RESET! I just got back from Porcupine Freedom Festival in New Hampshire. At first I was worried that with such high expectations, with how amazing of an experience it was the last two years, that I would be setting myself up for a let down. Such was not the case. In three years, it has gotten better every year!
I didn’t use the internet from Monday through Saturday of last week–not at all! That is the first level of reset. In fact on the radio on my way home from the event I heard that we may all be constantly overstimulated by the internet, and can benefit from periodical internet fasts. Being surrounded by wonderful people in this little microcosm of freedom was all I needed.
This is like my yearly injection of positivity and energy, which I hope to replicate in the future to a year round lifetime of love and joy. It is a goal to strive for. It shows me how good things could be, and the power of individuals and voluntary groups to affect the type of change we want to see in the world. It starts with the individual.
That is the biggest thing I took away from this year’s event. Instead of focusing on everyone else–you should do this, they should do that, “we” should (when we really means you)–it is beneficial to first be the change you want to see in the world. That is sort of a cliche phrase, but for how often we may hear it, I am not sure people much think about what it means.
At PorcFest, we all value freedom. But everyone has a different idea of freedom. The people who want marijuana to be legal are not always the same people who value gun ownership, or the same people who seek equality when it comes to gay marriage and such. At this event, everyone that I met and saw realized that their preferred freedoms are not the only ones that matter. Everyone should be free to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. So there were gays, stoners, gun lovers, Muslims, Jews, Christians, rednecks, executives, rich, poor, black, white, Asian, free range children, and on and on. This was true diversity. This was the live and let live philosophy brought to its logical conclusion for one week in a microcosm of New Hampshire.
Being the change we want to be for those of us at PorcFest meant tolerating things we are not necessarily comfortable with, because we realize those things do not affect us directly. I’m sure not everyone was comfortable with people doing mushrooms, and I am sure not everyone was comfortable with the guy driving around on his ATV flying a confederate flag. Some might have been less than excited about guns, and some might have never been around gay guys cuddling by the fire before. But it didn’t matter, because the people at PorcFest walk the walk: do whatever you want, until it starts to negatively affect me, then we’ll talk.
And I think that is why I feel so mentally refreshed after the weeks I spend at PorcFest. I see my philosophy on life working without contradictions. But we aren’t all as lucky as I am, to have a specific event tailored for my worldview; and one that actually is what it claims to be.
I also have my setbacks. Writing a book, Anarchy in New England, was a huge step towards being who I want to be. But there are many more. I am an amateur forager, but the next step is seeing how self sufficient I can be. At PorcFest I attended a talk on beekeeping, and also a talk on soap making. When I move down south before this winter these are two things I would like to try my hand at, as well as growing vegetables, and raising chickens for laying eggs.
I criticize the government a lot, and something I need to continue to strive for is setting up my life so that the government is unnecessary, as I often preach. I need to be the change I want to see: I need to set up a self sufficient town where everything from trade, to currency, to conflict resolution are handled privately, in order to practice what I preach.
And after seeing things work so well for one week without government at PorcFest, it is time to expand the microcosm, and attempt to set up a full time version. This seems like the natural progression; it has been tested for a week as best as we are allowed within the confines of current government. Now we need to test it more permanently, in order to move beyond theory.