Saturday, November 21, 2009


The pseudonym P.M. (taken from the most common initials in the Swiss telephone directory, mostly spelled in lowercase, p.m.) is used by an otherwise anonymous Swiss author (born 1946), best known for his 1983 anarchist/anti-capitalist social utopian book bolo'bolo, published with the paranoia city verlag of Zürich.

The title of this book refers to the bolo, or an autonomous community corresponding to the anthropological unit of a tribe (a few hundred individuals). This would be the basic social unit in an envisioned utopian-ecological future; its name is an example of a word from the fictional auxiliary language (or rather, a basic vocabulary of about thirty words) called asa'pili, intended for use in a bolo-based global community, as follows:

ibu - "individual, person"
bolo - "community, village, tribe" (basic autonomous social unit of 300-500 persons)
sila - "hospitality, tolerance, mutual aid" (includes individual rights to taku, yalu, gano, bete, fasi, nima, yaka, and nugo)
taku - "personal property, secret" (right of each person to keep a footlocker of 0.25 cubic meters for inviolable storage of personal possessions; everything else is ultimately communal)
kana - "household, hunting party, family, gang" (closely-knit group of 15-30 people within a bolo)
nima - "way of life, tradition, culture" (also, the right to practice and advocate for one's chosen way of life)
kodu - "agriculture, nature, sustenance" (predominantly local — many bolos are to be self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs)
yalu - "food, cuisine" (predominantly prepared in units larger than nuclear-family households from locally-grown supplies)
sibi - "craft, art, industry" (oriented towards skilled handicraft methods, rather than mass production, with frequent personal relationships between individual makers and those who use their products)
pali - "energy, fuel" (local self-sufficiency lessens the need for high resource consumption)
suvu - "water, water supply, well, baths"
gano - "house, building, dwelling" (isolated single-family dwellings will be replaced by less wasteful buildings for kanas or bolos)
bete - "medicine, health"
nugo - "death, suicide pill" (every ibu has the right to commit suicide at any time, or to request aid in committing suicide if unable to do so on their own)
pili - "communication, education, language, media" (no centralized educational curriculums or one-way mass-media)
kene - "communal work" (localized initiatives to mobilize labor to accomplish necessary public tasks)
tega - "district, town" (loose self-governing affiliation of from ten to twenty bolos)
dala - "council, assembly" (forum for discussion and settlement of issues larger than a single bolo)
dudi - "foreigner, observer" (external delegates who participate in dalas outside their own district or region)
vudo - "city, county, trading area, bioregion" (about 400 bolos)
sumi - "region, linguistic area, island" (about twenty to thirty vudos, the "largest practical unity")
asa - "earth, world"
buni - "gift, present" (informal exchange of goods which largely replaces commercial trade)
mafa - "depot, warehouse" (organized reserves of basic items in case of collective or individual need)
feno - "barter agreement, trade relation" (more strictly reciprocal than gifts)
sadi - "market, stock market, fair" (commercial trade for high-value or non-local items, has a limited role in the overall economy)
fasi - "travel, transport, traffic, nomadism" (the right to travel everywhere at will; however, most travel will be local by low-energy methods)
yaka - "disagreement, war, duel" (the right to challenge other individuals or communities to a duel or melee under specified terms)
munu - "reputation" (more important than money in being able to cooperate productively with others)

All these terms (except munu) are accompanied by corresponding abstract glyphs, so that the concepts can be represented visually independently of any specific writing system. These words can be combined into modifier-modified compounds (with the two elements separated by an apostrophe), so that asa'pili means "world language", fasi'ibu means "traveler", vudo'dala means "county-level assembly", etc. Doubling a noun changes it into a collective or abstract noun, so that bolo'bolo means "all bolos, the system of bolos".

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