In the author interview for The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril, I was asked when I got the idea for the book. My response was that the original idea came about when I was studying in Granada, Spain, in 2005. The idea then was for it to take place on a street called Calle Elvira, which boarders the Albyzín, or the old Muslim section of town. This area is filled with small bars, cafes, tourists, street people, and hash dealers and is a wonderful setting for people watching while drinking a glass of rioja. Back then the book was going to be a series of conversations between people of different cultures and nationalities that discussed the current state of the world from various perspectives.

Interestingly, eight years later the book was finally drafted in Granada, Nicaragua, which has it own street known for bars, hookers, and shady characters—Calle Calzada.

But to the point.

While it was in 2005 that this eventual version of The Boétie Legacy came to mind, the actual idea to write a book that inspired people to transform our world happened long before that in1989.

At the time I was an apprentice power lineman out of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1547, and making a daily two hundred mile round trip back and forth between Delta Junction and Fairbanks, Alaska, for work. While I lamented the amount of driving back then, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I had just redirected my life and I needed the four hours a day alone for meditation and contemplation, practicing my visualization and breathing, and reframing who I was and what I believed. This was a period of intense growth as I began the transformation to the man I am today from one who stood little chance of survival then.

During these drives I would ask whatever forces I thought were in the universe to help me grow into a man capable of influencing our world.

For a broke, angry, uneducated, ex-barfly with more time and skill using his fists than he had engaging basic social interactions this was a preposterous request. But from that point on it seems the universe conspired to help me to do just that, and today the path just somehow keeps unfolding in perfect order.

One period of contemplation during these drives that eventuated into The Boétie Legacy, had to do with Thomas Paine’s little book Common Sense, which was the catalyst that mobilized the populace against the British in the American Revolution. I was enthralled at the power of the written word, and how Paine was able to articulate the ideas of his day in a way that allowed the population to not only grasp the situation, but also get them to act against the oppression they were under.

And I was hooked.

I remember thinking then that I wanted to write Common Sense: Part 2, and help the people in our country understand that we could resist our government’s efforts to erode our freedom and bring us under more control.

But at the time I was also still under the mystic of violence and still only considering the situation in the United States, so I’m glad I lacked the skills or knowledge to make the effort then.

Today though I understand that any transformation to the world system will reflect the means used to achieve it, and that we have moved past the time when we can expect to solve global problems at the national level. In other words we cannot use violence to bring about peace, and global challenges require a united humanity to be resolved.

That period in my life, driving back and forth across the wilds of Alaska, was the true genesis of The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril.

I get goose bumps when I think of all that had to come into being to get from those initial days asking for guidance to where I am now, though gratitude for lighting the path is still a daily event. I am grateful to have persevered and for the help I received from friends known and unknown.

Bridging the gap between the public and the academy.

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Posted in Robert A. Kezer, The Boétie Legacy: and a World in Peril
One comment on “Genesis
  1. […] my blog I went into detail on the initial idea for The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril (see “Genesis“). I talk about how inspired I was as a young man by Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, […]


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People Power, Civil Resistance, and Social Transformation: An Introduction to Nonviolent Conflict
The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril
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