pages for addresses, etc, and pages for your notes.

A final thing that gives me hope is 'dissensus'. Just as I decided to make my mother my last Hero of the Day, I am going to make Dissensus my last Word of the Day. I've been recently introduced to the idea by John Michael Greer who has devoted two posts of his Archdruid Reports to Dissensus and Organic Process and Why Dissensus Matters . Basically, dissensus is the opposite of consensus, it's a way of acknowledging and celebrating complexity, diversity, and individuality. It's the old 'agreeing to disagree'. JMG points out that dissensus is most useful when "...irreducible differences make it impossible to find any common ground for agreement on the points that matter, or when settling on any common decision would be premature." Like when we have no idea what the future will bring. After thinking about it, I realized that dissensus, like diversity, has its limits. I don't know that it really is that useful when there are fundamental disagreements about goals. (For example, two peak oil people, one concerned about climate change and one so concerned about running out of fuel that they support using coal and extracting oil from tar sands, etc, are working in opposite directions and will cancel each others work out.) But those who agree on the basic direction but disagree on how to achieve it, are all important to the process. I've said from the beginning (see my post of 6/28/08) that there is no one answer.

So I also get hope from people I know like Eli, who is pursuing change at the policy level; Rob, who is trying to bring Transition Towns to our towns; Grace, who is organizing around stopping foreclosures; Steve and Audrey, who have gotten their neighborhood involved and who have started a 'barnraising model' that is catching on; my good friend Susan, who works for peace and preaches for justice on the internet; two women I know who model living simply and sustainably and are trying to teach others; and my family, most of whom wouldn't understand all that I am trying to do but model taking care of each other. They may all disagree on how to get there, but they are all working for a SECSy world. Each of them is very different, but all of them give me hope.

Quote of the Day: "How to change the world in just four easy steps! 1. Get off yr ass. 2. Write, talk, listen, participate, read, volunteer, take in new ideas and spread yr own. 3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 many times. 4. Give another person these instructions." - Luran Barry


CrackerLilo said...

I love the idea of "dissensus."

Thank you for the shout-out. I'll have to visit some other blogs mentioned here.

And, of course, Happy New Year!

MoonRaven said...

Thank for your comment. I have the feeling I was commenting on your blog just as you were commenting on mine.

And Happy New Year to you.

SoapBoxTech said...

wow, Im honored to be included in there and right next to the wonderful RAS!!!

Thank you.

MoonRaven said...

Of course you are included--I think that you and I and RAS (and the Trout Clan folks) are mostly trying to do a lot of the same things. If only we were in the same location and not scattered across North America... Sigh... (As each of us tries to find those around us who want to build those alternatives...)

SoapBoxTech said...

I agree. I would do just about anything to be able to bring a group of this sort of people together into a co-operative agrarian enterprise.

Unfortunately, I am located in one of the very last spots in North America which will be forced to change. But that is exactly why I think it is so important to develop such a group, or groups, here.