|Why are you here?|
After a year of voluntary houselessness and having graduated from university, I went on a solo trip into the woods, intending a month-long stay, hoping the fish or the trees would teach me something I couldn't find on the Internet or in a book. I was only there for four days, but I didn't leave because I was hungry. I didn't leave because I was cold. I didn't leave because of the bugs. I left because I was losing my mind with loneliness. That spot was incredibly beautiful and generous, offering up snake, frog, rabbit, fish, raspberries and more. Without anyone to share it with, though, my time there was reduced to an experiment in self-abuse. The fish and trees had held their tongues.
I returned to the city feeling defeated and confused. I started writing a novel about the experience while latently also trying to figure out what to do next. The answer came from an unlikely place, derived from a conversation with my friend's father. He asked me, as I've been asked countless times, where I saw myself in five years. I demurred, using my usual metaphor of the leaf floating on the river. "That's all well and good," he said, "but think about it for a sec. Five years from now, what world do you want to live in?"
"Well, I realize I'm not smart enough to know quite what that would look like," I said, "but I think I can pretty concretely say it's a world where people participate in the community of life rather than killing it and selling it for money, a place where a Blackberry is something you eat and high fructose corn syrup isn't. Where it would be unthinkable to horde while your neighbour suffers."
"Well?" he asked.
"So build it."
I almost said "We can't" but caught myself. Of course we can.
And that's why I am here - to find a community of people interested in learning how to live in the world in a connected, real way.
This is an amazing time to be alive. We're bumping up against the very real limits of the planet to endure the civilization we've built and our generation has the opportunity to reimagine and reinvent for the first time in ten thousand years what it means to be human.
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