Ask Urban Scout #5: Assume Nothing A-hole!
Dear Scout, I’ve kept track of you for quite a while now, following along until tonight when I read that article about you and thought I was going to be sick. I would have been furious if someone wrote that shit about me, but instead you seem to be enamored with the size of her readership. “If you all just donate one dollar, just think of how many Rewild Camps I could do!” Do you really want to convert everyone to your ideology? Do you really want to change people, to IMPROVE them into someone more like yourself?Have you truly become so enamored with your own self-image after a wee bit of publicity that you’ve lost all perspective? Where is the little boy you used to be? Where is Peter? Where is your humility, your privacy, your heart and your passion underneath this ridiculous persona that you’ve created?
Maybe we’re not as similar as I used to think. I don’t want to change people. Rewilding isn’t a fucking program and forcing it into one will fail. I don’t want to be anyone’s poster child — I’d rather be a real kid than a plastered public image. I don’t want to be Urban Scout, Guru or Urban Scout, Anarchist Pop Star. I don’t want to be Urban Scout. He’s not my hero anymore.
You know, as much as I hated compulsory schooling, I had this one really great science teacher in middle school named Ms. Tessier. She had us studying Bigfoot for christssake! Anyway, I’ll never forget the first day of school when I walked into her class on saw the first lesson; a giant poster with the words Assume Nothing. Throughout the year whenever I made an assumption, she would stop me and say, “Peter, when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.” Of course this always got a roar since no teachers ever swore in front of their students and she immediately became the coolest teacher, ever.
I can’t help but think of this from time to time when people like you make assumptions about me, that make you look like an ass to people who know better, and me look like an ass to people who don’t. For instance, though posed in the form of a question, by using the word “really” in your statement, “Do you really want to convert everyone to your ideology?” we see that you have made the assumption that I have the want to “convert everyone” to some ideology. For those friends, family and fans who regularly read my blog and hold conversations with me in person, on the phone, here at this site or at Rewild.info, they would most likely think you have acted like a complete ass for sending me such an unfounded, assumption riddled letter. For those who don’t know me, and have never heard what I truly believe, they most likely may hear your words and unknowingly believe that I behave like a deranged, high-on-over-night-celebrity-status, fundamentalist asshole, as your assumptions have painted me.
I will now comb your letter for assumptions and present the reality of what I do, how I feel, and attempt to make you look like the only a-hole in the room.
I would have been furious if someone wrote that shit about me, but instead you seem to be enamored with the size of her readership
…I don’t quite understand why you would assume that I too, would feel furious about this article. I loved her article, and so did everyone who knows me. We all thought she did an amazing job re-telling the whole story.
Do you really want to convert everyone to your ideology?
Since you did not present any evidence for this assumption, I read through the article and guessed that this assumption came from her statements:
Peter was convinced that as many people as possible needed to acquire the skills he was learning. After reading about the power of storytelling, “I decided I wanted to create a hero character. In mythology, heroes provide instruction about how people should live their lives.
“If we want to create a sustainable culture,” Peter says, “art can be the Trojan Horse.” If they can share their message and the public thinks “it’s just a story, just a comedy, just a movie, they won’t even notice they’re being changed. Or maybe they will, but they’ll like it.”
First of all, I do not have an ideology. I don’t even know how I would go about converting everyone to it. I believe that civilization will collapse in our lifetime. I would like to do whatever I can to soften that crash, for everyone from the salmon to the rocks to our people. I don’t go around knocking on doors and trying to convince people of what will happen in the coming years. I make art to present the information for those who do not have the awareness of our situation and I provide information for those already seeking it. I want people to change. We need people to change. The land needs people to change. But I don’t make people change or force this awareness on anyone. If anyone out there hears about what I do and learns about the problems we face and decides to do something about it… great! I simply promote ideas. I tell stories. I do things that I think will connect people out there who already feel the need for something new, for those who already have the desire to escape. I cannot repair what civilization has done alone, nor with 100 hundred people, nor with one million. I need a family, a tribe and so I put up flags for people to see, “Hey, see this over here! Look what I do! Look how I feel! Anyone else feel that way?!? Come over here and let’s figure shit out!” If making more friends looks like “converting everyone to my ideology” to you, well… you may need help.
Do you really want to change people, to IMPROVE them into someone more like yourself?
This echoes your assumptions from above, but also assumes that I somehow believe that I “improve” people with what I do. I do not believe that people need to “improve.” I believe we need a healthy land-base, and that the current land-base does need improvement; meaning no more destruction, but more healthy diverse ecosystems. I believe we need a way of life that improves the ecosystem, not damages it. Ask a zillion climate change experts. Ask the salmon. Ask the amazon. I think they will agree that we need to improve the ecosystems civilization has destroyed. If someone feels the way I do, or to use your than that means we can both work together to improve the systems.
Have you truly become so enamored with your own self-image after a wee bit of publicity that you’ve lost all perspective?
Actually, I have always felt enamored with my own self-image. I didn’t need the publicity to help me with that. Just ask my family!
Where is the little boy you used to be?
You’ve made an assumption that I believe that anyone can “be” anything. I don’t believe in the Aristotelian, static-based, linguistic paradigm of “being.” Therefore this question makes no sense what-so-ever in the real, ever-changing, static-free world.
Where is Peter?
Again with your verb, “to be.” I stood over by the window earlier this morning. I have sat down on Willem’s couch to type this. I move around a lot. My mood also changes a lot. My thoughts change. My personality changes. My name even changes sometimes. Please don’t trap me in your B-English box.
Where is your humility, your privacy, your heart and your passion underneath this ridiculous persona that you’ve created?
You assume that you can speak to me like a friend. I don’t know you. I have never met you face to face. We have enjoyed some dialogue back in the day at Ishcon.org, and I liked your blog when you started it. Though I did take you off my blogroll last week since you rarely post these days… could that have angered you enough to write this? Have you bottled up some assumptions about me and only now exploded after your removal? I honestly didn’t even think you would notice.
Maybe we’re not as similar as I used to think. I don’t want to change people.
I don’t think we have much in common either. Who said you had to change people?
Rewilding isn’t a fucking program and forcing it into one will fail.
I don’t believe that rewilding works as a program either. Programs help movements along. Rewild.info provides a space for rewilders to connect. The phenomenon of rewilding would exist without the site or a name even. The site simply speeds up the process by connecting already existing rewilders, as well as promoting the movement to others who have not heard of it. If you read anything here, or went to rewild.info you would understand this. You sound like the a-hole who assumed that I would franchise the Rewild Camps in any formal way. He didn’t understand Open Space Technology, and neither do you. No one makes money from any of this. I would like to. I currently have several plans on doing so, and so what? I provide a service; the flow of rewilding information in a (not always, but mostly) humorous way as well as promoting the movement of rewilding to those who didn’t know about it yet. If you don’t like the services I provide, no one has twisted your arm to use them.
I don’t want to be anyone’s poster child.
Good. I hate it when people try to steal my thunder (looks over shoulder), I mean you, Penny Scout! Just kidding. I love you. …I meant Penny. Not you A-hole.
I’d rather be a real kid than a plastered public image.
Just like Pinocchio! Only I bet your nose grows every time you make an assumption. Oooooh, snap!
I don’t want to be Urban Scout, Guru or Urban Scout, Anarchist Pop Star.
Than you’ll feel reeeeally upset when you see my latest plans: Urban Scout, Action Figureâ„¢! (not suitable for children under 5 years of age)
I don’t want to be Urban Scout.
Good. I can only fit one soul in my body, and can only have one body. If you had tried to steal my identity, my friends and family would undoubtedly notice.
He’s not my hero anymore.
Well fine! I didn’t want to live as your hero anyway! (Slams door, runs to bed crying, pulling hair out) I mean seriously A-hole, you need to grow the fuck up. And next time you think you have the relationship where this kind of e-mail would feel okay to you, maybe you should first talk to the person about your assumptions rather than barfing them up in an e-mail. It really makes my fucking day to open up a message from a-holes like you.
Remember, like my 7th grade science teacher taught me, when you assume you make an ass out of you, and me.
*I changed A-holes name to save him/her some dignity.
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