A manifesto for social creatures

11 09 2012

Last week, I received an unusual homework assignment unlike any before – write a manifesto. It was assigned at the end of my first class of a course called “From Dada to Hell’s Kitchen” which explores performance art. I read bits and pieces of other manifestos to try to gain some inspiration – the Communist Manifesto, the Anarchist Manifesto, the Cannibal Manifesto, the Port Huron Statement, the Futurist Manifesto and even the Lululemon manifesto. This is is a work in progress, but it’s what I’ve come up with so far. Critical feedback welcome.

We are social creatures. And as such, our identity is a mosaic of the people we meet. The selection of each piece is influenced by our conversations. We chose to include what we like, and leave the rest. 

In accordance with our social nature, we must slow down and create time and space to have these conversations. Listen and observe, and be transformed.

Create meaningful friendships. 

Learn the names of the people you meet. Remember details about them and every once and awhile, ask them how their parents are doing. 

Build a diverse social network. Not a virtual one, but a real one. 

Make friends with people who you wouldn’t normally be friends with. You might learn something new. 

Rediscover the beauty of post and write a letter to an old friend. 

Call your grandmother and listen to her stories of days gone by. 

Never pass up the opportunity to host or attend a potluck. Eating alone doesn’t make much sense. 

Embrace group work. It’s a learning experience and it builds character. Sometimes it is fun.

Social capital is real capital. Appreciate its worth and invest in it extensively.  

Governments are elected and defeated. Corporations eventually require bailouts. Cars break down. But people are consistent. Yet consistently changing, which allows for new conversations. 

We don’t have to respond to every text message, notification or email the moment you receive it. They will be there later. Instead, prioritize the friends who are with you right now.

Yet make time to have conversations also with yourself. Relish these moments of solitude because they allow us time to contemplate and process our exchanges with others. 

Don’t wait. Add some pieces to your mosaic today. And continue everyday. It will never be finished. 

Similar to the Lululemon, I came across another company called Holstee that also has a good manifesto. I like it.

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