“The real question is whether the ‘brighter future’ is always so distant. What if it has been here for a long time already — and only our own blindness and weakness have prevented us from seeing it around us and within us, and kept us from developing it.”
Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless
I recently saw this amazing documentary about The Velvet Underground band. It was an outdoor exhibition in Mexico’s City Lake House. Man, it was beautiful, and freaking cold as well. Half the people there left by the middle of the movie. I stayed though. I was fascinated by the band. I instantly clicked with them. They were rebels, rebels of their time.
In one part, they are talking about visiting San Francisco, or LA, I don’t remember, and they describe the people (hippies mainly) that they saw there. They couldn’t understand them with their flower dresses and dreamy smiles. “What the fuck is wrong with these people?” they say. I cracked laughing. I felt identified. They did their own thing.
And that’s where I want to go. Doing your own thing.
The Velvet Underground were many things, but what stands out the most is that they were cool. They came, they sang, even if there were just a few people willing to listen to them at the time, and yet we’re still here, after all these years, admiring the rebelliousness of their artistry.
The internet gave way to people connecting in ways that seemed impossible. You can find everything on the internet. Do you want to find a group of people, just go to Reddit, you’ll find them.
But at the same time, it has created a massive amount of bandwagoning.
Think about the shoes you wear or the food you eat even. The products you place in your hair and the sports brands you use. Don’t you think it unbelievable how we all, around the world, desire almost always the same brand of shoes? Nike’s or Adidas?
There is a hard mainstream culture. We all have the same things on our heads, day to day. Will Smith, Ukraine, Coronavirus, 9–5 office job, going out drinking on weekends. This, that, you know the drill.
It’s kind of boring
It’s kinda boring don’t you think?
“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
― Chuck Palahniuk
There’re a lot of people in the world doing all kinds of stuff. I’ve seen people on YouTube buying a house in a Ghost Town and living there. It’s honestly freaking amazing, and people think so too, he has over 1.5 million subscribers.
But most people live normal lives inside the current narrative. I do.
And I gotta say, it is kind of boring. Not only boring but destructive as well. I know there are a lot of people suffering right now., and a lot of this suffering comes from the way we have structured the world. Think about what it takes for you to have an iPhone, for example, people throwing themselves from windows.
So it makes you think, isn’t it time that we behave differently?
But what does “living differently” even mean?
There’s a lot of talk about inflation, economic, and social collapse. We are utterly dependent on the current system. I mean, with the way we dress, with the food we eat, and everything in between.
We are separated from making stuff ourselves.
He loved the land no more than the bank loved the land. He could admire the tractor — its machined surfaces, its surge of power, the roar of its detonating cylinders; but it was not his tractor. Behind the tractor rolled the shining disks, cutting the earth with blades — not plowing but surgery, pushing the cut earth to the right where the second row of disks cut it and pushed it to the left; slicing blades shining, polished by the cut earth. And pulled behind the disks, the harrows combing with iron teeth so that the little clods broke up and the earth lay smooth. Behind the harrows, the long seeders — twelve curved iron penes erected in the foundry, orgasms set by gears, raping methodically, raping without passion. The driver sat in his iron seat and he was proud of the straight lines he did not will, proud of the tractor he did not own or love, proud of the power he could not control. And when that crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted for the growth. Men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread. The land bore under iron, and under iron gradually died; for it was not loved or hated, it had no prayers or curses. John Steinback, The Grapes of Wrath
Have you ever thought about the process of cultivating a carrot? Or an onion? I didn’t until I read the masterpiece Grapes of Wrath.
It is a marvelous, arduous, and amazing process. When the onion you cultivated and cared for, is ready to eat, it’s a day to GIVE THANKS and feel good about what you, and nature, just did. We don’t know that feeling.
We are way too concerned with “looking” cool with our Nikes and iPhones, furthering an economy that does not serve our best interests, because of its purely profit-based aspirations.
In our modern world, we all work, at least indirectly with companies like Amazon or Apple, and those companies, coupled with the government’s narrative, define our culture.
Do you want to change anything they say?
Run for office, or go out and vote! But come on, do you really think that is going to change anything? I really don’t think so, it’s just more of the same.
What can we do?
The Power of CounterCulture
Just like The Velvet Underground, we need to be cooler. Cooler than Nike and Adidas, cooler than mainstream, we have to get out and create and do our own thing.
“The ultimate phase of this process is the situation in which the official structures…simply begin withering away and dying off, to be replaced by new structures that have evolved from ‘below’ and are put together in a fundamentally different way.”
Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless
Lately, I’ve been running barefoot. I read this amazing book called Born To Run and I realized that I didn’t need Hokas or Nikes to run, in fact, those shoes were hurting my feet. I found lots of brands selling sandals for running, locally made, and some extremely cheap as well. This is just one example of going against the current.
I get nasty looks running in them, but mostly, curious people. So absorbed in what’s popular than seeing something a bit different sparks their attention. I love them asking what the sandals are all about.
I want to have more of that questioning in my life, that, right there, is counterculture. Other ways of doing stuff, of conceiving the world. Weird stuff, other hobbies, things that are fun in different ways.
Society feels very weird right now. It doesn’t feel right. I mean, it doesn’t feel like home, like someplace you desire to be in.
So you need to create your own.
Create your own entourage, create your own vibe, and cultivate your own food if you can.
This is something that happens in the mind first. It means being OK with figuring out what you think it’s cool for yourself and not being afraid of showing it and inviting people into your reality.
Excercise and practice the sports that you want and be friendly to other people. That is how you start creating bubbles of freedom and good-spirited people around you. This is an idea of freedom expansion.
You need to be free yourself first.
“When the activity of those who oppose the establishment becomes articulated it will be in forms, methods and ideas that are totally unknown, incomprehensible and unacceptable to members of the establishment — and that is how it should be.”
Egon Bundy, Civic Freedom in Central Europe
Too cool for mainstream shit, we do our own thing.
Think about little bubbles of ideas and interests forming from your mind, and the people around you, and then, these bubbles form the very structure of society. A decentralization of narrative.
What do you think?
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