Tim

DSC_0370I go alone to Nature’s Valley to wipe off all the dust from Cape Town and clean my chakras for good. I want to get lost in nature, to pitch my tent and not talk to anyone for a few days. I imagine it will be a bit like Into the Wild, without the embarrassing death at the end.

Considering these aspirations, going to the backpackers Wild Spirit is quite a bad choice. For some reason, this place has become the meeting point for many interesting characters from around the world. And it’s hard not to be willing to talk to them.

DSC_0475.JPG

this guy in particular grabs my attention :

dsc_0366 hey Tim!

DSC_0367

(What is he doing in this treehouse ? )

Short, bald, and with incredibly bright eyes, it looks like he is a kind of fairy of the forest. We chat a little, and for some reason, I feel I should follow him for a day.

Apart from this treehouse passion, I don’t know anything about him, but somehow, I know it’s going to be interesting. At that stage, I am still a naive little person. I am not yet aware I am about to meet a futuristic political figure of the III millennium.

999475_10151487856782181_728465023_n.jpg

I learn more on politics with Tim during that day than during my 5 years of political sciences studies where we were basically taught to reproduce the schema that had brought us to this endless political crisis, observed on a global scale.

You see, I am always torn between “good” and “evil”. Between blind pessimism : (“apocalypse has come ! all the species are about to die strangled by the snake of human’s greed!“) and blind optimism (“waaaa life is so beautiful, i am so grateful, namasté pussycat !”).
Even when I try my best, it’s very hard for me to find a way out of this dichotomy of thought. I don’t talk enough about politics. It feels like politics are something exterior, something we have renounced to. In the end, this pretentious term of “democracy” has hypocritically separated us from a real power to the people by giving us the illusion of it. All around the world, the Republic (Res-publica = “public thing” in ancient greek) is left to politicians who are disconnected from reality and controlled by  private sectors.

What can the people do ?

Is there only one drastic solution : protest and use violence to be heard ?

The modern militarization of police in all countries frightens me a lot. We don’t face people destined to protect us anymore. We are facing people that are equipped like soldiers in wartime and who have one priority : preserve the establishment, at any cost (human lives can obviously be considered a cost). And I sometimes think I will soon have to go to the frontline too, because as we say in french “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs”.

16-03-09-GRAFFITI-PArisXI-bdVoltaire4-PhotoYP-archyves1.jpg

(“you can’t make an omelet without breaking banks”: graffiti from the protest in April-May 2016 in France against El-Khomri “Work Law”)

DSC_0364

Tim had simple answers to what had always appeared to me both highly complicated and emotional questions.

DSC_0375

First time Tim came to Wild Spirit, he intended to stay three days but ended up staying eleven. Between all the places Tim has traveled in his life wandering, Wild Spirit is the spot where he meets the most inspiring people, he says. He returned the following year and offered to the owners to finish constructing the treehouse that was at that point only a wooden platform. Coming back every season for five years, he improved it until it looks as it does today: a little nest, with one bedroom and a beautiful terrace with a panoramic view on the forest. This year’s innovation is the little dry toilet, which is very very cute (for a toilet).DSC_0403.JPGDSC_0388.JPG

DSC_0373DSC_0372Tim volunteers four months a year at Wild Spirit, improving the treehouse, feeding the horses and spreading the light of his futurism.

DSC_0308

(on this picture you can see the light of his futurism)

 

To make a living, Tim is working part-time in a psychiatric emergency unit in Stockholm. Like we will soon all do if the world takes a positive turn, the rest of the time Tim dedicates to his passions. One of them is the improvement of the Swedish democratic system.

He explains this to me: there is a gigantic gap between the century old model of democracy we are using, and the IT revolution that has been radically changing our social behaviors and given us wider perspectives in the past twenty years.

The Greeks, who invented democracy, were gathering on a hill in Athens to discuss the local problems. To vote, they would simply raise their hands. Later, we adopted a representative system to deal with the impossibility of direct vote with large territories and populations.

Nevertheless in the majority of the countries in the world, we observe state corruption on a massive scale. It seems politics is ruled by big capital. There are very few countries in the world that can actually call themselves democracies, where the power (kratos) is indeed in the hands of the people (demos). (maybe Iceland?)
But the technologic tools we now have do not just need to be used for profile pictures and social lives, but also our political lives.

Maybe technology can save us ?

Tim is part of the Direct Democrats party which was born in 2002. It is the newest political party in Sweden and is based on a concept called “fluid democracy”. The Direct Democrats’ aim is to create a party that doesn’t have an ideology. It is simply a party that offers to people the possibility to adjust their vote exactly like they wish to – a kind of democracy “à la carte”.

In his plans, institutions and NGOS that are not “party political” like Greenpeace or Amnesty would have the possibility to represent peoples’ voices too. For example: I can give my vote to a classical party like the democrats on social matters but prefer to give my vote to Greenpeace for environmental issues. Whenever democrats and Greenpeace have a disagreement on environment issues, Greenpeace wins the vote. At anytime in the process, I can also choose to vote directly.
Rather than fighting the power by destroying everything completely, we could simply reinvent it by combining the benefits of representative democracy and of direct democracy to embrace a system that would do much better in addressing our modern challenges. [1]

Many organizations have strong positions on policy, but don’t have the power to influence them, even with petitions and demonstrations. We all know that politics are now ruled by corporations because they have money and money equals influence. Politics is far more about power than about the common good.

Tim’s main focus is on Basic Income (not to be confused with minimum wage), which is a sum of money given to every citizen unconditionally. It is considered as a human right, just like freedom of speech. It is not a favour from the state in exchange of anything, and is given to everyone, billionaires and poor people alike.

This would give concrete meaning to the 25th article of the Universal Human Rights Declaration that stipulates:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

In the few experiments that have existed it has been proven that the cost to society with basic income is actually lower than a society with no Basic Income. People tend to have healthier lifestyle, so they are costing less in social security. They are less exposed to misery, drug problems, crime etc. The are also more willing to take risks and start new businesses, because they have a security that allows them to be more active for society.

As Tim says, there are very few people that will actually just sit on a sofa playing video games without taking part in society. We all want to be active in our own ways. I think one of the reasons some people are actually spending their life on the sofa playing video games is to escape the pressure that our societies impose so violently. [2]

But we can’t hope to make these steps without changing the system from the inside:

“We must implement a new system software that makes the ancient one obsolete.”

It’s a simple as that. If we are not only more determined, but smarter than the system, if we use what the system has produced in the past years for the benefit of a change, then maybe we can escape civil wars ?

“We have to grow up”, he says.

Tim is one of these very special people that make you feel a change is happening at the moment, on a global scale. Yet he is realistic about the numerous disasters that are going to happen in the following years because of this collapse.

“The system will try to break everything before it breaks itself… “

DSC_0114

 

In the end, when I ask if he is optimistic, he answers with a witty smile : “Of course I am, it’s more fun to be optimistic, and you gonna die anyway, so rather die happy.”

Well, there’s not much to add to that, I think, while climbing down the ladder of the treehouse.
An afternoon can sometimes be so full of inspirations and new perspectives that I feel both wiser and more peaceful. My perception of the world has changed slightly : For once, I am not idealistic nor cynical.

I am just feeling ready and completely re-energised to get involved in this global change that is happening locally everywhere, starting with a little lost treehouse, somewhere in Nature’s Valley, in the southern part of Africa.

 

[1] Better than any words, this short explanation will tell you the principles of fluid democracy : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0_Vhldz-8

 

[2] In Canada, an experiment of Basic Income in the 1970’s has shown that only old people and young boys are actually working less when they get basic income. Old people to rest more, and young people, to pursue their studies. This amazing Ted Talk will tell you everything you should know on basic income, and all the arguments for and against : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2aBKnr3Ep4

 

Oh ! Tim is also a musician !

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s