Thursday, June 2, 2011

Philadelphia, PA

        I thought, "Golley gee...Memorial Day Weekend is coming up, and I don't have to work. Thank you, Civil War soldiers! So...where should I go?"
        I met John in New Hampshire at a Young Americans for Liberty campaigning event. He lives in Philadelphia and told me to visit anytime. It also turns out that Philly is only a $10, 2-hour bus ride from New York City. "Perfect," I thought.
        Once John found out I was coming, he called his liberty-minded and organizational activity planner friend to set up a little get together between me and all the other Philadelphia tread-free folk. Needless to say, I was excited to meet a bunch of new people.
       I got there just in time to grab a taxi and speed to the venue. I ended up in a creative space of Northern Liberties, mostly used for film screenings and as an acting/yoga studio. Murals decorated the walls, and old comfy couches filled the rooms.
        I mingled with various characters and then sat down to do a question and answer session for about an hour. I didn't have anything pre-planned because of such short notice and since I hate speaking from some sort of phony objective standpoint. However, I did read a quote from Frédéric Bastiat's What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen:
"I confess that I am one of those who think that the choice, the impulse, should come from below, not from above, from the citizens, not from the legislator; and the contrary doctrine seems to me to lead to the annihilation of liberty and of human dignity.
But, by an inference as false as it is unjust, do you know what the economists are now accused of? When we oppose subsidies, we are charged with opposing the very thing that it was proposed to subsidize and of being the enemies of all kinds of activity, because we want these activities to be voluntary and to seek their proper reward in themselves. Thus, if we ask that the state not intervene, by taxation, in religious matters, we are atheists. If we ask that the state not intervene, by taxation, in education, then we hate enlightenment. If we say that the state should not give, by taxation, an artificial value to land or to some branch of industry, then we are the enemies of property and of labor. If we think that the state should not subsidize artists, we are barbarians who judge the arts useless.
I protest with all my power against these inferences. Far from entertaining the absurd thought of abolishing religion, education, property, labor, and the arts when we ask the state to protect the free development of all these types of human activity without keeping them on the payroll at one another's expense, we believe, on the contrary, that all these vital forces of society should develop harmoniously under the influence of liberty and that none of them should become, as we see has happened today, a source of trouble, abuses, tyranny, and disorder.
Our adversaries believe that an activity that is neither subsidized nor regulated is abolished. We believe the contrary. Their faith is in the legislator, not in mankind. Ours is in mankind, not in the legislator."
        After the session, John, I, and two new friends, Stacy and Chad, went out for tea. Stacy had read my blog and noticed I've started working with essential oils, so she gifted me lavender and peppermint. (Later in the weekend the lavender fell out of my bag and broke on the ground, but I looked on the bright side by saying that the bus stop would now smell good for a few days.) I learned more about Stacy. She is a college student, concerned about all the debt that she has amassed and wondering what to do with her life after graduation. I feel bad for her, especially after watching the new documentary entitled College Conspiracy, now out on YouTube.
        We met up with a few others and went out for vegetarian Chinese food at New Harmony. We ordered plenty of food, all of which was heaven. Sure, the duck didn't taste like duck...but it was better! I was also surrounded by good conversation, entertaining ideas of how to act in a society that limits freedoms. I was introduced to a new form of currency called "bitcoin," which I'm currently still researching.
        The next day, Chad brought us out for some urban exploring. We hiked throughout the old Philadelphia Electric Company, which has been used as a movie studio multiple times since its abandonment. Although technically illegal, these are the kinds of things that make life lively.


 

        Here, I also met Vince, who, when I pondered climbing up a tower and asked if it was worth death, replied, "Of course it's worth death. I'd much rather die doing this than die sitting in an office, or die crossing the street." I was very glad that he reminded me of that and then went to enjoy the top of the tower.
        It disappoints me, though, that no photograph could ever capture the beauty that I saw. On the rooftop, I found what looked like rust on broken windows, but when I touched it, gold glitter covered my finger. Later in the adventure, in the control room where old scattered papers lie, I found one with marker on it reading "shadowsand rust." I think that's a good layman's term for whatever chemical compound I just got on my hand.
        We sat and looked across the river as a storm came in from Jersey. I guess it isn't always sunny in Philadelphia. But without the rain, there are no rainbows. So after it passed, we went out for ice cream, with a rainbow in the sky.
        Then, we headed to South Street for some drinks and organic burgers. I'm happy to see how prevalent the organic/vegan scene is in Philadelphia.
        On Sunday, John brought me to see the area where our founding father conspired. Ironically, Independence Hall is surrounded by big banks, the Federal Reserve, and the US Mint. Wait a minute...I don't think this is what Jefferson had in mind...Regardless, I enjoyed the sun and watching all the tourists  buy into the commercialization of history.
        Later, we visited Rittenhouse Square, one of the nicer parks in Philadelphia, where one can find people doing the lindy hop, singing songs, or playing with children. I sat down to discover Ron Paul's version of liberty.


        Arthur and Becky (who I met at the speaking gig) happened to be in the park as well, so we met up. Arthur, who does past life regression, gave me a preview as to how it works. I'm always looking for opportunities to have an OBE, but unfortunately, this just turned out to be an exercise in imagination. It then turned into a conversation about my lucid dreaming and the recent lucid dream about my grandfather. He is currently in a nursing home, dealing with cancer, so Arthur also introduced me to remote reiki. I was planning on seeing him today and see if he's had any dreams lately, but I stayed up too late to have the energy to make it out to Queens. How funny that it's only about ten miles away, but takes me three hours to get there.
        Arthur also showed me a website he created called the Electronic Fortune Cookie. Arthur has inputed 6,000 random words into a system, and when asked a question, it will spit back a few of those words which can be interpreted as an answer. For example, I accidentally didn't type in any question, but got back "GENTLE LETTING SUPPRESS." I think that actually describes part of personality quite well. Instead of fighting, I decide to accept circumstances and make the best of it. Then, I typed in "When will the dollar collapse?" and got back, "THE WAY OF EFFICIENT POINT NOSTALGIC." What could it mean? Well, anything really. I'm still trying to figure it out. John typed in "Am I free to dance?" after the arrest episode at Jefferson Memorial (see here) and got back "HOW TIMES OF RESTRICTION INSURE ALTOGETHER." I really liked that one. So, is technology capable of a supreme intelligence beyond human capability? If you think so, click here.
        Monday, I decided to explore bits of the city by myself. I was intrigued by all the murals Philadelphia has to offer, so I began a free walking tour of the Mural Mile, where I could use my cellphone to call the Mural Arts service with free automated information about each mural. It was a blazingly hot day, so I cooled off at Franklin Square, shaded by trees, and surrounded by laughing children. Later, I met up with Bernard (an actor who was in charge of the film screening on a different floor at the venue Friday night, but also wanted to meet me). We checked out Fairmount, the newly renovated area by the Art Museum and Schuykill River, went out for iced drinks and fresh food, then headed back to the studio at Northern Liberties to cool off and talk life.
        When I went to catch my bus back home, I was excited to get a famed roast pork sandwich at DiNic's that I had seen on Man vs Food only days earlier. Unfortunately, thanks to our Civil War soldiers, they were closed.

24 comments:

  1. You Urbex?? That's awesome - so do I! I've never explored locations outside of the NY area, although i'm headed to the catacombs in Paris this summer (!!). There's no feeling like exploring abandoned, forgotten pieces of the past.

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  2. I haven't visited Philly in way too long. I loved the historic district.

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  3. Erica,
    I have a question. I am a high school teacher and would love to get in touch with Donna Bryan, the 10th grade English teacher you mentioned in your Valedictorian address. I couldn't figure out how to send you a message (lame, I know) but if you'd be willing to connect with me at jgregorydavis@comcast.net or through my blog at http://leakingballoon.blogspot.com I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

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  4. Do you have a twitter or can I e-mail you? You are the coolest person ever.

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  5. Erica,

    #1 Colorado Fan writing here. Hey, while in Philly, or anywhere for that matter, check out a guy named Mark Passio. He also has a website called: whatonearthishappening.com. Mark is involved in a lot of exciting Tesla energy stuff, but more importantly, pulling the wool off of our collective eyes.

    Cheers,

    Aaron

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  6. you are a brilliant brilliant girl! libertarian AND realize that college is (often) a sham? almost too much goodness haha

    im making a feature documentary on how to live an exceptional life off the prescribed collegiate path and would love to interview you.

    please contact me!
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  7. Just saw your graduation speech, and I was blown away. Not only because it was inspiring on so many levels, but because you had the gall to say it in that venue. Considering your speech/sentiments, I had a feeling you may be interested in these authors/philosophers/intellectuals:

    Alan Watts (and most anything he's written or said):
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    Robert Anton Wilson (start with his book Prometheus Rising):
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    Terence McKenna:
    http://www.amazon.com/Food-Gods-Original-Knowledge-Evolution/dp/0553371304

    And this 1969 essay by Jerry Farber:
    http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030301studentasnigger.html

    I, of course, only discovered these fascinating individuals and their work long after high school - just wanted to fill you in on what you might be missing. Hope you find their insights as useful as I have!

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