The Anti-Movement Manifesto
When I was a kid, I wanted to change the world by starting movements. I imagined leading hordes of people in marches, or maybe even into battle, screaming a bloody war-cry, looking like Mad Max. I was most enamored with people who could stir up movements across society like they were spontaneously bursting out from a pressure valve, like they had been waiting all along.
The problem with movements is that they become things which must be maintained. They become machines, and machines need fuel. And the easiest way to maintain a movement, to fuel your machine, is to keep people needing you, craving what you're going to give them next. So your movement begins morphing from a tool of freedom, to a machine of entrapment and co-dependence. People cannot become too independent, or your movement will fall apart. People cannot become too content, or they will slip away.
But that's not the only Gollumnization effect. The effect extends to you as well. Because your movement is a very deep part of your identity, you become the one who must, at all costs, maintain it. You become the tool of the machine, spending all your time and energy to feed it.
And so you and your followers become warped into this co-dependent dance of need, both sacrificing yourselves to a thing which is no longer human or real or necessary.
Society is speeding up. As it does, we've seen the locus of activity move from races and ethnicities, to kingdoms and empires and armies, to vast ideologies, to political causes and groups, to social movements, and now to cultural movements that roll over every year. Movements rise and fall within months, then weeks, then days.
But that means that successful movements are bucking the trend - holding onto people well past the moment when the people got what they came for, turning everyone involved into gollums. And the rest of the movements - well, they become temporary groups that flare and then fizzle out.
I don't want to play that game anymore.
I don't want to try to hold onto people. I don't want to be held on to. I want to be surrounded by people who are strong and independent, who think for themselves, and can challenge each other in deep ways. I want to assist those who are charting their own courses, who have their own identities.
Movements are past their due date.
So I will create tools. My manifestos, my creations, my ideas, will exist to serve others, adding fuel to their own propulsion systems as they race past. They will be absorbed and ingested and taken with you. They will not try to wrap you into an ongoing thing; they will be self-contained, valuable for themselves and for what they are.
We no longer need to hold on to others for an indefinite future. Instead, we can have events, and doings, and moments, coming together like flash mobs spontaneously, and then dissolving back into the crowd.
Instead of gollums, we will become human beings. Instead of movements, we will have legitimate moments of connection. Instead of leaders, we will be builders of liberation.
Who's with me?