95 Theses

This heat is killing me. Every day I wake up in a torpor and stagger to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face, to no avail. I’ve been essentially living in a yukata in a feeble attempt to fight the heat but sadly it’s not permissable outside the house wear and at least once a day I find myself forced into the constriction of actual clothing. I find myself strongly opposed to social norms right now, because they involve me torturing myself with fabric when all I want to do is lie in the shade by a nice little stream, cooling off.

I seriously cannot comprehend how people live in this weather. Today I stood in the shower with cold water streaming for 10 minutes and it was heavenly until I got out and it was still hot. My brain has slowed, my appetite has dwindled away, and I live a life of day to day misery longing for the clammy fog.

My other adaptation is to move by night. I find myself able to think more clearly in the coolness of the night, even though it’s still warm enough to force me to leave all the windows open. At night I plumb the depths of the internet in an attempt to catch up on everything I missed during the day when I was lying in a heaving puddle on the bathroom floor with Loki because it’s the coolest place in the house.

Thus it is that I find myself reading a new version of the 95 Theses, updated for the modern world. There’s some important information in these new theses, information which is relevant not only to the computer inclined but to the world in general, like number three: “all corporations are not on your side.”

There are also some excellent recommendations, like “express your opinion in public” and “do not follow the Electronic Frontier Foundation, participate in it.”

Above all, these theses are here to remind us that we need to be active. We need to speak out instead of remaining silent. We need to participate in our societies. We need to interact with the world if we want to change it, and this is something I think a lot of people, including myself, forget sometimes. Yes, blogging is a powerful tool, and it’s great when it can be used effectively to reach thousands (or millions) of readers. But I feel sometimes that just writing is not enough. I should be out proactively pounding the streets in pursuit of what I believe in, bringing down yuppie civilization and unschooling our children and farming organically.

It’s something we were talking about at dinner, that there’s a large shadow economy in this county which consists primarily of people who don’t contribute and don’t give back, even though many of them are making a great deal of money. One might argue that it’s hard to contribute to society when what you do is illegal and much of your life is dedicated to concealing the truth of what you do. And there’s no excuse for the rest of us making a legitimate living to reject our community.

Anonymous donation is still feasible. Participating in your community, volunteering, helping out–these are all things any of us can do, and things I remember more of us doing. I grew up in Caspar, a town where we knew all our neighbors and helped each other other. We were like a giant happy family, and when that family shattered thanks to a handful of assholes, it was a great tragedy. It was a greater tragedy, though, that none of us spoke out–we all decided to leave rather than facing the source of strife. We gave up rather than retrenching and building a better home.

Tonight I have been thinking about how we fail to recognize the value of community and of making the communities we live in stronger. Part of this is activism, and part of it is compassion. What have you done for something or someone in your community lately? How are you helping to make a stronger, more awesome world? Or are you so wrapped up in your own deal that you have forgotten to look around you, like a growing number of us? Shall we live forever in fractionated communities of people who barely know each other, or is it time to come together to build something great?

Or is it too late?

We have responsibilities, we members of the human family, to “…not allow corporations to get away with assisting oppressive regimes. Let your voice be heard,” to “decide what is offensive for yourself- don’t let the government decide it for you. If you do not, pretty soon, you may only see one side of every argument,” to “most of all- have fun.”

So why aren’t we doing it, in our 9-5 grinds, in our hastening down the street in avoidance of human interaction, in our failure to register the world around us? What has happened to society that we think it’s acceptable to answer cell phones in the midst of a group of loving friends, that we turn to computers rather than people for comfort, that we build safe and comfortable bubbles in which nothing of wonder and interest ever happens?

I don’t know. Perhaps it’s late and I’m rambling and I have heat stroke. But I think we need to question what we’re doing here, because I don’t see it going anywhere good.

That is all.