Mansle, August 31
Day 37 of the March on Brussels. From Angoulême, 27 km.
Notwithstanding the decadence that has been eroding the life out of these French villages, they still maintain a fascinating kind of beauty.
You can feel it in the early evening when the sun cuts sharply through the streets to crown the houses with yellow light. All the doors and most of the old wooden hatches are closed. There is no traffic, there are no people, all you hear is the doves and the tinkeling of cutlery, the sole proof that the village is still inhabited.
When the clock tower strikes eight, the only bar on the church square closes, and the handful of aging customers shuffle home. A young cat is playing on the streets, the shops look like they haven’t changed their presentation or their merchandise in thirty years.
These places awaken a sense of melancholy, and that is exactly what makes them so beautiful. Melancholy as a longing for something that is both familiar and authentic. Here you can still feel it, under the rubble of postmodern times. In the city it is hard to find.
Voracious capitalism in the country side has resulted into the spawning of rich country villas and the decadence of these villages. In the city it has led to the gentrification of the old centres, and the relocation of the common people to concrete suburbia. In both cases, life on a human scale has been eradicated.
I’m sitting on the side walk, listening. I love this sense of melancholy, and I dream about what these kind of places could be like if they weren’t dependent on cities, government assistance, big distribution or tourism. I dream about a village that only depends on the creativity and practical genious of its inhabitants.
But beware, I’m not just a romantic dreamer, and neither is the revolution an anti-modernist movement. Life in a self sufficient village wouldn’t be a return to the past, and it wouldn’t exclude the inhabitants from the benefits of the city. Human wit knows little boundaries, and there is no reason why man wouldn’t be able to build a web of fast, free and sustainable infrastructure for all, connecting villages, cities, continents and people without any borders in between.
The revolution is creative energy. It aims to bring together the human potential for intelligence, technology, organisation and cooperation, and to make it work for the benefit of all.