Every culture, subculture or movement that exists today has been built from a small point of focus - a single thought or belief. Amazing something so immaterial could give rise to something so materially real. This initiating thought or belief may be as simple as the love of Maple or as complex as the belief in a god. Whatever the case may be, the clearer our thoughts or beliefs are stated and defined, the better they will be understood and accepted, developed and spread and maintained throughout time by other like-minded people.
Thoughts and beliefs are like bacterial organisms which fight in a Darwinian battle just as mammals, plants, and other living things do to outlive and outlast. As such they live in our mind waiting to be fed, hungry for our psychic energy and attention which allows them to breathe, breed and grow. Once an idea grows in one person’s mind the chances for others to be infected increase. So on and so forth. The larger the group of people carrying a certain thought or belief is, the greater its ability to exist and flourish.
From history, we see that the greatest cultures and movements that have ever existed on our planet are those which held the attention and intrigue of the most amount of people for the longest amount of time; those which continue to exist are a product of our continuous focus and energy. For whatever the reason(s) may be for why one ideology outlives another it is true that the better materials we have on the physical realm to support our thoughts and beliefs, the greater it’s success.
Religion has its churches, it’s candles and goblets, it’s cloaks and daggers, it’s gospels and it ceremonies. These are the tools of the trade, and those objects and sensory mechanisms that reinforce a single belief in an invisible deity. Let us take another example: tailgating for the Cleveland Browns. A sub-culture birthed from a simple point of thought: the love of football and rooting for one’s home team. From here, a small point of energy flickers inside our minds, glowing like an ember waiting to become a fire. Soon its fed by one man. Then another. Then a group. And then a community. Soon this ember has grown up and has been given a name, a time and place, an image, a purpose. What was once an immaterial concept, is now a palpable experience: people meeting in a parking lot hours before game-time, eating and drinking, singing and chanting, wearing the same colors, using the same symbols, having the same conversations. This is our modern-day ritual. And to think, it all began with something invisible, something ethereal: a thought and a belief.
The tailgating sub-culture community is real; it can be touched, seen, smelt, heard, and tasted. And yet, at the end of the day it’s only an idea, a bundle of psychic energy, waiting to be charged and sent out into the matrix. Its structure is fragile, unlike the seemingly strong, physical elements shown to us for a few hours every other Sunday in the Muni Lot Cleveland. This idea is supported only by our collective effort to maintain its vision in our hearts and minds. These temporary autonomous zones are the types of worlds created from our dreams, the type of realities we wish to live in together if only for a brief time. Tail-gaiting, like every other kind of culture is but a vision held in the minds of men and can disappear forever when it is no longer being sustained by our interest and concentration.
Culture, though it contains many physical signatures within it is not a physical object to be purchased or consumed, is an electro-magnetically charged expression of interests into the ether of time and space; a pattern of choices we have chosen to continue thinking about and believing in selected from a pool of infinite (other) possible choices and configurations. Some cultures and movements form by intention, others by accident, though in either case, new ideas can and will be injected into our mainstream, consensus reality. Let us reflect on our own culture and how we play an active role in it.
It is not admirable to accept the ways of your culture based on your descendant’s decisions, nor is it respectable to remain comfortable in the blanket of tradition. Your culture and reality are a part of many other peoples’ definitions and expressions but what aspects you choose to perceive and create on your own is solely up to you. So, make the world you wish to live in. Find others who share your vision of a new culture or movement. Band together. Close your eyes. Believe. Nourish the ember. Then find those physical tools necessary for developing your ideas -the colors, the sounds, the symbols, the words and MANIFEST!