Thursday, February 08, 2007

Survival Skillz

Edward Winkleman recent musings on knitting, yurts, survival skills, 9/11 and art got me thinking. The most important survival skill is teamwork. When I was in my early 20s, I took a wilderness survival course. I was feeling the familiar disenfranchisement and desire to drop out of society.

I went west to Boulder Outdoor Survival School in Utah. Now BOSS is starting to get famous because of Josh Bernstein and his tv show Digging for the Truth. At the time Tom Brown's school was more famous for survival skills training and I lived in Maryland so it seemed better to go to Utah than New Jersey.

I learned to make fire with a bow drill, catch rodents in traps, and fish with my bare hands. By the end of the class it was clear that although it was cool to have all those skills the most important survival skill is teamwork. Art is how we connect. Don't lament Edward. Artists are the glue of society transforming the ordinary and changing points of view. Art making is a survival instinct.

The instinct to be distinctive and create a tight group has an ugly side. When we create an us we create a them. How can we live with our nature without going to war?

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