Kate Kennedy: Is there any way to save the Boheme?
Pete Sherman: Well, the business and the philosophy are two different things. What you’re doing is the Boheme. So there’s the business of the Boheme, but businesses come and go, and there’s the philosophy of the Boheme – and I know what you mean, but I’m evading your question because in short the answer is I don’t know. I’m working with two parties right now who have good intent.
KK: Something we’ve all been thinking about is, if the Boheme does go away, what will happen with the cultural crater that it leaves in Ames?
PS: You can call it a cultural crater, and I would call it a pothole. A crater suggests something that is quite large, and if you think about the cultural void that will be created, there probably wouldn’t be more than a dozen people who would feel a memorable void. People will find other places to bring this. There will be other places to have open mic. And, again, those are elements of Boheme, but Boheme is the philosophy, and it is that philosophy of social, environmental world awareness that – I honestly feel that the number of people, young people in particular, who are persevering in engaging those elements is dwindling rapidly.
KK: In Ames, or everywhere?
KK: Is one of the telling incidents that we don’t have an anti-war movement?
PS: Yeah, in a very short description, yes. But I mean, anti-war is one facet of what’s going on. What’s really going on is severe egocentricity. There’s no identification, there is no sense of empathy or sense of caring, for anything but me and mine. There are people who are being abominably brutalized, and we sit and do nothing. Not we here in Ames, but we here in America, we here Western Europe, we here in every country. The world is becoming very egocentric.
KK: What is causing a lack of empathy?
PS: Manipulation. Technological and social manipulation. You don’t have to leave your home, everything can be done in your home. And, for social remedies, how many places are there like Boheme? There should hundreds of them, but there’s sports bars, there’s binge bars, there are meat market clubs, there’s anything you’d ever want for that 30 seconds of the end that you get, and you take advantage of it and the next morning you’re starving again. There’s no community. There’s no connection to land anymore. This is what humans developed over millions of years, and all of the sudden we’re totally divorced from the environment, totally divorced from each other.
And this goes back to Boheme. Why did I start it? Why am I exiting? I don’t want Boheme to end. In fact, I never wanted to start it either. I wanted people to start it. I wanted to form a communal type of organization that we’re all engaged in. This isn’t a business, this is a revolution. That’s what I wanted. Nobody else was going to do it, so I started it with the hopes that over time people would take up the torch. … The Boheme isn’t a business, it’s a medium.
KK: And that is what people are afraid of losing.
PS: At this point in my pursuit, whatever that is, Boheme is more of a negative. It keeps me from delving into other social and political issues. … At this point in my career I think I can be more useful to the world by not being at Boheme. And again, I never wanted to start it. I would’ve very much loved the idea of a group of people by now chipping in a few thousand dollars for a cause. … The fact is, right now nobody has stepped to the plate.