The future is in people. Not in systems, or processes, but people. Absolute unpredictability, dreaming of the world you want your children to grow up in, a random thought that sparks in your mind, that’s the future. The future will come from us tapping into our latent potential, and sharing that potential with everyone around us. The future lies in collective action and collective creation, in us being absolutely free in our bodies and minds.
But what does it mean to be free? We’ve been trying to answer that for thousands of years, and we can’t let those lessons disappear. We need to remember who we were and keep track of it for future generations. Not as a line in a textbook or a discrete piece of data, but as an experience. What does it mean to come of age? What does it mean to join a community? What does it mean to feel alive, to be human? The honest truth is I’ve always felt alone, out of place. Like there’s something missing in the way I’m living, as if there’s some hole inside of me. We’ve spent thousands of years trying to understand, to fill, that missing piece in our lives. I want to find that missing piece.
I feel lonely all the time. Some days I just feel heavy and can’t get out of bed in the morning because of it. Sometimes I go out to a bar with dozens of friends and feel like the whole world enters a mute state, like voices flow around me but never register. And once in a while, if I’m lucky, I know what it means to know another person, but it’s always fleeting and I don’t know what to do with it. I stop myself from going deeper because I am afraid. I want to remove that fear of knowing another person, and I want to know how to feel them in my heart, wherever I am, and to be in their heart. In the morning when I wake up and feel that heavy pain, I want to know how I can combat it at my fingertips.
I want to stop being lonely, stop feeling out of place, and stop feeling afraid of a system that tries to be bigger than my free will. The world is frightening right now because it’s a world that wants to define us, to take away our decisions, our culture, and put it all in a nice box that generates profit, clicks, advertising conversions, without ever upending the usual flow. Be disruptive, but only the way we want you to be disruptive. Worship a corporation, prioritize a shareholder. Our Gods used to be vengeful, merciful, powerful, cosmic entities. Now instead of an omnipotent creator, we live in fear of stock bubbles and crashes.
I want a world where I go out my door in the morning and feel alive from the first step. I want a world where I can look into a barista’s eyes in the morning and let her know when I feel elated, or terrible, or terrified, never “just fine.” I never want to be fine again, but I feel constantly conditioned to say so, as if it’s a crime to be unhappy with the world as it is (unless of course, if I might make someone some money). I shun human connections without even thinking about it, and I hate it. I use tech that I know makes me unhappy, avoid social situations because I don’t know what will happen, and worry constantly as if death is chasing me down every day. I’m not fine, a lot of people aren’t fine, but somehow we think we should be. Why?
I want to decondition myself, unlearn everything that makes me feel the need to be a part of modern society and its flow. We weren’t always like this, we weren’t always “fine,” and I want to know who we, the human race, were. What it meant, what it still means, to bathe in the Ganges River, to leap over an open fire, to feel completely enamored in a Sufi spinning dance. I want to know what it means to love the entire world at once as a friend or a lover, not as a photo or status or tweet. I want to know what it means to not know, I want to be shaken and ripped from one world into the next. I want to embrace the unpredictability and danger of the world, not fear it.
In Search of Alaya is a hunt for everything that breaks us down, the moments where we can’t just fall into our routine of being “fine,” where we have no choice but to be alive. Maybe somehow we can forget the rules that make us easy targets, a product for advertising, meaningless moving pieces of a larger machine. As our community finds the practices that changed who we are as people, the methods of self-development that made us strong and free, we can distill a method that stops us from being predictable, and instead allows us to be honest. From there, we can change the way we fit into society, we can stop ourselves from being predictable players of a larger game, and build the world we want for ourselves and our children. Not just one person’s children, but all children. One where we can be free as who we are, build the things we want to see in the world, and stop slipping into the chasm of automating and selling our dreams off in search of a safer world.
Is this selfish? Absolutely. I’m choosing the way we live and grow, and most of all freedom, over what the current world says it needs. I’m risking a vague idea of human potential, of a global community built on love and understanding, not fear and profit, against the current status quo. If that’s selfish, then it’s worth it. Because better people, freer people, make a better world. Not just more empathetic people, not just smarter people. And especially not “fine” people. Better people. So let’s stop being predictable, stop saying we’re “fine,” let’s admit we want something from life and hunt for it. Let’s search for Alaya.