I believe the system that runs our society is built on binary classifications and thinking, there is good and bad, man and woman, right and wrong, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, us and them. Creating two points like this gives way to valuing the quantifiable, in turn placing a focus on the idea of a goal. A system of thought that has influenced how we progress, but to which I will argue is just a circular motion and if we wish to implement true change and development for humankind we must break out of our system and it is within our ability to do so. It is not a revolution we need but a shift of what we value, it is not a big secret, philosophers and thinkers have pointed it out for thousands of years and it is the core of this manifesto, value the struggle rather than the goal, and make the goal in to something you do for itself, such as exploration.
Wealth is power, but wealth is an illusion, if we stop believing in it we will dethrone those who exploit society, in its place I believe all will be free to explore.
When a suppressed section of society rises up, it includes only it’s members and often excludes the oppressor, creating a us vs them mentality. The first casualties are the weakest members of the oppressors, maybe they are not even members just unfortunate to look like the oppressor, and if they were given a chance maybe would have joined the cause. I would argue that the actual oppressors might be a tiny percentage, A large group of people then find themselves disenfranchised and vulnerable to radicalization who I believe become the force that stands against the up risers. For the actual oppressor the outcome I would imagine would then be irrelevant to their interests, as the binary structure remains the same. Their power is not to be in charge, instead, it lays in their ability to exploit whatever binary system that is in place since it values the quantifiable. What truly would threaten the status quo would be if we all united irrelevant of what makes us different, something that seemingly nearly happened with the hippy movement.
I see it like this, Alpha animal leads the pack, Beta animals might challenge the Alpha, but will most often fail until the Alfa becomes sick or old, Beta becomes Alpha. In narrative structures, the tyrant is challenged by the fool, if the fool succeeds they become the Hero, however, if the Hero does not die they will become the Tyrant until a new fool comes along. In effect, there is no change.
It is implied in the examples above that our system will not change until it is truly broken and or weak. But that does not mean that for those of us who wish to live in a better world should not imagine or try to do so.
In trying to make a difference I decided that for us to achieve equality and positive change, male identity needed to be explored as much as female and queer identity. If not, how could we all stand on an equal footing? To which some have replied, heterosexual men have benefited from a patriarchal society and we need to push our group forward. I would argue that is binary thinking and will only help perpetuate the problem. If we truly wish to implement change we must be inclusive to all, it is not the minority vs the majority it is all of us vs ourselves and only together can we grow.
I started the project MANN in 2005 and BEING in 2010 with the intention of exploring male identity and patriarchy. An important idea for me was that male boys had more to live up to and therefore a greater distance to fall when they failed. A big problem in a society that only has room for a handful of successes. In addition, men would find themselves under attack, in that there purpose and roll was being put into question. It is important to understand that with any attack it is always the weakest who get hit the most. However as I worked with MANN and later BEING I came to feel that I too was being reactionary, binary, circular and part of creating a seesaw effect. I decided that in addition to projects exploring male identity I needed to explore all our identities, of which the first project was The Licensed Fools Workshop, which I started in 2012, followed by Perform In Your Window, 2013 and 1on1, 2016. Being inclusive is hard and I have a long way to even being close, but I am determined.