These words were written at two in the morning, on a winter Saturday in Barcelona, leaning on a wooden table in the middle of the dining room, with the light of a desk lamp illuminating the notebook I’m writing in and the drink giving flavor to this insipid night.
When we’re children, we all want to do big things like changing the world and exploring unknown territories; we dream of goals as great as world peace and we value our classmates, friends, and family above all else.
As we grow up, the majority of us, sometimes very early, experience what is known as a “reality check.” This is the moment when a lot of doors close for us and we experience rejection, the obligation to meet certain expectations put on us that we ourselves do not decide. In this moment, we “understand” that dreaming big is useless. We are convinced that, if we want to survive in the “real” world, we should not think outside of ourselves and our “needs,” many of which are imposed by the social system we live in.
As human beings and activists for a better world, we believe that we have the right to dream and to experience a genuine human connection with others, regardless of our individual interests and lifestyles. We all have the right to express ourselves and to be heard.
If we look at the history of human beings on earth, the first human groups and primitive societies were formed with the goal of mutual support and collaboration. Every individual mattered. As society grew and became more complex, that original goal started to get lost and, today, has been replaced by a social system that has broken the basic human personal connection and substituted it for the often-misleading illusion of global hyperconnectivity.
The Free Conversations Movement was born, in 2016, from the will and desire to face this process of dehumanization and isolation that we are suffering today.
Let’s take to the streets and fill our cities with places where we can sit down and talk. Let’s reclaim the noble art of sincere, selfless conversation, without judging one another.
Talking to someone new, an unopened book, an untold story… We’re missing all of this, and for what? In exchange for selling our lives to technological advancement, trading real conversations for the false belief that we are more connected than ever before.
Go outside, meet up with a friend you haven’t seen for a while. Talk to your boss who you had an argument with, to your neighbor you haven’t met yet. Call your mom, your dad, your children, tell them face to face how much you love them, or resolve your differences.
Get out there! Let’s reverse the process of dehumanization; there’s still enough time.
Let’s challenge the idea of a solely virtual society where we are holograms.
Let’s create spaces in cities where everyone can express themselves freely and be heard. Let’s work together so that all people, regardless of their gender or origin, have someone to talk to and have a conversation with.
Let’s learn to listen to one another, coming from our shared nature as human beings.
Staying quiet is no longer an option.
Not taking a side is no longer an option.
Anyone who stays quiet, who doesn’t look,
who doesn’t listen,
anyone who doesn’t become aware,
is not for this revolution, but against it.
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