I have always been a bit on the strange side. This can and will be attributed to many variables. Of course, I am rather biased but at the same time I am quite possibly and most likely the authority on this.
Being raised a Roman Catholic has its pros and cons. Both sides of this roof present magical possibilities. This particular religion felt quite stifling to me as a young man. When I was five, I could not help but ponder concepts like free will and how Roman Catholicism, in my young opinion, failed to resolve the paradox of a supreme personal triad of a God, who’d bestow miracles and punishment on whims yet we still all had free will. Free unless you disobey.
And now I live in a country that uses this ‘free’ word quite a bit although it seems to not to mean anything. It is a ra ra cheer for chair leaders and couch potatoes who have sacrificed much of their neural potential at the clever beckoning of fast and processed food commercials.
For me, if Roman Catholicism was a car, it did not run. When I looked under the hood, instead of seeing an engine, I saw a picture of an engine and when I tried to point this out to my father, he refused to look under the hood and instead said: “How can 750,000,000 million people be wrong. I knew enough to not say anything but in my mind, a seed had been planted: Me, a 5 year old child, was more aware than all of those people. How sad, I thought, how very very sad.
The various cultural institutions that make up the bedrock of this society have not been able to impact my life direction, which to many – if not all – makes me appear as if I have no life direction. This is fine with me.
Lets start with shelter. When I moved to California. I began my exploration of minimalist structural living. My first 8 months were spent living in a tent at a retreat center. Somehow, I’d become the apprentice of a notorious local legend who’d carved out a career by carving out sculptural domiciles and kivas out of the side of hills. We’d spend the day digging, building up the walls, hitting it with rubber mallets and painting the dirt with donated old half filled cans of acrylic paint that folks would give to Skip instead of throwing it out.
One day, Skip took off for another project somewhere. By default, I became the kiva artist in residence.
This particular organization was and still is addicted to meetings - its called council. This is the main form of governance on every level. The first month, I never missed a meeting. This changed abruptly when I began to remember my roots, which felt at home within independent thinking. Thus I began to once again avoid group dinners, meetings or any kind of consensus-rooted consciousness that felt archaic to me.
Five months after playing ‘the artist in residence’ role, I moved off the land.