by Tim Bryant
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller
Reality in the 21st century is not what it was fifty years ago, let alone a hundred plus years back. Times have changed and technologies like the Internet have revolutionised social interactions within societies and the dissemination of information and ideas across the globe. As a result, activists have been forced to rethink their approach towards changing the world, as the tactics of the past are no longer the effective tools they once were.
For example, planning an armed revolution takeover of the government seems incredibly naive and suicidal today compared to its perceived effectiveness in say the 1700’s. Do people really think that a small rebel army can physically take down one of the strongest and largest militaries the world has ever known? I highly doubt it; plus, solving the problem through violence, the very same tactic that caused this mess, not only seems counterproductive but further encourages violence and division within a society. At The Last American Vagabond, we are highly skeptical of such an approach and have no desire to promote any type of violence in the name of recapturing national sovereignty, unless it’s in self-defense.
With that in mind, it’s becoming clear that the 21st century activists must transcend violent takeovers and rethink their
While we must learn from past transgressions in activism, more importantly we have to evolve in our approach and adapt our tactics to that of the 21st century. The battleground is very different now, and if we don’t take that into consideration, then we will surely lose the war for the minds of the people. So the question then becomes, what does the 21st century activist need to embody, in terms of their traits and actions, if their activism is to truly thrive in today’s world?
Traits of Self:
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
1) A Seeker of Gnosis (Full Embodiment of the Mind)
The most important attribute for any activist to exemplify in the 21st century is to be an avid seeker of gnosis, which stems from the Gnostic traditions, and simply refers to the life long journey one takes in the search of truth and self-actualisation. It symbolises the continuous process of self-discovery, knowing that one is not a concrete or fixed entity, but instead a fluid being capable of growth. Gnostic thinkers are constantly working on themselves and feverishly researching truth, knowing that higher consciousness lies in the sacred matrimony of understanding the objective realities of the universe and being self-aware.
The disciple of gnosis is someone who is always aiming to see reality through an infinite array of vantage points in order to compile all the data together and piece together some strand of truth. In the end, they are dialectic thinkers who don’t pick teams or get bogged down by intense emotions, but instead flow to wherever truth presents itself. However, they always accept that a stream of new information could arise, forcing them to readjust their beliefs to fit these new understandings. While no one is perfect, they strive for open-mindedness, which is fundamental to any real truth-seeker.
2) A Being of Infinite Love (Full Embodiment of the Heart)
Another vital trait for a 21st century activist to embody is true love, which is the point when one transcends into a being of light/love, as opposed to an isolated ego of self-satisfaction and fear. When one becomes a being of light they start to see everything as a reflection of Self because they understand that everything comes from the source, as in; we all come from the same fundamental pool of energy. The important principle here is realising that we are all one at some level, yet we are all individual seeds with unique qualities, problems, and desires. There is polarity within the unity and true activists accept this reality and work with it instead of against it.
Once you become a being of love, you transform into a person of compassion and a leader of others, but not in the way of controlling them or using them, but in a way of helping people locate the tools they need to find themselves. True beings of light are unafraid to die because they understand that love is the king of the universe and truth is the path towards higher consciousness. Without love there would be chaos, so opening up your heart is just as key as opening up your mind if you are to be a righteous activist in the 21st century.
3) A Creator of Reality (Full Embodiment of the Body/Will)
Finally, any effective activist in the 21st century activist must progress to a point where they are no longer just a consumer of reality, but evolve into being creators of reality, also known as beings of action. There is no point in possessing all this knowledge and compassion if you are not going to act upon it and manifest it within the world. While consuming knowledge is important in waking up and understanding the ins and outs of what’s wrong with the world, there comes a point deeper into your journey of gnosis where you must take all this knowledge that you have learned and start putting it into action.
“Enlightened action is the complementary outflow of the enlightened state.”
When you start to take action and develop original ideas, you evolve past being purely a consumer into being an actual creator of reality. In this regard, you begin to lift others up through your own creative endeavours, which aids in the development of the outside world, instead of pure self-interests. Both are needed, but a true activist can develop both the Self and the collective at the same time. Ultimately, we need more people who are willing to take action and physically embody change, instead of waiting on others to change it for them. Action is the only way things ever change in the physical world, so thinking and loving are fruitless without actual action.
Actions in the Physical World
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
A true activist knows that the most important part of changing the system is actually ‘being the change they wish to see in the world.’ This means transforming your lifestyle, so that all your actions are aligned with the manifestations you want to see happen in the world. This is not easy and no one is perfect, but this is fundamental to real activism. It’s the understanding that you must starve the beast that is the system, and then feed the light that is the new and better way.
One of the most profound ways activists can do this is by voting everyday with their dollar, as in spending their money towards causes they want to promote in the world. Other lifestyle choices that are important for activists to partake in include:
• trying to buy or grow local and organic foods
• transacting in alternative currencies
• supporting unbiased media
• partaking in permaculture practices
• cultivating new skills so you can become independent
• simply adopting any agorist actions that are outside the corrupt aspects of the social system.
Overall, the objective is to disconnect from the current system, and build a new lifestyle that connects to something better.
“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.”
2) Waking People Up
The 21st century activist knows that the real battle we’re up against is not as much a physical fight than it is a battle over the minds of the people. This is an information war and in order to win we need people to awaken to the truth, which is often right in front of them, but they lack the perspective to see it.
Therefore, it’s the job of today’s activist to spread as much knowledge and information as possible, even if it’s unpopular and people don’t want to see it. That doesn’t mean that people need to damage relationships or constantly get into heated discussions over ideas, but if we are to look at the world differently and change it, we will need brave souls who are willing to challenge people and bring up taboo subjects that stir up emotions. You can’t change things in a collective if no one talks to each other.
While we can’t force others to change or wake up to the truth, we can cultivate an environment where quality information is more plentiful. The hope is that these truthful vibes will rub off on others and they will find it continually harder to perpetuate their false illusion. Spreading information daily on social media, producing content, or just engaging in conversations with people as much as possible has the potential to facilitate a whole new information sphere. The more we bring these topics up, the more they will be talked about and that’s really the ultimate point, to have conversations about real issues rather than simply ignoring them as if they do not exist.
3) Collective Movements
Finally, the next logical step is to take collective actions towards change. We don’t live on an isolated island; therefore, individual change can only do so much in a collective reality. There is a collective consciousness that currently exists, and without building numbers to confront it, change seems unlikely.
This means getting involved in your community, your state, your nation, or simply with any person or organisation that attempts to bring about change.
There are so many problems that need to be solved, which means there are a wide variety of groups, causes, and organisations to get involved with. The establishment takes collective actions; therefore, the people must take strides in unison to bring about big changes.
Obviously it’s important to be efficient as an activist, as root problems are more important to solve than smaller issues, but ultimately people must choose their own path and decide what’s most important to them. As a suggestion, I would advise the following issues as root causes that need to be solved through collective will: absolving the Federal Reserve/getting competing currencies into circulation, redefining the role and power of government, curtailing the military/wars of aggression around the world, cleaning up the environment/reconnecting society back to nature, educating the youth on how the world really works, reorganise the systems of law/protect civil liberties, and practicing civil disobedience/taking a stand against unjust laws. While individual actions and lifestyle changes are key, forming a united front is ultimately how the big fish will be roasted.
At their core, the 21st century activist represents both the personal journey of self-actualisation and the unbiased understanding of the fundamental laws that guide the universe. However, there is a third key that must be taken into account and understood if activism is to be effective in the 21st century; and that is mastering the use of technology.
Our world is reliant on technology, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The curse of developing such strong technology, is that in the wrong hands, it can be dangerous and abused. The established system is already employing all of its technology against us, so if we don’t begin to understand our enemy and use this technology against them, we will be easy prey and feasted upon. The 21st century is truly a battle for the collective consciousness of mankind that is heavily fought using technology to influence its state.
Above all, the Internet must be preserved at all costs, as the free flow of information across the globe into this collective reservoir is absolutely key to humanities’ understanding of the collective consciousness. In fact, it could be argued that this could be one of the greatest pieces of technology that we have ever seen with the power to unite the world. Regardless, the Internet has allowed us to communicate and spread information all over the world in a matter of seconds with just a click of the mouse. It’s incredible, and you better believe that those in power are coming after it with a full court press.
“The Internet is the world’s largest library. It’s just that all the books are on the floor.”
John Allen Paulos
The question now is whether you choose to participate or not. However, reality is a moving train, so in some way you are going to participate whether you are aware of it or not. The last logical question is; do you like the direction the train is moving? If not, there’s no better time to stand up and act now.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”