We Are The Title

Starting a long post with a long quote, bad form Andy, bad form. It’s one of those “Andy’s been thinking again” posts anyway, so you’ve been warned. It’s a great quote though.

In those day’s, Pilade’s was a free port, a galactic tavern where alien invaders from the Ophiulco could rub elbows peaceably with the soldiers of the Empire patrolling the Van Allen belt. It was an old bar near one of the navigli, the Milan canals, with a zinc counter and a billiard table. Local tram drivers and artisans would drop in first thing in the morning for a glass of wine. In ’68 and in the years that followed, Pilade’s became a kind of Rick’s Café, where Movement activists could play cards with a reporter from the bosses’ newspaper who had come in for a whiskey after putting the papers to bed, while the first trucks were already out distributing the Establishment’s lies to the newstands. But at Pilade’s the reporter also felt like an exploited proletarian, a producer of surplus value chained to an ideological assembly line, and the students forgave him.

Between eleven at night and two in the morning you might see a young publisher, an architect, a crime reporter trying to work his way up to the arts page, some Brera Academy painters, a few semisuccessful writes, and students like me.

A minimum of alcoholic stimulation was the rule, and old Pilade, while he still stocked his big bottles of white for the tram drivers and the most aristocratic customers, replaced root beer and cream soda with pétillant wines with the right labels for the intellectuals and Johnnie Walker for the revolutionaries. I could write the political history of those years based on how Red Label gradually gave way to twelve-year-old Ballantine and then to single malt.

p46-47, Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco

For many years now — okay about 5, but that’s damn near a quarter of my life — I have felt a deep sense of activism. Immature, naive activism surely, but an overwhelming sense that there is right to be done nonetheless. Over the time that I have felt this way, I have gradually chipped away at the ambiguity of the feeling, seeking the movements of my time to identify with.

I am at the age of dissatisfaction. It is no secret why so many college students seek out or generate political movements with which to align themselves, we are in a world that we have just begun to see and the moral overload is incredible. We are looking for a way to make sense of the information that up until now seemed hidden, for a way to deal with finding out that everything we’ve known has only been a fragment of the truth, if in fact it held any truth at all.

A few years ago, I went through the spiritual death that was the realization of my own naiveté in a world where everything I’d known seemed completely inadequate. That’s a bit of a dramatic way to say it, but liken the feeling to that of looking at your uncle one day and suddenly seeing, instead of the character described to you through your childhood as the character of “The Uncle,” a man with strengths, weaknesses, a past and 100% predictability, a not-particularly-unique subset of that greater definition of human, then realizing, with overwhelming weight, that you are just another not-particularly-unique subset.

I dealt with it in a surely typical way, and eventually came to rest on the feelings of angst-ridden activism that I described above.

The movements of my time are those of open source software and communication, movements centered around the ideas of community. We may all be not-particularly-unique, but the age of the electron and the switch has given us a new tool, a tool that humanity has never before had, and it can bring people together in ways that will transform everything that has come before it.

I have not yet found my Pilade’s, but I’m pretty sure our revolution will be written over espresso.

3 thoughts on “We Are The Title

  1. I appreciate this article so much as I feel I am living it right now. I am a 31 year old graduate student in Psychology and have come to a realization that my life hasn’t really started yet. However, the few years I took off school and a few summers in between as well as an alternative undergraduate education have convinced me that up until this point I have been punished and have had no control over any of the events. Like an Orwellian nightmare combined with “The Name of The Rose” I currently reside at “Hotel de Zinc” – so apptly named for its metal (rather purious – I think) as well as its atomic number 30 (my age). Naturally the mission of any Knight is the alchemical transition from lead to gold. However I have only come up short every time with fellows expecting cockagne instead. We move about, monasticly from month to month residing in different denominations at night and congregating in public during the day. There is no secret to this one folks, despite the dissapointment of various connossieurs of the narcotic I have to say that the current temperment in the mornings is persecutory to one another and that templarism is a solitude mission without the Kangaroo Court room antics displayed so far. What a joke!

  2. Tor, you are an out-of-control saint! Loved your message. Keep on trucking!

    Victor

  3. This is a year later, and I am going back to the Hotel de Zinc…. The ever present Occam’s Razor philosophy of life is ever prevailant.. and I must admit that I am now lazy. What else can you expect for a Knight; who has vowed to be impoverished and chaste. Believe me, Rich homosexuals are laughing all the way to the bank…. Forget Lead, lets turn time into money…. I seem to have so much of it these days. Read Umberto’s “The Island From the Day Before”…. absolutely ingenious and explains my disability so well. My father has informed me that he is to die at Sea. In a ship like any true Viking ought to. Lately I have been conversing with Caser, Hitler, Napolean and Mussolini about G. Bush’s War efforts. Times sure have changed… has anyone checked out the gay porn on the net…..alchemical GOLD!!!!!…. This must be Heaven at last…. Thank You Vicktor for your kind comments.

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