What I Hope to Get Out of the DFWPPS


There is a person who is very interested in the Dallas/Fort Worth Project for a Participatory Society (DFWPPS). I already sense we will be good friends. He has a keen understanding of power structures and social relations. He also has a way of asking me questions that get me talking. He asked me what I hope to get out of the DFWPPS.
 
I hope everyone interested in the group finds themselves in here, somewhere.
 
I would like to see more people get interested and involved. I would like to see these events continue even if I can’t attend, but for the moment everyone is relying on me.
 
This is a broad topic that bears on many issues but centers around theory and practice of human freedom. This group, to me, is about discussing and planning for a more authentic, free society. The 20th century sociologist, C Wright Mills, said freedom was not the ability to do as one pleases or to choose from options proposed by others but that freedom was the ability to have a say in formulating the options and deciding. And since most of our options and decisions affect more than one person it is important that this process be open collectively to those affected.
 
[Actual C Wright Mills quote: "Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them — and then, the opportunity to choose."]
 
Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN said something similar in a story he wrote about Don Durito, his pet beetle who is always telling him revolutionary tales,
 
Where there are many paths, and we’re presented with the chance to choose, something fundamental is forgotten: all those paths lead to the same place. And so, liberty consists not in choosing the destination, the pace, the speed and the company, but in merely choosing the path. The liberty which the Powerful are offering is, in fact, merely the liberty to choose who will walk representing us… The Powers tell us, for example, that we have to choose between being optimists or pessimists. The pessimist sees the glass as being half empty, the optimist sees the glass as half full. But the rebel realizes that neither the vase, nor the water which it contains, belong to them, and it is someone else, the powerful, who fills it and empties it at his whim. The rebel, on the other hand, sees the trap. But he also sees the spring from which the water issues forth… And so, when the rebel faces the option of choosing between various paths, he looks further ahead and he looks twice: he sees that those routes lead to the same place, and he sees that there is no path to the place where he wishes to go. Then the rebel, instead of agonizing over polls which say that one path is better than the other because such and such a percent cannot be wrong, begins building a new path.
 
That’s what I want to get out of this group: the knowledge, inspiration and skills to not rely on others to decide our paths, but to make our own paths that take us where we want to go.

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