Journal, October 27, 1976 PM

Yes you meet some fine, fine people in Peace Corps. Today I was made aware once more of what exceptional people my two housemates are.

Mike {Shank} showed me a letter this morning. It was from a girl living in Honduras who had put an ad in Rolling Stone Magazine some time back inviting people to take part in an experiment. The experiment consisted of going out into the tropical wilds (somewhere in Honduras) and living off the land with only rudimentary hand tools. As she wrote to Mike, she got only 4 replies to the ad. One was from a businessman interested in investment opportunities. Another was from a Vietnam veteran who was in jail for I forget what crime. A third was from a Canadian physics major looking for a diversion before entering grad. school. And the fourth was from Mike. She had asked that each participant put up $2,000 toward the project. Only Mike had answered her follow-up letter describing the thing.

She’s a true believer in the Thoreau creed, simplify, simplify. Her integrity and dedication are very impressive. As Mike says, “She’s got her shit together.” She says she had a chance to carry out her project. Some guy she had been corresponding with wrote from Colombia that he had ripped off $10,000 from a Texan cocaine dealer. She told him to shove it; you see she doesn’t believe in breaking laws. Anyway, now she’s about given up the project, but she says she’ll be coming through El Salvador some time within the next few months, and she wants to meet Mike.

Mike’s an intense searcher, you see. He says there has to be a reason why we’re here, and he’s looking fort it. Writing to this chic with the communal living project was one manifestation. Going to live with Indians in the mountains of Mexico, and munch on peyote was another. Joining the British Sub Aqua Club (skin diving) was still another. And I have to add his use of the I Ching (Chinese book of changes). For all that intensity, Mike is a very gentle person. That makes him exceptional.

Steve {Pamperin} and I got to talking this evening, discussing where the world is headed. Steve is convinced that the industrialized countries will have to continue making concessions to the third world countries. He believes that, if the world is to reach a stable state by peaceful means, there will have to be economic leveling. I agree, but tend to believe it will have to be not just a change in relative wealth of countries, but also that of people within countries. Socialism is where the world is headed, though it can (and already does) exhibit many variations. Steve laments the imminent loss of some civil liberties, though he sees them compensated for by other “freedoms” (freedom to educate yourself, eat well, access to technological improvements). The rugged individualist will become extinct however, I’m afraid.

Steve is so thoughtful. He thinks deeply and on a world scope. He’s one of the meek who, if there indeed turns out to be ultimate justice, will inherit the earth. He’s also a very good economist and banker.

I rode my bike out here from Peace Corps Office after “work”. 2 buses nearly did me in, running me darn near onto the sidewalk. But all in all the trip was less nerve-wracking than I had anticipated.

No comments: