Good Reads, Gunpowder Treason Edition

You are not your EnemyOne year ago, The Friendly Anarchist went live with a short post remembering the gunpowder plot of 1605 and a speech from V, main character of the Hollywood movie V for Vendetta, based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the same name.

It was a bit of a coincidence, but then, why not start a friendly anarchistic blog quoting an ambigious character – “a mixture of an actual advocate of anarchism and the traditional stereotype of the anarchist as a terrorist.” (Wikipedia)

Alan Moore comments on V: “The central question is, is this guy right? Or is he mad? What do you, the reader, think about this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist solution. I didn’t want to tell people what to think, I just wanted to tell people to think and consider some of these admittedly extreme little elements, which nevertheless do recur fairly regularly throughout human history.”

In the same spirit, I also don’t want to tell anybody what to think, I just want you to think. So far, my endeavors have led me to publish around 60 posts on this site, and there are more to come. You can check out the timeless content of the first year of friendly anarchism in the archives. I implemented this page and some other shiny details here on the site thanks to the help of Joel Runyon. Joel is not only internet-savvy, he’s also an awesome person, so be sure to check out his blog if you are interested in doing impossible things!


These days, I am taking some time off the internet, preparing new content for the second year. All I can tell you now is that we will accelerate a little, getting back to a “two posts per week” schedule. I will also move soon from Cartagena to stir things up a little, although I haven’t yet decided on a destination.

If you want to get a little bit of an inside view on how are things going and what’s coming up next, feel free to sign up for my friendly anarchistic newsletter. (It’s free, no spam, maximum 1-2 mails per month. I didn’t launch this officially yet, but you are invited to come early and get the best seats!)

Year Two will be exciting – the idea is to grow consciously in the spirit of better work, more idleness, higher creativity, and a balance between business and anti-consumerism. Thank you so much for your interest, your help, your comments and your messages. I am honored to have you as a reader.


“Most writers are conservative. By that I mean they lock their best ideas in a vault and take pleasure in the richness of their stores, like misers with their money. Maybe you have moleskins full of hastily scribbled notes. Or a corkboard next to your desk messy with images, structural blueprints, articles ripped from magazines. Or at the very least a folder on your computer labeled Stuff.” (Short and sweet. Benjamin Percy on Writing as a gambler’s trade.)


“The problem is, that paid employment rarely delivers the benefits that its promoters, who must be either naive or disingenuous, claim for it. Overwork destroys lives and wrecks families. Work kills: the TUC estimates that 20,000 people in the UK die each year as a direct result of their job. A quarter of a million are injured by their jobs, the TUC claims, and a further half million are made ill by them. The UN says that 2.2 million people worldwide are killed by work. That’s three times more than war. Yet we see no war on work being declared by governments.” (Tom Hodgkinson on delcaring the war on work.)


“No one can know with certainty what the market will embrace, so truly no one person can purport to be in possession of that knowledge. It’s completely backward, but we very often don’t know that we want something until we’ve experienced it. What if Albert Einstein, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Pablo Neruda, Salman Rushdie, The Ramones, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, shoot, even J.K. Rowling or Lady Gaga, had refused to do their work because they didn’t think the ‘market’ wanted it?” (Jamie Berry on setting yourself on fire. I had one of the most enjoyable Twitter conversations ever with him. You should definitely follow him if you’re interested in art.)


“Museums are a great thing. Most have free or pay-what-you-want nights. But sometimes you just want to look at art in the late morning without a crowd standing around you. And maybe 24 hours later you need to look at that painting again. And 24 hours later you need to look again. And maybe you don’t really have a job and you don’t really make any money and you can’t really afford to wander around in museums everyday, though you have the time to do it.” (David Horvitz on going to museums for free.)


“The Misconception: You procrastinate because you are lazy and can’t manage your time well.
The Truth: Procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking.”
(You always get me with research on procrastination.)


“You are not your enemy.” (Zen at Play. Great message. So true. Worth following on Twitter, too.)


“As long as the toilets are comfortable, people are happy — even in nomadic conditions.  I first saw the Washlet (Japanese shower toilet) in the 1980s, and I immediately bought one for every restroom at the ryokan. I knew that as long as people had decent, clean toilets, they’d be happy staying in 100-year-old rooms.”


“A country needs all kinds of people with all kinds of jobs. Japan is full of jobs that nobody wants. There’s work available along rivers, such as cleaning and fishing, and at ryokan, but it seems that everyone wants to live in Tokyo and sit at a desk.”

(The best newspaper article I read this week. It was send to me by my reader Greg, and it’s the account of Tsurunoyu Onsen Kazushi Sato, the owner of a hot-spring ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). This man knows what he’s doing, and his place is definitely on my travel list!)

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