Reading The Pirate’s Dilemma thanks to a chance encounter with the most excellent pirate Matt Mason himself got me thinking. What jumped out was a rawness – not in an aggressive way – but in natural, passionate sense. It’s the very rawness that we try and institutionalize out of our society. The very rawness that actually creates the conditions for our greatest leaps… leapfrogging incrementalism… right into a different future.
What seems common among the pirate stories is the inclination to reject convention, hack their way forward, and an irresistible compulsion to do so.
Matt paints that picture beautifully in advertising (graffiti), music (DJ’s and P2P), and software (open source). When I look at microfinance, citizen journalism, crisis mapping, renewable energy, activism, I see the same roots.
I also wonder what happens if we turn those same conventions inward. What is it to pirate oneself? Enlightenment? Were the Bhudda, Jesus or whatever enlightened being of your choice pirates too? I don’t know.