(Part 10 of 11 in A Tracer's Manifesto)
( In late 2016 I began a small discussion with a few friends about an idea. Eventually the project became a web site [now gone] and this series contains the posts from that site. The project continues in the Parkour Forum. )
Originally published Feb 3, 2017
The word manifesto traces its roots to the Latin manifestum, which means clear or conspicuous. A manifesto is defined as a declaration of one’s beliefs, opinions, motives, and intentions. It is simply a document that an organization or person writes that declares what is important to them.
A manifesto functions as both a statement of principles and a bold, sometimes rebellious, call to action. By causing people to evaluate the gap between those principles and their current reality, the manifesto challenges assumptions, fosters commitment, and provokes change.
~ Brett McKay
THE SEED THOUGHT
[The following is a direct quote of what I initially wrote. Some of it is already supplanted as I write this.]
I don’t recall who (if anyone) I discussed the following idea with, but it has again bubbled to the surface of my brain: Let’s create a Code of Conduct for parkour/ADD. I’m envisioning a very simple web site; Just a sort of billboard that says this is the Code of Conduct. Then we start grass-roots spreading the word and expecting that every group/team step up to support this CoC by mentioning/linking to the CoC.
At first I thought of making it more complicated by having individuals register (with a closed loop email signup), or having people contact us (uh, me I suppose) to add back-links when they link… but then I thought. Nah. All it needs is to be a bit of a community discussion to settle on the Code (many such codes already exist, shouldn’t be too different for parkour/ADD). Then we enlist a few people to translate it into a few languages, and we put it up.
Thoughts? I know it’s doable… but I’m wondering if it’s *useful*…
In late 2016 I began a small discussion with a few friends about this thought. The discussion went — roughly — in three directions, and I wanted to lay this out here to begin a history of the project:
Goal – Discussion of what are we trying to create with this project; What is the concrete, objective thing we are creating? How do we define success; Is it creation of some artifact (a “code” of ethics/conduct?), or is it to reach some level of “adoption” of it?
Code – The most difficult part of the project. Statements of ethics are inherently complex and there is an enormously wide range of scope available. Part of this project will involve sorting out the “height of the bar”; The more complex a social/moral concept embodied in a statement, the more discussion and dissent will be evoked. We will have to balance the desire for achieving wide-spread, grass-roots adoption of the “code” against how far onto the moral high-ground the code sits.
Technology – What technologies, formats and forums are we to use for this project. We’re beginning in a “secret” Facebook group, but I expect to quickly outgrow this forum. I expect we’ll ultimately have to produce a web site to house the finished product, and I hope that can also include a narrative (aka “blog”) capturing the discussions and process. The later point being another reason I want to move “out” of a Facebook group asap, so we can capture as much of the discussion, permanently outside of FB.
A FIRST ATTEMPT AT A NAME
A Traceur’s Manifesto
I’ve veered to using the word “traceur” in the hopes that people who self-identify with Parkour/freerunning/ADD will “recognize” it and will identify with it at least partially, while not being an instant lightening rod of diviciveness. (Using the masculine form in English, because that’s how English works. In other languages, we’ll use the appropriate default gender, which is also masculine as far as I know. eg, French.)
My choice of “manIfesto” is intended to be stirring; This entire project is meant to make people *think*, not actually to achieve changing their minds/opinions. So I feel “manifesto” comes from the moral high road by shouting out a declaration and a call to action. (Obviously, it has to be written so as to actually achieve those goals.)
The use of “A …” implies this manifesto is not presuming to be “The …” one true version of things. Also, “A Traceur’s …” can be interpretted to mean “the traceur who wrote the manifesto”, as well as to mean “this manifesto is for those persons who are traceurs”.
I remain open to being talked out of my opinions. But, after months of thinking about this. I’m convinced this is the best name *I* can come up with. So I’m leaving it here to provide an opportunity for you to talk me out of it.
Presuming it stands, I will build “infrastructure” to actually begin the project; a domain name, web site, google group for discussion, etc.
WHERE IS THE DISCUSSION? HOW DOES ONE CONTRIBUTE?
I’m glad you asked. There is a dedicated forum in the Parkour Forum
As things get discussed, concensus is reached or decisions are made, things will find there way here to this web site.
The goal of this Manifesto is to lay out values and ideals in the context of Parkour. I am writing in the hope that this will cause others to think deeply about their own values, ideals, and personal philosophies. If you do not consciously choose these things, you are surrendering yourself to the power of ideas you do not know you have accepted.
Do you have a mind? Do you use it? How do you use it? What does your mind realize? What are your values and ideals? Where did you obtain them? Are they correct? How does any of that apply to your personal understanding of Parkour?
These are deep questions, all in the realm of Philosophy. But this Manifesto is not meant to be a rigorous treatise of Philosophy. By thinking about these questions, each of us can expand our personal Parkour, and increase the good that Parkour can accomplish generally. I also believe that by examining questions commonly encountered in the context of Parkour, we can each enlighten our broader, personal philosophies, values and ideals.
Is there value in movement? Do I have the right to move? When might that right be limited? What responsibilities do I have for my actions? Am I responsible for the ideas and conceptions formed by others who perceive my actions? What responsibilities do I have to my community of fellow tracers, or to my community at large?