(n.) the desire to care less; a longing for liberty, an ache to let things go. – from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
It seems like every day that I'm online I see more desperate lamentations of our powerlessness over the system, more topical political discussions turning into joint proclamations of inevitable defeat, where once passionate activists now find their only catharsis in positing apocalyptic hypotheticals back and forth to each other.
These people aren't driven to this hopeless, reclusive state through ignorance, myopia, or self-absorption. On the contrary, their radical worldview and their fatalistic outlook are direct products of their acute sense of perspective and their unbridled compassion. These people are not lost causes; they are precisely the people that can be reached.
I see people like this, and I always want to say something, but the right turn of phrase has not yet come to mind. These are the people who have heard it all - and done it all - before, and this is where it's all led up to.
It was driven by this desire of mine, and in the midst of one of my own bouts of such disillusionment, that in July of last year I first envisioned the foundation of a community / support group, to which I gave the working title "Liberosis" - which was (annoyingly enough) the closest synonym I could find to the feelings I was seeing so clearly in myself and so many others like me. The next time I saw someone in this sort of pessimistic stupor, I wanted to be able to say: "Come join us at Liberosis. You'll be among company. We'll get through this together." I wanted to help set up the environment - the community, the resources, the incentives - to help this jaded recluse become the powerful political force they're uniquely suited to be.
Building this group from nothing has been a long, slow process, not least because of the myriad changes that have happened in my life in the intervening months, and the debilitating, existentially terrifying disease that I contracted in August. But through all this, I was patient, persistent, and diligent in planning out every part of the process... and also, importantly, discerning which parts of it I shouldn't be planning or carrying out on my own.
Over the course of those many months, I've gathered about a dozen trusted friends to help out in these beginning stages. Together, we've mapped out detailed plans and strategies, we've held meetings, had discussions, divvied up tasks based on our respective areas of expertise... all in preparation for our public launch, making sure our structure is solid enough to sustain whatever chaos arises, but flexible enough to change and grow based on popular feedback, bound only by our central goal and our fundamental principles.
Today, March 1, marks phase 2 of our outreach. We've got a good foundation, but we're still pretty small, and we're soliciting help from anyone who might be interested. Eventually, we'll have the infrastructure necessary to actually deliver on our mission, and we will be finally ready to reach out to our target audience.
Some people will join Liberosis because they're already itching for something to do. But others will need lots of time, and it's crucial not to rush this. For many of us, being an activist can feel like LARPing; the world is so vast and complex, and here we are acting as if we have power over it, despite everything inside us saying we don't; it's like we're wrapping up our very identity in what is essentially a façade. The only way we can be authentic, we figure, is to act in accordance with our own nihilism.
But in the end, I think a message of hope can win out, purely on its own merits. History is peppered with massive popular uprisings, and one of these will be the one that's bigger than any others before or since... and the conditions right now are riper than ever. But more importantly: the feeling of embracing your own existential dread is nothing compared to the immense personal satisfaction that comes from earnestly investing yourself in a social movement. And I know; I've experienced both.
Apathy is our only impediment to revolution.