This project was challenging because I wanted to say too much. I considered focusing on Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto” (1984) and its themes of gender, identity, and technology. However, I have not actually read this postmodern feminist work directly, only via summaries and offshoots, so I thought that it would be slightly inauthentic to center around that.
Instead, I realized a fully authentic route where I could discuss a future vision I have actively participated in creating over the past 34 years and continue to in different ways than this.
I was lucky enough to be an early adopter of the internet in 1989 at the age of 17 and in 1990, I founded the first children’s rights groups on the internet. Called Y-RIGHTS, it connected youth and advocates globally to provide a space for discussing the rights of kids and teens at a time before there was even a world wide web; only mailing lists on green dumb terminals. I started it at 18, vowing to never forget the hardships of youth such as I knew myself and also of those I knew. Gay rights, anarchy, dealing with school troubles and trouble with authority, suicide prevention, building a better tomorrow were common topics. Offshoots, like libertarian parenting group TCS (Taking Children Seriously) TCS (Taking Children Seriously) and youth rights organization NYRA National Youth Rights Association – NYRA , emerged from my initial group. (In each case they seemed to have too specific of a focus and so I taught each of the clusters to start their own groups, which was much harder at that time but they did and they blossomed fabulously, still thriving to this day)
I envisioned the internet enabling people to try on identities, share true selves, to be creative and free to express themselves in myriad of ways that might be difficult or impossible in their home towns.
Over the decades, I’ve watched online subcultures bloom, woven out of the improbable meetings of like-minded yet diverse people who otherwise would never know each other’s existence in the offline world, Interest groups can be incredibly powerful social forces, conquering lonliness for many. Even with its negative sides, it’s even better than I’d imagined, although there’s a long way to go. At least two generations, Z and Alpha a majority online, connecting across continents whether in Roblox or sharing Tiktok dances, learning from each other and connecting.
I bring all of this detail to demonstrate that working to actualize the future you think should already exist is a worthy pursuit. I see so much of the future I wanted and worked for around me and I’m still working on it in new realms in new ways as there is a long long way to go – and you can as well in the areas important to you. You can’t start yesterday. Only now.
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tech note: Click on the Gear and increase the Quality to a higher number if it’s fuzzy
It’s actually very sharp but Youtube sometimes shows the fuzzy (480) version first.