The Hunger Project
The Hunger Project was the brainchild of Werner Erhard, the founder of est. I did the training in 1980 and 1983 I was still enrolled in weekly seminars, and I was a popular fixture around the Vancouver est community. The Hunger Project was launched in 1977 in California. The premise was that we needed a new context about hunger.
At the time it was not about food per say, it was about an educational technology that would eliminate and eradicate world hunger by 1997. It was about creating a new dialogue about hunger. It was about -- whatever.
At any rate, sometimes people from around the est center would invite me to come out and do enrollment. We had cards people could sign. They could donate money, but we didn't stress the money part.
I would go out sometimes. I was usually too busy training, but I did like to come out and play sometimes. I had a lot of energy. People liked being around me. I was very well known.
We would go out to English Bay. On the strand there. One time a big girl, she was butch. I asked her if she wanted to end world hunger. She started cussing me. "Fuck you! I hate Werner. I'll fuck you up!" I shrunk into the asphalt there. I didn't want to get into a fist fight with a big dyke over a failed vision. But she went away.
The other place was Granville Island. The last entrance next to the pier. I had better luck there. Sometimes a fat guy would trundle by, "Sir, would you like to end world hunger by 1997?!"
“I can’t help you I’m starving myself.” Oink, oink.
But then I would say, "It's not about guilt! All I want it your signature!" And most times they would turn around and sign. And in truth responsibility is not about blame. That's hard to understand, though.
I didn't get many donations, but nobody gave me a hard time about it. Other people used to marvel at how good I was at enrollment. And I was good at it. I even enrolled my parents in training because I didn't care. I didn't give a shit. I didn't believe that we could end world hunger by 1997. By the end of days. I didn't believe it.
But I wasn't guilt tripping people. That will shut them right down. You made me wrong! Goodbye! You can't blame them.
I was out there to play and be around people. Be around women. The Hunger Project was severed from est and its subsidiaries in 1991. After 1990 the focus changed from educational efforts to more substantial relief efforts.