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Hippies and the impossibility of inaction.

When I was young I couldn't stand my uncle's hippie friends. They'd sit on the afternoon, drink a beer and spout a continuous stream of complains. The government this, society that, and on and on it went. I just looked at them, adults with the power to drive, with money and time enough to drink lazily one afternoon away and I'd ask them "Why don't you do something about it?" Organize a group, write an article, campaign, run for office something. I'd always get the same response. "There is nothing I can do." I didn't get it. I was young, penniless and locked in a high-school most of the time. They were none of that: adults, had money and had transpiration and power. I didn't get it. Till it happened to me and I became one of them.

I remember the vile frustration that was my first year out of college. It seemed that no matter what I tried to do nothing bore fruit. Temp jobs that never materialized, interviews that brought about nothing, it felt not only that all that work to get a degree meant absolutely nothing but that I was rejected by my own family for my opinions and thoughts. That who I was as an adult was worthless, ineffective and powerless to change anything let alone society. That was then. It was terrible.

But now it may just be the illusion of the past. But it feels so real that even the thought of trying to organize, or write something, or do anything meets with glacial internal opposition. "What's the use?" "It's not worth it." And when I do get enough mad courage to do the unthinkable and dare, my family jumps to the opportunity to put me down. Not consciously of course, but like me they've internalized the reality and frustration and in their worry to save me that feeling they maim the hope of action.

Does this happen to a whole society as a whole too? You bet.

From the minute I returned to Puerto Rico from Princeton I noticed the utter lack of entrepreneurial mindset. I kept riffing about it, and I got nothing but opposition or dismissal about it. For a while I thought it was denial, but now I think it's lack of awareness that there is a problem, that it is a problem and that there is even an alternative.

An entrepreneurial mindset is not confined to business, it can flourish in non-profits or even governments, when it dares to tackle big issues, and attempts big solutions. It dares to think that the solution is possible. That the enterprise can work and change society be it in it's choice of a product or service, or their consumption of water or even their thinking.

The problem is that once you catch the deflating infection of despair and see no fruit in your action, it's a bit like alcoholism, you drink a little and suddenly you're drowning in it. And boy have I caught it. So it's almost a daily battle. It's easier to have no skin in the game. It's easier not to play for keeps. Because that way if things go to shit you don't have any blame. But that's the thing that as a kid bothered me about the hippies, in action is blameworthy, blame-full.

So the dawn rises and I see the world and it's heading and I feel powerless about it, but is it an illusion of years past? Have I made the shadow of a fruitless past cover the Sun of today? The voices of the past that shut me down then, now shout from inside my own mind.

"Pero David quien tu te crees?"
"Ay yo no se David..."
"El problema lo tendras tu!"
"Que no se te suba lo de Princeton a la cabeza."
"Don't criticize others when your life is such a mess!"
"Y porque tu tuviste on problema con eso, no puedes..."

All these lead to a resigned internal dialog. "What's the use?" And illusion or not I can't tell the difference.

Time to touch beyond the shadows and see if it's all just smoke in there.


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