Thursday, 30 September 2010

One Minute Manifesto

At Forest Fringe this summer the lovely and quite brilliant Lucy Ellinson did a project called "One Minute Manifestos." We had a minute to read out a manifesto before a buzzer went off. We had a minute to step forward and say what we believed.

On the second night, I was asked to do one, and I'll admit I had quite a hard time asserting what I believed. Maybe I was just feeling particularly cynical that day, but it seemed for that moment that I huddled over my laptop, which was perched on the side of a table I was sharing with loud, chatty punters, overtired from a 16 hour day that was only 3/4 of the way over, I didn't believe in much of anything. And when I did start believing in things, they all came out as being much less positive than my usually sunny disposition would suggest. And yet - the longer I wrote the better I felt. Until finally, the milk of human kindness became my main subject. Sadly, when I read it out, I think the minute was up in the middle of me complaining about the conspiracy of the media.

Well, you got to point out the problems before you can solve them, and sadly, there are too many problems to sum up in a minute. So where do we go from there?

For the curious ones out there... My one minute manifesto. Read out (or at least most of it read out) before Kieran Hurley's wonderful (and refreshingly optimistic) show Hitch on the 12th of August.

I believe that the world is fundamentally corrupt. And when I say the world I don’t mean our communities. When I say the world I mean institutions – any institution – because I believe that the moment that people and lives are made into something that can easily be filed away onto a piece of paper they are not people, they are pieces of paper, and pieces of paper are easy to dispose of, to disappoint, to misfile.

I believe that the only truly beautiful things I own are gifts. I do not believe in buying gifts for myself. But I do believe in ensuring my own survival.

I believe that advertising makes it virtually impossible to be a good person or to do the right thing – I believe we are being constantly exposed to easy options, that we are trapped in a system that does not serve human beings – not good human beings, not bad human beings, in truth it serves no one. And I believe that the people who argue that this is incorrect know that they are lying to themselves. And are not truly happy with what is easy.

I believe that anything worthwhile is as difficult as it is valuable. But that this rule should not apply to the default setting of a relationship.

I believe that we live in a society that is unsustainable, and that change is coming and it won’t be easy.

And I believe that in light of this, nothing is more important than kindness. You will only meet so many people in your life, even if you are aware of these very big, very confusing things. I believe in caring about each other.

I believe we are all at bottom compassionate people who want to build together, who want to work together, who want to care together.

There is a very annoying man next to me who is challenging this belief. But I’m doing my best. I believe in doing your best. He just apologized. I believe he meant it.

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