I spent three years living at an anarchist to find out if people could live without oppressive social structures. here are some things I learned
1) arable land is expensive, farming requires a lot of land, growing all your own food is basically impossible unless you want to spend literally all your time doing it.

we grew a lot of fresh veg but got our staples with food stamps or cash
2) hierarchies and in-group/outgroup dynamics are probably hardwired in humans. if you attempt to suppress them, they will become invisible, and then you can't even talk about them. This is well covered terrain, "tyranny of structurelessness material", but it hurts to see it irl
oops, first message should read "at an anarchist commune"* but too late now

anyway it was a semi-restored ghost town in the middle of the national forest, 13 miles of dirt and 60 miles of 1lane highway to a gas station

i've written about it before here
3) energy is expensive.

when i arrived there was just a DIY Pelton wheel, which is a micro-hydro generator built with a car alternator

me and friends installed some solar panels (we peer-pressured a visitor from NYC to buy them for us)

and then there's wood
we're in the forest, so there's tons of wood available. the main stove was a huge wood burner and the hot water for the main house was heated by running it through pipes in the main stove.

small stoves in every cabin. we burned wood all year, whether it was 8°F or 108°
but to get all that wood required a bunch of hippies to get in the pickup, drive up the mountain, fell trees with chainsaw, buck and throw the wood and come back and chop it all to size. so you need a bunch of gasoline and food to get wood. "hippie power" is food-based energy
and to get all that food, without much arable land, requires you to go to town. and it takes gasoline to go to town, and to get back. so you're always going to town.

we would regularly spend 6+ hours in the car and 8+ hours doing errands in a town 100 miles away. sustainable?
some people would argue that this was all immoral and that we should eat only what we grew on the land and cut all the wood with a crosscut saw (the old-timey one that has a person on either end), aka the "misery whip"

but then, where do you get the food to give you energy?
you can't, of course. anyone can do the math on this, but most people won't. especially the primitivists. they prefer their narrative over reality. they eat the food that other people get from town. i don't know how they get over this cognitive dissonance, but they're good at it
(how do primitivists change a lightbulb? they don't. they just light the room with their laptop screens)
it takes roughly 10 acres of farmland to support a single person for a year, including grains and animals and everything. maybe you can get that down a little with permaculture technique and wildcrafting.

we had one and a half acres of meadow
if you're using a lot of wood, say if it's a really snowy year or if you have a lot of people wanting to use the one shower (it's in front of the kitchen window, and there's no curtain, but you can handle that right, you're cool right?)...

maybe double the number of calories
so energy is expensive, it's hard to get it reliably, you have to get it from town, and it takes energy to get to town.

hmm.... unwise
4) a network of permanent autonomous zones is a hard thing to protect

the temporary autonomous zone -- like Rainbow Gathering, or Burning Man, or OWS -- appears and disappears, shifts and transforms in location and composition over time.

a permanent zone is a sitting duck
a real "permanent autonomous zone" is like the Zapatista municipalities in Chiapas, or the Kurds in Rojava. you want autonomy? simple. defend yourself against every sovereign power that claims power over you.

how you gonna do that at the peacenik commune? u have like one gun
now you're going to have a network of them? you're going to travel through the entire American West to go to the peanut butter commune to trade for goat milk?

or are you going to build relations in nearby cities? what do you have that they would want

5) utopias are good actually
there are so many ghost towns in America. there will be so many more, soon. it is good for small groups of people to come together and try different things.

and i think i learned more in my 20s than people who went to college 🤔
groups of young people should take over old infrastructure and make it their own. people should fall in love, and feud, and have epic stories. there is meaning in it.

we just have to not fall for our own narratives

6) autonomy is an illusion

i think Americans especially have this DIY ethos that is admirable and stupid at the same time. everybody is told that inventors and revolutionaries are the heroes of history. so they keep re-inventing the wheel

the heinlein quote is wrong
human beings are totally insects. we make hives, paths, territory. we have war and social stratification and complex communication patterns.

you may have heard of this documetary, Antz,,

once you accept that you are part of a giant time-binding hyperorganism called "society" or whatever, you can align yourself with the processes around you.

instead of living dependent on yet hostile to the hive, convincing yourself that it's Chaotic Good because Society is Evil

i didn't want to go into Tech in the late oughts because i liked eating mushrooms too much. and i thought Silicon Valley would be all squares, and that all corporations would drug test you like Burger King does

but time has proven that narrative wrong
this is a good question

we didn't have enough water power for this. it took over a mile of pipe run downhill to get enough pressure for the Pelton wheel and we still couldn't run power tools

oh, and the water started to dry up in 2013 😅😬😅😬😅😬😅
some guys did get an Alaskan mill and start making boards. (that's basically a frame that you put on the log to make your chainsaw go in right angles).

two or three of them would run it all day and make like... ten boards? fifteen?

idk cuz they were my enemies and i didn't help
work is HARD WORK. doing things yourself, the long way, is a pain in the ass.

i think it is GOOD to do it, and i would like it if there were a program you could go instead of college where you just go do hard work and live a low-energy life so you appreciate the GOD DAMN CITY
i live in the city now because it's like a ten minute walk to the food store where somebody has already made food supplies that i can literally buy with money i worked for at something i'm good at and enjoy.

people do cities for a reason. LARPers know this but don't admit

7) modern agriculture is pretty fucked up, as are cities. we should make them all ecological. and we should rewild the suburbs

because nothing hurts like the suburbs, once you've been in the wilderness a while
laptop battery critically low
correcting this, I was misremembering "5 to 10 acres per family". which is maybe four people? I don't know. I made all these calculations in like 2015, based on pessimistic view where I was trying to find reasons to leave. That's my bias

the bot has a good point. nuclear generators would make an excellent solution for small self-sustaining communes.

This might work on Mars, or if you have institutional backing. but the sovereign powers are notoriously stingy about who gets to nukes

People who try to live by their principles: wow life is quite hard, we should try to improve it somewhat

People who live in a messianic fantasy narrative:
why do you not simply [wait/evangelize/unclear] the inevitable [narrative event] to occur?! idiot

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with invisible college dropout

invisible college dropout Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @deepfates

11 Jun
please, no more thirst traps. stop sending them it's to much
sundresses and 5" shorts. You're all so horny. Don't send more pictures in my replies right now
okay I get it, I left a loophole. You can all stop sending them to my DMs too
Read 5 tweets
11 Jun
lmao @BecomingCritter asking @eggprophet the questions he prepared for a hot girl guest who bailed

omg these are for a*lla 💀💀💀
spoilers sorry
Read 4 tweets
11 Jun
postmortem: I decided early on that I didn't want to have to personally analyze the vibe of various good users, so I would use some empirical measurement that I could simply place on a grid. and everybody has a pair of coordinates on their profile:

Followeing Followers
I thought this was just going to be a funny joke but everyone was so fiending for more personal identification after the last mystery political compass. by the time I did grocery shopping And got off work there were too many to place individually.
So, instead of going to bed with my hot gf, I stayed up late using twint to scrape all the repliers to that tweet, get their follower and following numbers, and plot that on a graph. I already had a function for plotting images, from circles project

Read 5 tweets
10 Jun
mystery political compass. two axes. reply to be placed. I will reveal the axes in 100 hours divided by the number of people placed
okay, first one:


i will reveal the axes in 100/1 hours minus 16 minutes
You're all going to be very surprised when I get off work and follow through on this
Read 14 tweets
25 May
A lot of my former bandmates and traveling friends are still trying to live like they're in their 20s. Don't sign a lease, don't get a job, just couch surf and play music and do under the table jobs to get by.

I wonder when they're going to find out that we're old
That's not going to stop them, the most obvious thing you can say about them is that they clearly don't care about ROI

why would you text me for the first time in like 5 years just to say you're going to be in my town soon? I don't care about that? we don't have anything in common? You haven't thought about me and how long? Are you seriously just looking to sleep on my floor?

bitch I'm old now
Read 4 tweets
25 May
I think the reason I'm obsessed with CLIP is because it's hard evidence for unified meme theory
unified meme theory states that the "meme", defined as the transmissible unit of human thought, and defined has a picture with some words on it that gets copied on the internet, are not different.

a meme is picture+words because it represents a gradient in semantic space
Read 24 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!