One thought on “Video of my presentation at Powell’s with Ursula”

  1. I’m glad someone recorded a video of this event. I meant to head down to Portland for it, but wasn’t able to make it.

    Are you familiar with the writings of Daniel Quinn? He is not explicitly an anarchist, but he writes about changing the way we live. During the Q&A part of the video, somebody asked how an anarchist/non-state “utopia” can survive while surrounded by states. It put me in mind of a quote from Quinn. Here he’s talking about civilization/anti-civ, but it can easily be framed as state/non-state:

    Civilization isn’t a geographical territory, it’s a social and economic territory where pharaohs reign and pyramids are built by the masses. Similarly, beyond civilization isn’t a geographical territory, it’s a social and economic territory where people in open tribes pursue goals that may or may not be recognizably “civilized.”

    You don’t have to “go somewhere” to get beyond civilization. You have to make your living a different way.

    I think that is something that many people overlook. They think you have to go to out in the desert or atop a mountain or (as in The Disposesed) to the moon. Civilization/the state as geography makes the situation almost hopeless.

    Quinn also writes a relevant parable:

    Jack and Jill spent some days with their friend Simon on his small sailboat. One morning they woke up to find the boat was sinking.

    “What in the world are we going to do?” Jill asked.

    “Don’t worry,” said Jack, “Simon’s very ingenious.”

    Simon called to them, “Come on, we’ve got to abandon ship.”

    Jill was alarmed, but Jack reassured her that Simon wouldn’t let them down.

    “We’re only a hundred yards from shore,” Simon said. “Let’s go!”

    “But how are we going to save ourselves?” the couple wanted to know.

    “We’re going to swim for it, of course!” Seeing Jack’s look of disappointment, Simon asked him what was wrong.

    Jack said, “I was hoping you could find a way of translating us directly ashore, without our having to get wet.”

    An early reader expressed the same disappointment with me. He was hoping I’d be able to find a way of translating us directly to our new economic homeland without our having to “get wet” in the Taker economy that surrounds us. The ultimate New Tribal economy (which at best I can only dimly imagine) is the dry land ahead. To reach it while holding ourselves disdainfully aloof from the economy around us would make walking on water seem like a very minor miracle indeed.

    I recommend reading the Ishmael trilogy (Ishmael, The Story of B, My Ishmael) plus Beyond Civilization if you have not already! (Both above quotes are from Beyond Civ.)

Leave a Reply