With Little Boy talking more and more -- literally each day -- I've been thinking about his birth. And it occurs to me tonight that having him at home was the ultimate in DIY thinking. Thanks to the courage of my wife I've experienced what few, at least in this country, people are willing to choose for themselves. It's a self-reliant thing and makes us like the Amish or that surfer dad who raised his family in a camper (see Surfwise). I'm not going to be installing Linux tomorrow, but I'm happy about our (or my wife's) instincts regarding these things.
What is interesting about the choice to pursue DIY options is that they require a community. On the tech side of things, I've been able to teach myself how to run a little home network and hack some software by availing myself of little tech communities on the web. As far as home birth is concerned, we needed to find a midwife we were comfortable with and find others who could share their experiences and encourage us. My point is that DIY is not something one does in isolation; on the contrary, it's the nature of community (learning from others; building on experience) that makes it so appealing. I suppose the ultimate job might be the kind that relies on similar kinds of communities, say, like astrophysical engineering or medieval manuscript restoration. This must be the appeal of volunteering for open source projects or wikipedia. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the wikinovel has made much headway. I'm also sorry that my little world of scholarship doesn't work more like DIY projects.