I'm really trying, and I'm not giving up, I just want to express my sense of overwhelm, and I can't be the only one.
Until recently I've been a sort of general-fan-in-theory of - local currencies/LETSystems/social currencies (with the potential to localise production/distribution) - cryptocurrencies (with the potential to trade outside of state scrutiny & control) - Free/Libre Open Source software/technologies (developing copiable useful stuff in the interests of the commons - as if intellectual property hadn't come and screwed everything up) - secure communications (communicating outside of state/commercial scrutiny & control) - common-ownership, non-hierarchical coops (putting democratic ownership and control of production, distribution and other social needs into the commons)
Apart from coops though, I haven't paid a great deal of attention to the other stuff, as it seemed a bit complicated, like i'd have to spend time learning a bunch of new things, even just to decide which new things I should focus on learning and then persuade everyone else to learn too.
When Footprint was starting out, I said to the others, 'you work out how to use the printing press, and when you know what you're doing, i'll come and get trained. In the meantime I'll just do eco-activism and go travelling.'
Now I've realised that this has been my mindset for the last ten or so years, when it comes to all the other stuff mentioned above (if you replace 'eco-activism/travelling' with 'working at Footprint'). I've been waiting and hoping for everyone else to settle on 'how things all work now' and then I'll learn it.
The thing is though, that plan didn't really work out for me and Footprint. Despite their best efforts, the others gave up and left. When I got back from travelling, I realised I had to go to college and learn to print - and what there was to learn about printing didn't change during the year I was learning it. Also, luckily, my really useful co-founder was up for getting stuck in with pretty much all the administrative setup and problem-solving of getting Footprint up and running as a business with working machinery.
And here's the current situation: intrigued by having heard about FairCoin & FairCoop and the Cooperativa Integral Catalana, after a bit of investigation I've now decided to stop Footprinting and learn about some of the things, because it's time for me to do something new and I recognise these things are a key battle-front for undermining capitalism and creating anarchistic, ecologically sustainable communities.
And here's how things are the same but different from 20 years ago when it comes to all this new stuff: - I have not enroled on a course, but am instead wandering vaguely around the world, following one lead after another, with no idea of the scope of what there is to learn and no one checking to see i've understood correctly. - I don't have a handy partner at a loose end waiting to set things up with me, but there are plenty of techy people around that i'd like to work with, problem-solving all over the bloody place. But will I ever understand enough to catch up with them? They're constantly identifying problems and opportunities in areas i didn't know existed. - there will never be anything close to a 'this is how it is' moment of stability, a solid bit of ground on which to build. Instead, 'how it is now' is that the ground is constantly shifting - in fact the ground and the plants and trees are all moving unexpectedly, multiplying, mutating, joining, subsuming, flowing, webbing, dividing. And I can see my friends like monkeys, confidently swinging around, catching lianas as they pass, weaving vines together to make hammocks, hanging off branches and playing together, while i stumble around, trying to work out which trees are safe to climb and why the handy plant i was just getting to know turned into a googletriffid.
So, I'm on the lookout for climbers and monkeys, herbalists and weavers, people who can explain the DNA of the various plants in my new environment; who can show me what to look for when i encounter a new digital organism, to describe how it might grow and what other plants it will grow towards; who can show me how to use it and what to use it for; who can help me notice the signs of imminent ground-shifting; people who see me stumbling around with my trusty old tools and want to see if we can use all our tools to make hammocks and trampolines together for everyone to play on.
well, that post didn't go where i was expecting it to...
i think this link started me off on this train of thought: