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+7 votes
and  what stops you?

i am not talking about "changing the world," i am talking about things reasonably within your control. no magic wands, no global revolutions or mind-shifts, no spontaneous combustion of civilization.

i am talking about changes in behaviors, relationships, lifestyles, etc.
by (12.9k points)
i love this question. it's meaningful to me in a big way. however, i have to admit that, for me, an answer would entail a level of intimacy with others i simply don't feel over the internet, my enjoyment of this site notwithstanding.

damn...
i feel you AF. perhaps we need a thread for questions for us to meditate on.

meditation! that's an answer i can share! ;)
i like that idea, dot.

sometimes the internet heightens my feelings of alienation, estrangement and distance to the degree of near-physical pain. this is one of those moments, actually. f@'s question is in sync with my own self-questioning right now.
i like your question a lot, funky. i have a little distilling to do...and then i'll attempt an answer.

i also understand your (AF and dot) feelings of alienation from long distance conversations without voices and faces and bodies present.

i sure would like to meet some of you in the flesh one day.
likewise, ba@. i wish there was a way to pm on this site. perhaps sometime i'll post a roundabout way to contact me. i'll have to think about it though.
that sounds good. i'll think about it too.
yep, i sure do get the whole internet alienation thing. it would be nice to have a private chat function on this site, and it would be even nicer if some of us could get together off the internet.

would it be inappropriate to ask folks to sound off as to what general area of the world you are in? just to get an idea about how feasible it might be for some of us to actually meet, someday.

these days i create my life in the southwestern united states.
the northwest and southwest united states for me right now (but i also like to roam).
Good question. I think about this probably every day.

Midwest represent!
west/southwest...formerly ute land.

3 Answers

+5 votes
What I'd do:

Get off the internet, get rid of my phone, and get a burner. Maybe occasionally check my email at a library or something.

Quit my full-time job and make money posing at the local art school a few times a week to pay rent. Spend my time relaxing in a hammock, hanging out with my cat, reading, and exploring the city I live in.

Work out more and train in martial arts of some kind. Also learn survival and rewilding skills. Also new languages.

Travel to other cities for months at a time.




Why I don't:

I work on anarchist projects in my local area that require money and commitment.

I am relatively content and don't want to lose getting health care through my job.

I would never abandon my cat, even for more than a few weeks at a time.

Unfortunately I also care what family people think, and it's much easier for me to have a relationship with them if I have a somewhat conventional life.
by (4.0k points)
+5 votes
Like flip, ridding myself of my full time job and my dependence on technologies I hate would be somewhere towards the top of my list. Martial arts seem nice, though I don't know if it would be my first priority. More time learning about the things that grow near me that I can eat. Time with my cat and dog friends.

I would like to think that I would live with some more people I share in projects with. Oh, and move some friends into the empty house across the yard so we can have more and diverse folks and projects.

What holds me back is economics - I live in a pretty magical corner of a PNW city that is, and always has been, home, but is getting less and less recognizable daily. I have no desire to move, so I do what I need to keep renting where I live until I can enter an arrangement to own it. Yeah, property is theft, but in a world where everything is carved up by capitalism, I would rather hold tight to the little spot I love and live upon. I don't think of this as better than being more transient and fighting battles where one finds themselves, but that just isn't in my nature. I hold on to places with tenacity. One thing I might do to live more in line with my anarchism is learn to let that go a bit.

Also history - As much as I want to live with more folks than I do with more shared projects than there are, this hasn't worked out real well historically, for a number of reasons (many of them are my of my own creation). After the last place I lived where I thought this would be a thing, I am, frankly, hesitant. In addition I have responsibilities to a couple of dogs, a human, and a cat (and a turtle... it's a long story) whom I feel unable to abandon.

What I find most interesting about this question is that for me it touches on a place where I have experienced diverging ways of living with that of friends between folks who choose to live where they are and those who choose to constantly move to new places as necessity or desire pull them. I tend to romanticize the latter, but think that the former also holds some value - that of really knowing a place, understanding context and history (these can, of course, also be millstones).

edited because somehow in the writing and revising I always make mistakes that a 3rd grader would notice. I get by with a little help from my friends?
by (22.1k points)
edited by
A very good question, and wonderful answers.

Your notes about Place resonate with me.
The benefits and risks of the nomad (not tied to any place, but easily pushed out), and of the emplaced (to the bitter end, nothing left to lose), are a discussion in themselves; something i mull regularly with no satisfaction.

And safeguarding hostages...
(if we, as individuals, are 'responsible' for the well-being of other individuals (of whatever species) - then are they not held hostage by the hostile nature of the state/corporate/system/machine...?)
absolutely clodbuster. this is shit that i am much more worried about than concerns about who will deal with robbers atr.
+5 votes
this was a question i finally asked myself about 14 years ago. well, honestly i started asking it way before then, but the fear of living on the edge had always won out. i had gone from being a poor inner city kid to a somewhat successful software developer, with no formal education and a bit of an outsider's perspective. the idea of leaving that "career", and the life it helped me live, was quite scary. exactly up until the moment i did it.

i left the world of full-time work. i left the city i lived in (i had only ever lived in major cities my entire life). i left my wife. i sold my one asset - my suburu - to buy an old van i could live in. i signed up for unemployment, hooked up a small solar panel, and hit the road.

i learned how to live on *very* little money.  i learned how to avoid the authorities when parking overnight. i started learning how to do things for myself that i typically would have looked to others for.  i saw a shitload of the united states, which - who'd have thunk it - is an incredibly beautiful place (especially if you ignore most of the humans and all the damage they've done). i very quickly became disconnected from (the bulk of) the web of authoritarian bureaucracy and institutions that had always been such an annoying (and seemingly necessary) part of my life. i started feeling more free than i could ever remember as an adult.

i was shedding those responsibilities that i had not chosen to take on myself, but had been imposed on me by society. and that was the most liberating thing i have ever done.

through a friend who had lived in the area, i found some land in a remote corner of the southwest that is considered "uninhabitable", and so is essentially free to squat (and super cheap to purchase, when you know how). this area is ignored by the authorities, has no infrastructure whatsoever, has a very low population density, and often has some of the harshest conditions i have ever experienced. did i mention that it is *free*?!?!?! and i mean that as much philosophically as economically.

since then i have been, along with my best friend and landmate, creating a simple, enjoyable life on that land. the thing is, while most folks that live in this area are misfits and societal outcasts (making them much more appealing to me than most), very few (if any, apart from my landmate) share my desires for an anarchic life. there are definitely some who identify as anarchist, i just find that after talking with them for a while, it is clear they are anarchists of a different stripe. basically, progressive activist types, looking to save/change the world in all the usual ways. dime a dozen, where i come from. and just not very interesting to me. i find the old vietnam/gulf war vets with ptsd much more interesting.

the primary thing i would change about my current life, would be to have a few more folks nearby that share a bit more of my perspective, and who share my desire for the kind of simple, joyous, creative, self-engaged, self-sufficient life that i strive for. i have no desire to be part of a "community", but a few more autonomous individuals nearby that i deeply care about and trust would not break my heart. problem is, nobody i know wants to create their life here - the conditions are simply too harsh. many @ friends have visited, and they love it - but, "it's a nice place to visit...".

[edited to add a touch of context]
by (12.9k points)
edited by
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