blog (January, 2003)
Still don't know where I'm headed after camp is over, late August. After a year of shifting about, around Europe, etc, since uni-graduation, I'm ready to settle down a bit and become more seriously involved in a more permanent community and enterprise. I've been thinking SanFran and the west coast in general, or South America, (to continue with Spanish,) but so far I haven't got any leads on jobs or living situations -- mostly because I haven't yet pursued these issues much.
I was thinking Seattle for awhile, as I'd heard much about the city's vitality and the area's natural beauty, but a Seattlite here at camp and has spoken some to me about the city's current downturn. I want to go someplace that is on the rise actively and culturally, but don't have my finger on the pulse of these things.
I've commented often in the past year on noting that nearly all travelling Canadians display prominently their country's flag, generally sewn/ironed into backpack or jacket. My supposition followed that they are tired of being pegged American, and want to distinguish and separate themselves from the stereotypes and assumptions that this pegging brings. I still know so little about my northern neighbor, though -- the one some of us call "America Jr." Today I ran across a well-written essay, My Canada by Stephen Downes leading me to consider venturing further north of the border than simply the casino and bars in Niagara Falls.
What we are seeing today is the beginning of the fruits of our labour. We set out to build a nation based not on a particular language or culture or even a particular geography, but as a set of background assumptions and institutions. Our national character is defined not by some fundamental founding document and predefined identity but rather by the institutions and measures we take in order to ensure well-being and harmony among our people.
In the individual and communitarian sense, the empowerment of the individual means giving that individual the space (and the means - see the first principle) to find, and express, their own identity, to realize their own potential. What we have seen in this nation is that people find their identity in a myriad of ways, some, by preserving and promoting their culture, others, by the free expression of thought and empotion in literature, art or song, others, through an affinity with a higher power, with their ancestors, or with the natural world, and still others by souping up, jacking and racing a Camero.