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Dave and Anke
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Saturday, February 1, 2020

Frontier and Ingenuity

No. 5 Gravity Well
by Larry Marley

TAZ springs from the historical development I call “the closure of the map.” The last bit of Earth unclaimed by any nation-state was eaten up in 1899. Ours is the first century without terra incognita, without a frontier. Nationality is the highest principle of world governance–not one speck of rock in the South Seas can be left open, not one remote valley, not even the Moon and planets. This is the apotheosis of “territorial gangsterism.” Not one square inch of Earth goes unpoliced or untaxed…in theory.
-- From The Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey

Frontier ingenuity characterizes an attitude of make-do with materials on hand.
It entails inventive improvisation, adaptation and overcoming of shortages of materials. 
 -- Adapted from Wikipedia entry on "Yankee" Ingenuity

Frontier and Ingenuity

Inventive improvisation, adaptation and overcoming of shortages of materials.

For anyone living along a frontier, necessity is certainly the mother of invention. Improvisation is a daily exercise. Adaptation is sink or swim. Shortage of materials is chronic. DIY (Do It Yourself) is a way of life.

While the frontiers - and the maps - have been closed throughout all of our lifetimes, there are cracks.

Hakim Bey called them Temporary Autonomous Zones. Brand Stewart called it Briarpatch Society. The wrong side of levees. Hardscrabble land. Industrial deserts. Economic sacrifice zones. Ghost towns. Places which are underserved, far from the beaten path, difficult for any reason.

Each of these cracks is a sinuous frontier between the purchased ease of civilization and freedom from all that.

If you are the type who longs for that kind of freedom, you must give a tinker's damn. We pack up our kit as best we may and head out, knowing that if something is wanting, we make it. If something breaks, we fix it. If a wheel is called for, we re-invent it. If a rotary girder is called for, we invent it.

It's heady stuff!

Mind, body and soul meet in an act of ingenuity. Sure, it can happen anywhere. But how often do we 'throw money' at a problem? Buy food rather than grow or collect it? Purchase goods rather than create them. Contract services rather than DIY?

To be sure, I'm in line at the store with all the rest. Please don't hear that I look down on bartering hours of my life for money and money for all the rest. I'm employed as I write, earning filthy lucre for more of that.

But when we turn our hands to an essential improvisation - as we must sailing a frontier...

What a rush!


  1. All kinds of micro-TAZs...... freedom is where you find it indeed. Still lots of zones almost impossible to police or not worth the effort for the powermongers (your waters, Chilean sea isles, remote micronesia, etc., etc..).

    One micro-TAZ currently on my to-do list is the sweet freedom inherent in being able to merely walk off, without goodbyes or saying anything, from a blatantly selfish buttmunch who is holding forth mindlessly at my expense while being totally uninterested in a actual discussion. Sweet freedom! Precious time recovered! When in danger, or in doubt, merely turn around, and walk on out. 8)

  2. Hi Sixbears and Roberto,


    Return On Investment (ROI) is a big factor in generalized regulation of any area, especially remote ones.

    Very few can afford to comb the haystacks for a handful of needles. Especially when those needles are happy where they are.

    Dave Z