Sunday, January 15, 2006

Secret, Sinister, Salvia,.....

by Skald

Simplicity. Subversion. "Disciplined Hedonism".


These are more than ends unto themselves... they are strategies to a more relaxed, interesting, and enjoyable life. As I continually stress... there are down-to-earth practical advantages to these strategies. I feel no need to emulate Gandhi for the sake of supreme enlightenment. Nor do I take comfort from Thoreau merely for philosophical reasons.

Ive got extremely selfish reasons for advocating this lifestyle. Since Ive embarked upon it,.. Ive had a better life. Ive travelled extensively and lived abroad. Ive had plenty of "free time" for writing, walking, contemplation, reading, making home videos, and anything else that captures my whim. Ive felt more autonomy and control at my jobs... less anxiety and worry. Life has not been perfect.... but there's no comparison to the years I (lamely) tried to follow the mainstream approach.

But for all their benefits, simplicity and freedom are not the whole story for most. Except for the rare loner, most of us also require a sense of community to feel happy and engaged with our lives. We are social creatures. Like wolves, we evolved to live in packs (bands, clans, tribes,... ). We have a need for support. Its an emotional need, a biological need, and increasingly-- an economic need.

This need becomes ever-more critical as modern capitalism works to crush communities and atomize families.

Hakim Bey correctly identified "addiction to bitter loneliness" as one of the most destructive aspects of modern life.

His response: the Tong...

The secret society. A band of like-minded people who meet (in person) for conviviality and support. But the "tong" goes beyond that. Its members look out for each other... help each other into jobs,... protect each other from bureaucrats, bosses, and "the law".

Im quite fond of Bey's suggestion... though secrecy is not necessarily required (unless engaged in illegal activities). Over the years, Ive been fortunate to belong to just such a tribe... a loose collection of hobopoet friends who continually look out for each other. Im in SF because, and only because, one of my "tong" came here first, and let me crash with him till I got a place. He also set me up with "freelance" income till I got a job.

Ill be doing the same for two more friends who are currently in Thailand, but will be migrating here within the next year. None of us has family here. And none of us has family who travel much. So we've created our own nomadic family.

This is a vital step on the hobopoet path.... we need to connect. We need to back each other up. We need to cover for each other, give an assist when needed, and work together to subvert the work-consume lifestyle... in secret or in the open.

Join together.

1 comment:

Ryan Garou said...

I'm all for an underground society to retake the Bay Area, myself. Stupid rich people hogging up all this nice weather and scenery.

I assume this wouldn't be modeled on the Chinese tong/Triad, though, where members are obligated to perform a favor whenever asked on pain of death or castration or kneecapping or some other pleasantry.