The Albeit Manifesto–2j

The Albeit Manifesto—2j

5/30/2008

Kenneth Burchfiel

One popular tradition for incoming residents is to write a paragraph or two explaining the reason for their move, then give it to family and friends. These ‘manifestos’ have become popular enough to spawn an off-the-wall memorial: Manifesto Wall in Spengler is a forty foot-long wall of concrete on which residents may pin up new manifestos.

Perhaps the most famous manifesto of all is that of Anthony Patron, a famous author and critic who made the move to Albeit after visiting the city. Some consider his essay to be a spot-on representation of Albeit’s citizens, values and goals; others say that Patron’s piece represents only the anti-establishment Albeitian and doesn’t take into account the majority of the population, who shares Patron’s love for adventure and creativity but not his hatred of the mainstream. Both groups do agree that his “Albeit Manifesto” has stood the test of time since its 1983 rendition; indeed, it occupies the centermost spot on the Spengler wall.

My reasons for living in Albeit: a Manifesto

The cities of the “modern world” have become polluted, filled with the packaged waste of corporations and the mainstream media. The citizens of each identify themselves as such, but American cities are all browning leaves of the same conformist stem. Television and the white-collar industry have made each city practically the same.

All through this land, humans have strained to maintain their deepest principles. Faith, hope and love are not alien to them; neither is a love for adventure. For them, the future looks as bleak and bland as the urban world in which they struggle to reside.

For 30 years, I have lived out a mental battle in New York. This city told me to love money. I refused. This city told me to love fine dining, flashy automobiles and stucco houses. Again, I refused. The aggravated city then goaded me into hobnobbing with cash-inflated socialites, and I spat in its face. And so, with my pen pointed West, I leave for Albeit.

My destination is a city that defends values–love for the poor, love for each other, love for God–in a time when the words “purpose” and “meaning” are becoming anachronisms. The town may very well be the last outpost on Eart for creativity, a lone hearth against the howling winds of passive materialism and indifference. Only in Albeit do citizens have the resolve and courage to live the life they know to be right.

But how can one even begin to write out the reasons for leaving? There are arrows in my heart, and they point towards Albeit—that is the only way to explain it. People ask why I leave New York for a city of lesser wealth and a lesser population. The answer is simple: my arrival destination is richer in spirit and contains more true individuals than any other spot I know. In New York, the money and the people are all the same. But now, I prepare to join a collection of citizens who have overcome the simple desires for money, power and acceptance to reach a new plane of meaning. 

Some describe Albeit as an “Alternative City.” This misconceived term never fails to irritate me. This place was not conceived in a knee-jerk reaction to modern society. It is built out of different material.

My departure will not be drawn out; indeed, I might already have arrived. Albeit is not a physical location as much as a corner of the mind. It is more than possible to live within its borders and still be miles away, but likewise, one can proclaim themselves a citizen without ever seeing it in person. I like to think that I’ve been an Albeitian for the last thirty years. This is my chance to meet the other 729,000 of them.

You are free to criticize me for this move. Write what you will in the magazines and the “social papers,” rest assured, I won’t be around to read it. There simply came a time in my life when the need for love, community and spirit finally overcame my primitive urges for cash, acceptance and power. There are thousands of cities that accommodate those seeking the latter desires; only one city, that western outpost called Albeit, satisfies mine.

Anthony Patron

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