I am guilty of living in the place “The Freak Manifesto” is meant to reach.
Consuming news media 24-7. Not just CNN, but news on every station I can tune into. All the while subscribing to over a hundred RSS feeds tracking stories from innumerable sources on subjects ranging from software engineering to politics, to the future of news journalism, to comic books. Facebook. Twitter. Blogging. Email. Cycle, rinse, repeat.
I feel constantly at odds with myself over the time I spend at home, at work, trying to sharpen the saw and keep myself open friends, family, new experiences. Be a good dad. A good husband. A good co-worker. A good brother, a good friend. Amidst this, trying to figure out how to make a positive change in the world some how, never feeling as though I’ve repaid my debts to those who took a chance on me.
I pretty much feel like I serve all my cares poorly, the guitar on the wall gathering dust.
In that original context I reviewed “The Freak Manifesto”, and in that context I absorbed the headings and pull quotes and missed the greater context of the whole document, which is a bit of a rallying cry for people such as myself, and probably you too if you can relate (I’m sure you can).
Upon re-reading, I don’t find myself agreeing with just 6 of the 44 pages – those that prescribe disconnecting from the control paradigm. It’s not the goal I have a problem with – the goal is admirable and something to work towards – it’s the how.
For example, this section rightly calls out the ills in public education and then suggests home schooling as the solution. I want to *fix* public education, not withdraw from it. A very radical choice here would be to encourage those not attending parent teacher meetings and school board meetings to get involved. Be heard. Fight loud. Hopefully we will live up to this when my daughter starts school – public or otherwise.
Honestly, we (Richelle, my wife, and I) might be looking back at this and realize our choices were incorrect. So our views on this are liable to change over time to those more in agreement with the paper or maybe in some other direction. Parenting is definitively learn-as-you-go and we’re going to adjust as we do so for what works Emma, our daughter.
Then there is the section also advocates opting out of politics. My generation had already done that prior to 2000 and look what happened – George Bush Jr. was elected. My generations’ belief that politics were inconsequential had real consequence. No one thinks the last ten years would have been the same had Al Gore been president. I’m happy to see my generation opting in now. Hopefully its not too late. Sure politics is a game within a game as the paper rightly posits. But change is more likely to happen when there are those on the inside as well as out fighting for it.
And its that last thought that carries for me. Read it. Be challenged. Think.
Don’t do like I did – don’t skim. Read it and let it stir. The world needs people awake and aware. The only way that happens is by confronting ourselves with things that don’t fit our comfort zones, and instead of violently screaming out ‘You Lie!’ – taking a deep breath and recognizing not only are there different points of view, but maybe they have something to teach us. That’s what the “The Freak Manifesto” ultimately is about to me.
I owe the authors an apology for that original interpretation – Thank you for writing it and getting it out here.