Opt Out

>> January 9, 2020

>> Blog Post #9

It’s time to make a push.

Make a stand, be heard, push the boundaries, create space for the future you want for others & yourself and are committed to building.

I’ve had a strange feeling this year. I’ve felt that I knew the answer to a question while having very strong doubts about the answer at the same time. I don’t know if it’s intuition versus caution (my system 1 vs system 2 struggle that I introduced here) or only that I probably need to think about it more and have more of a game plan.

“Opt Out” – messages that are as simple and as loaded as this one are so powerful.

I have been attending a fascinating conference for a few years. It is called the Hackers Conference Paralelni Polis or HCPP. The Institute of Cryptoanarchy, Paralelni Polis, is a hacker space that was created a few years ago by hackers, artists and activists in downtown Prague. (this my very approximative description – don’t shoot me). Anyway! It’s a place that promotes and encourages freedom, experimentation and activism.

Each and every year the HCPP conference brings together a very committed crowd of people of all horizons that probably only share their wish for freedom. There are talks, workshops, parties for a few days (and it’s the only conference that is smart enough to have NO morning events – just saying) and each conference is held under a specific yearly theme.

Opt Out

This year’s theme – Opt Out – immediately hit a nerve. It’s probably the best theme they ever chose. No! It IS the best theme they ever chose. (2018 – “New Order”, 2017 – “Liberate”, 2016 “Decentralized” for some examples).

Opting out, is choosing to withdraw yourself from a situation, an environment that is not suitable for you. For people like myself, who have become convinced over the past few years that the way our current systems, countries, governments work is morally unethical and unacceptable, opting out is an evidence. I have already slowly taken some steps that remove me from the daily control that was exerted on me although I had never approved it. Yet, there is further to go.

Opting out is therefore exercising your free will, reclaiming some liberty. But it is also deepening your knowledge about just how much you had unknowingly accepted or taken for granted and embarking on a lifelong journey.

But at some point, you wonder what there is to build, or at least I do. Removing yourself from one world doesn’t mean you need to abandon everything. It means you want it differently. And what does not exist in a format you can accept; you have to build another way. My gut feeling is that next year, or maybe further down the road, HCPP will choose a slogan that will capture the essence of what there is to build and how to build it with others.

Opting out doesn’t mean being by yourself. Opting out means you care about certain values, that might be more important than comfort or material things. It does not in any case mean you do not want to build relationships and a society with others who share those.

So, the question is how small is this crowd that you will be building with. Is it small and in need or remaining “underground” or is it an early manifestation of the street getting ready for a change of scenery?

I will reserve my answer as I ponder a little more.

37 thoughts on “Opt Out”

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