The Plight of an Activist

October 11 2013

My name is Scott Helvick, and I want to destroy the world.

... and rebuild it.

Forgive the hyperbole. You see, I've found that people are more likely to pay attention when you shock them a bit. I can't tell you how many times I've had this conversation:

Me: "I want to change the world."
Random Acquaintance: "Oh, that's great! I work with this organization that supports rights for the oppressed people of Fuckedupistan. We're having a rally on Saturday -- you should come!"
Me: "Oof, sounds great, but unfortunately, that's the same day as my rally to support rights for the oppressed people of Evenmorefuckedupistan."
RA: "Oh... well, that's okay. You can just sign this petition and we'll put you on our mailing list!"
Me: "Sure, but you have to promise not to actually send me any mail. I get 78,426 messages a day, and I can't miss out on those penis enlargement opportunities."

Yeah, yeah, I know. Hyperbole. Fortunately, this *exact* conversation hasn't happened, but you get the idea. We all have a finite amount of time and energy, and I believe we have a responsibility to use it in a way that will create the greatest positive impact. For me, that impact doesn't result from attending a rally or signing a petition.

When I say that I want to change the world, I mean it. I'm not talking about saving the whales, or fighting childhood obesity, or protecting workers' rights. Those are simply causes -- important ones, no doubt -- but in the end they're just small pieces of a larger puzzle. I prefer to look at that puzzle holistically.

A premise: Western-style capitalistic society, as it exists in 2013, is directly or indirectly responsible for a significant proportion of humanity's ills.

If you disagree with my premise, or are just waiting to be convinced, I would be happy to have that discussion with you -- just not right now. (And not with 20,000 of you. Oy vey, what am I getting myself into!?) This assumption can't be easily proven in one 600-word e-mail.

If you do agree with my premise, however, then I have a request for you.

It is my belief that capitalism cannot be cleanly "extracted" from human societies without leaving those societies in a (temporary) state of chaos and panic. You remove it, violence ensues, people die, etc, etc. Far from ideal. Instead, what we need is an alternate system to which people can migrate, one by one, until a critical mass is reached which causes capitalism to become quietly irrelevant.

I would like to build this system. I need your help to make it happen. If what I've said resonates with you, e-mail me with the following information:

1. Describe yourself. This is intentionally open-ended; you can say as much or as little as you like.
2. If you were like Bruce in Bruce Almighty (he basically becomes God), what's the first thing you would do?
3. (Optional) Search online for The Venus Project and read/watch to your heart's content. Then tell me your reactions.

What am I going to do with this information? Honestly, I don't know yet; it depends on the number and content of the responses. 20,000 should be a decent sample size to at least get an idea of how the general public reacts to this sort of rhetoric; beyond that, all I have is a bunch of ideas and a burning desire to implement them.

But I promise you this: I'm not going to sit around and watch the world suffer needlessly. I hope you don't, either.

Scott Helvick
[email protected]
Seattle, WA, United States

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