Hello to all! I’m a recent arrival in the Edgeryders community. It’s taking me a while to find my way round. But I’m already encouraged by what I’ve read and here’s why:
Being involved in work for change that is social, environmental and political - there’s a conversation or conversations about more radical change that I am constantly looking for. What I often find instead is that they are one of the vast amount of ‘change’ conversations taking place - at government level, within NGOs and in communities - along with significant amounts of human effort - that are focused on policies, campaigns or activity that to my mind, amount to little more than ‘rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic’.
The conversations about change that I hunger for, are guided by a bolder question - how might we design a better ship and transition humanity to something designed to support flourishing for people and planet. I’ve found a little of that kind of conversation offline, some online and there are many inspiring examples of approaches and work that is clearly part of that design and much more suited to supporting life for all. But I’ve not found enough - so I’m mightily encouraged to come across Edgeryders and find a hive buzzing with conversations that are not self-limited by current norms or ways of seeing the world. That are not restricted by the dominant assumptions that shape our ability to perceive what’s possible. Discussions that are seeking to co-create new realities.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir of the Icelandic Pirate Party captured it in an interview for Open Democracy; ’whenever you are trying to normalise something - you have to start to talk about it at times when it still feels weird’ Perhaps before normalising - there’s a stage of talking about things as a process of forming radically new perspectives and core beliefs that can feel even weirder. How can we support those kind of conversations as crucibles for a saner society?
So I’m finally getting round to writing out this ‘hello’ after @Luke_Devlin dropped by with @Nadia 2-3 weeks ago during one of our workshed open nights in the Govan area of Glasgow, Scotland. I look forward to sharing more conversations, on or offline and sharing more about our efforts to explore these and other themes through the working community we’ve convened here at GalGael over the last 20 years or more as well as learning from the insights of the Edgeryder community.
Designing a better ship…
Seems like you/we are setting yourself up for a very ambitious task. Often in the weird conversations that take their time to build up enough trust is where I saw loose networks like edgeryders being able to see red threads, or drive something concrete forward, even if it’s a tiny tool to support the ship. Often this meant meeting people live, in a carefully construed setup that is conducive to deep thinking. It’s where my work lies as well, and the crux of community building in some way.
I’m curious, Gehan, if you’ve seen key things that need to happen so that the ship takes shape - like alliances or projects directly building towards it. Maybe your decade long work with your group or an event which you attended saw this happening?
The bar in Star Wars
Welcome then! Me, as I watched Edgeryders come together in 2012 I felt like walking into the bar in the first Star Wars, with a myriad different alien forms hanging out and enjoying the music (or making it). And people think I'm strange? I am pretty plain compared to some of these guys.
Deep conversation, sometimes scary conversation ensued. Some collaborations started, even. And now, you are right, things are starting to normalise for me. Co-living, for example, felt natural. At the edge, there are far stranger ways of living: what we do seems solid middle ground in comparison. The arched eyebrows of others (which we still sometimes encounter, of course) are somehow not that important, because we know so many people that are trying different things out. There’s more than one way to be normal.
@Noemi - yes, it’s ambitious. But given how much resources and focus are consumed in ‘patching up’ - I reckon it’s worth giving some thought to… Generating sufficient trust is absolutely critical and by no means easy - so I’ll be keen to share in what you’ve learned through Edgeryders. Key things that need to happen? It goes back to creating spaces for the ‘weird conversations’. Skillful spaces where truly new perspectives and insights can show up rather than rehashing what we have or downloading what’s been done before. I haven’t come across enough of them. I think there are clues in places like GalGael - where the space seeks to maintain norms that are countercultural to one degree or another. Perhaps we need to recreate @Alberto 's Star Wars bar - a physical reminder to move the conversation to new territory?