Recently, I found and read The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, written by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti at the turn on the 20th century. With Marinetti’s spirit in mind, here is a manifesto of the mountains, much needed at the dawn of the 21st century.
My friends and I had stayed up all night, dancing in time with the frenetic movement of the Aurora Borealis, dodging the moonlit shadows of the mountains. We listened to the murmurings of the frozen river and the crackling of the fire. Ours was a night of laughter and merriment in the frigid darkness.
Through our revelry, we could hear the silence from the grimy horizon of the city. It was the silence of tomb-like rooms, abandoned tables, and discarded wrappers.
“Quick! Up!” we cried as the silence mingled with the smoke.
“Now is the time for action! Our brothers and sisters exist in that silence, slaves to their blue screens, their loneliness, the worthless obligations demanded by an impotent society! For too long they’ve listened to their corporate mothers and fathers. They’ve traded the real world for a billion, glittering unrealities. They worship their god ‘The Future’ and his archangel ‘Technology,’ as the altars of the past crumble and humanity lies abandoned underneath the wires and wheels and radio waves.”
My friends and I stood up straight, tilting our heads at the dark and unfathomable sky. We thought of our brothers and sisters, their backs arched in reverence to their tiny electric gods. We mourned their limp satisfaction with their artificial lives. We clenched our teeth on their unwavering faith in the empty promises of the future.
We stoked the fire higher. All through the night the mountains echoed our laughter and stories and the muffled sound of our axes. Higher and higher the flames lept into a dancing sky. The fire became our beacon, our tiny insubstantial flame against the indifferent technological darkness.
Somewhere from the deepest part of our aching guts came this chant — this manifesto:
- We reject the empty promises of the “future” sold to us by society. We look to the past for answers, drawing on the tapestry of authentic human experience to guide our path. The future has always offered empty promises.
- We’ve sacrificed too much personal agency, creativity, and original thought at the altar of technology. We abhor any technology that destroys community, that separates us from nature, or that traffics in unrealities and vanity.
- We demand the real. We will no longer be satisfied with the virtual, the hyper-real, the artificial. We demand dirty hands, strong backs, and stout hearts. We are children of the mountains.
- We reject our culture’s narrative of happiness and success. We will no longer measure our lives by the standards of a sick society. We will measure our lives by our own standards: by the ideas we create, by the gardens we plant, by the mountains we climb, by the feasts we share. We do not seek happiness. We seek authenticity.
- We welcome the hard road — the way of struggle, of hard work found in workshops and soil and lofty mountain peaks. Hardship is the crucible of truth; our skin tells stories in scars.
- We reject the trappings of vanity — the likes and shares and tweets and snaps that birth hideous discontent. We do not traffic in unrealities. We live our lives, not record them.
We repeated this chant louder and louder. Our forested echoes reached the silent city and was heard in the veins and the stagnant blood of a million sleepless bodies.
We ran through the city streets, our raucous shouts interrupting the nauseating industrial symphony of clicks and buzzes and dings.
“Wake! Wake!” we cried, “There is another way! It is the way of the children of the mountains!” In our rough and calloused hands we carried axes, torches, seeds, and poetry as we called to a hundred million souls lost in the fog of technology and comfort.
“Our axes are here to crush your Instagram realities! Our torches are here to burn down the pillars and temples of vanity! Our seeds will be spread in the concrete cracks of your illusions of control! Our poetry is crafted from words you have forgotten how to speak!”
Bleary, sullen eyes peeped with fear and distrust from behind curtained windows and above intimate screens. Their soft and fleshy faces began to appear in doorways as they stared at ours — hard and rough and etched with scars and lines of laughter. Gloriously flawed.
As our footsteps faded past their windows and doorways and bedrooms, they felt their blood warm with forgotten memory, with latent untranslatable desire. From our clothes, they caught the scent of wood and sweat and soil.
We returned to our mountains — to our gardens and feasts and midnight winter revelries. Here we craft our lives of meaning. Here we launch our raucous love songs to the barren sky.