I’ll be 72 in March. I’ll be happy to get to 73. In many ways my body chemistry was more like my mother’s than my father’s (certain allergies, etc.) and my mother died at 72. So I’ve wondered whether or not my fate would be the same. These days that’s a young-ish age to die at. If I make it to 73 then maybe I’ll make it to my father’s age-of-decease, 87. He continued to be engaged with his life-passions work (Broadway theater) until 85.
I’ve just settled upon my life-passions work. Maybe I’ll now have ten or twelve years to bring it to fruition.
I made a living as a computer programmer. That was a passion for about three years. After those three years I came to hate computers and tech . . . with a passion.
My real work was other-than my money-making vocational misery. I used to do my real work all night and then sleep at my desk at my money-making place of employment during the day.
But even in regard to my real life’s-work, my head has been all over the place.
I read Summerhill just before my senior year of high school. It explained to me why I hated school. School is totalitarian. It’s fine for the 10% who take to the challenge of learning how to be a successful student. It sucks for 60% and it’s just about out-right torture for 30%. But they have to keep going there every day. Cultures do crazy and horrible things without batting an eyelash. Future peoples will say we tortured our children making them sit most of the day inside in rooms in rows of seats being quiet and supposedly attentive and ostensibly listening to material that the adults think has importance but meanwhile has very, very little relevance or context or significance for them, the children. We do that to them because adult work activity is done in institutions not conducive to family participation and so the children must go somewhere, segregated from the real-life activities of the adults. It’s a horror and a torture. But most cultures torture some of their members in some ways. They can spot the horror when they look at other cultures, but are blind when it comes to their own.
So, anyway, my first passion was the free-school movement of the Sixties that developed in the wake of the popularity of Summerhill.
Erich Fromm wrote the Introduction to Summerhill. When I read Erich Fromm’s books I became a Marxist. That was my second passion. When I could see that capitalism sucked and Stalinist Communism sucked I viewed Trotskyism as the “third way” alternative. That was my third passion.
I was young. The adults around me said Marxism and Trotskyism were wrong-headed. But they couldn’t explain why. So I thought they just didn’t get it. Then Rudolf Bahro and then Edward Goldsmith and then Fredy Perlman and then David Watson explained why Marx and Trotsky were wrong-headed. Bahro wrote From Red to Green. That was my next passion.
What to do? David Watson and Peter Werbe and Howie Hawkins got bogged down with that one. Everybody’s green now, but answering the question What To Do? is a difficulty.
I think I’ve got it. My passion now (and what I believe will be my ultimate life-work) is the vision of creating networks of ecovillages as the basis for a bioregional reorganization of society.
That’s it. Simple and straightforward. Maybe I’ll now have ten or twelve years to bring it to fruition. Wouldn’t it be terrific if in, let’s say, 2033 we’ll all be living in a green-sane bioregional society? There’ll be a plaque in every village square: “This is the fruition of Steve’s life-passions work.”