Threads of Opportunity
As a follow up to the previous post declaring my new tag -- The New Cultural Movement -- I'd like to outline some of the specific threads of opportunity that I see as being germane here. This is kind of internally remedial for me, but seems like a good exercise anyway, and probably helpful for others to get a sense of the scope of things.
- There is a broad general movement away from consumerism and towards Participatory Culture. This isn't precisely new -- it's the source of punk, hip-hop, burning man, the diggers, the beats, and a whole lot of other contemporary cultural niches -- but it is emerging as an real force, and sapping away the power of concentrated broadcast/consumer entities.
- Specifically, a lot of people are making compelling culture on a human scale, out of their own lives or targeted at an community audience. My "blogfather" hooked me with his market-leading take on the whole deal, but there are bazillions of others. You may have heard of LiveJournal; there's plenty more where that came from. I even know some people.
- On the political side, there's a still-progressing shift towards open grassroots organizations, and towards the left in general. Why, respectable people even have the temerity to stand up against imperialism these days.
- At the same time, we are all outlaws in the eyes of America, and I have the specific experience of living in an outlaw haven and running with quasi-underground connections when I travel. Street cred, you know?
- I've also recently blogged about the philosophical trendline from religion to philosophy to culture. That's what I meant on my old site when I said "Art: my church." The gospel is poetry, and the mic is open.
- Open-source is huge.
- And yet, as I observed on my trek across the land, people still live in pretty spiritually crushing situations. There's a lot of anomie out there, a lot of energy locked up in the 31 flavors of status quo.
- And finally, the Big D is in the mail, the Red Dawn is on its way, etc. I don't believe in appocalyptic thinking -- just like conspiracy theories, they're nothing but disempowering -- but I do recognize the reality that real changes are coming. The debt-based economy isn't sustainable, and macro-level environmental shifts are already under way. It's not the end of the world, but we are going to have to deal with this stuff in our lifetimes.
All this to me adds up to the conclusion that the time is now -- now while I'm flush with cash and connections and don't have any kids to worry about -- to start pushing through to the next level on this stuff, start actualizing the potentials, putting the theories into practice; pedal to the metal and rubber on the road, so to speak. If not now, when? If not us, who?
Pithy, yes, but very real questions.