“I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something by nature we call it progress.”
― Ed Begley Jr.
Progress: it is widely considered a good thing, especially in the medical and scientific fields. But with every leap in advancement there also comes the ability to abuse it.
Example: Some people are so overweight, they cant even lift their own legs anymore, even then, they are able to ride around in wheelchairs eating themselves to death. Meanwhile people who suffer from paralysing disabilities pray that they will walk one day. This comparison alone shows how much we take for granted and create our own illness, yet we are still able to benefit from modern technology, which only nurtures that process. It highlights how much contrast we face in terms of disease and perspectives thereof: disease of the body, or rather disease of the mind.
Our daily lives have become so convenient its astonishing that we are still using our bodies and brains for anything at all! We use machines to travel, communicate and exercise. Water directly linked to our homes, food all neatly packed at stores, chose between 57 brands of toothpaste, light up a room at the switch of a button and rubbish swiftly taken away where we cant see it. Yes, this can be perceived as a blessing, but also a curse in disguise. Progress fosters a laziness within us that is so easy to get used to and extremely difficult to grow out of. But it’s so much more than laziness, its dependance.
Dependence and exploitation is the name of the game. Whether we can admit it or not, are aware of it or not, we are all a part of this system. Cleverly shielded from the ugly truth and choosing only to reap the benefits, pay our bills and turn a blind eye.
As a result we have become dependent, disconnected and no longer even wish to be involved in the process of acquiring our own basic resources (let alone interacting with the world outside of machines). Why would we? When it is done for us. We call it progress, this gap between the resource and the consumer. This gap grossly effects the processing of resources because whenever you add money into the equation, quantity becomes the focus, instead of quality. This then leads to unnecessary exploitation. Who is to blame?
Private monopoly of natural resources: When a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. Ding! ding! We have a winner! Undoubtedly, the middle men are those who “own” and manage global resources. Call them what you like, they are the ones who created this ‘gap’ between us and our basic needs. This statement then obviously only applies to those living within the confines of modern global society, excluding independantly-living communitites etc.
So how does anyone give themselves the right to conquer and claim unlawful ownership of natural Earthly resources in the first place? How can natural resources belong to anyone or anything but the Earth itself? And if anything, we as human beings belong to the Earth. Land, precious metals, natural water sources etc. supposedly “belong” to these private corporations, who are effortlessly profiting from our ignorance. The concept of ownership is a manmade one. And that’s all it is, a concept.
Interestingly, the very definition of a ‘possession’ is inherently linked with law: “In law, possession is the control a person intentionally exercises toward a thing.” These two don’t and cant exist without each other!
“Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — gets lost or wasted.”— (FAO) Organisation of the United Nations
These statistics prove that hunger shouldn’t even be a problem today because so much food available simply gets wasted. The world is absolutely abundant. Resources just aren’t being managed properly. So much food is being produced, two thirds of it actually consumed and the rest thrown away. All while people are left starving just because they couldn’t afford to pay for naturally occuring resources.
Lets face it, having to go back to complete self-subsistence and independent off the grid living is virtually impossible on a grander scale. Or is it? Too much has changed and will continue to do so until we can figure out how this is going to work. As a collective species we inherently work as a inter-dependent system. Which is why trade is important too. No man is an island. Im not saying we should get rid of the middle man completely, maybe just weed out a few worms, mould the system into something better, adapt and improve it. All we need is for the focus to shift into taking care of the resource itself and making sure the process is fair. Balance is the most important principle for any form of well-being including the Earth’s and our own.
“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realise that one cannot eat money.” — Native American proverb
Balance cannot exist alongside greed, power and control, since these all represent extremes, which defeat the whole purpose of balance. One cannot be greedy without believing that lack exists. Thus greed stems from a mindset of lack and greed is what will ultimately create the reality of lack on a physical level.
I believe the solution lies in teaching ourselves how to understand value. What do we value? And how are we going to create prosperity from a system that’s already broken? Right now money is the most valuable thing in our society. But outside of society it is useless. Which is why resources are so valuable and in their purest form—exist outside of what we call “society.” In the American state known as Florida, off the grid living has actually been declared illegal. No surprise there! Private Corporations cant make money if you are taking care of yourself. Yet another triumph for the law!
“We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves…Earth has been through a lot worse than us. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed.”— George Carlin.
We have a choice —whether we want to be a part of Earth in its eternal state or its damaged state. No matter how much pollution and destruction we cause, in the end, Earth will continue to exist long after we are gone. I now understand this “eternal Earth” to be the original blueprint: symbolically, the garden of Eden from the Bible. We as inhabitants, have simply rejected this blueprint, if not only temporarily.
‘We think caged birds sing, when indeed they cry.’ — John Webster
The term ‘off the grid’ refers to a state of autonomy, self-reliance and freedom. Modern living means that we really are stuck inside a grid. We are provided for and we promise we’ll never leave. Like a pet bird in a cage: It’s looked after and fed, but cant leave because it doesn’t know how to look after itself. Not because it is incapable but because its been there since birth. Its too dependant. It doesn’t know any better and of corse, the door of the cage is locked. Symbolically, that lock represents our ignorance. Poor bird doesn’t even know that its meant to fly! Its the same for us, except we actually have to work for whatever we get. Some can barely afford to eat. At least pets get their food for free! For us, its not living, thats surviving. Its not ‘flying’ and its definitely not freedom. Its slavery. On massive scale.
“There’s no wifi in the forest, but I promise you’ll find a better connection” (Author — unknown)
Once, a friend of mine screamed out: “eww! There’s nature on me! Get it off!” , which I thought was hilarious at the time. Looking back now, it only reminds me of how separate we actually feel from nature. It is seen as something outside of ourselves. Yet, it is sustaining us here. How ironic that we fail to recognise it as important and that we believe we are divided from it.
We absolutely mirror this belief in the way we choose to experience the world:
We open the tap and have no idea where the water is coming from, like a massive straw connected to a house(dare I use the metaphor of a hamster feeder?). Our food is always in a box, a packet or on a stick. We use euphemisms like ‘beef, pork and veal’. I am by no means a vegetarian, I only wish to point out how much we like to distance our minds from acknowledging pure/original states.
Even as we walk this Earth we are always sure to put a sole under our feet—just to make sure that it isn’t “touching” us, usually though, thats already taken care of by the concrete.
Instead of water, plant, animal, sunlight, fresh air or person you get a shower head, processed package, lightbulbs, cigarettes, aircons and machines. Everything has filters and conditioning, much like we do. Its a mirror of our beliefs, a reflection of the disease in our minds. We have an entire industry devoted to making us look different, “better” than our original state: the beauty industry. We go so far as to cover our eyes with sunglasses for “protection” when sunlight has at least 1500 wavelengths that are actually beneficial to our eyes!
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
― Oscar Wilde
Why would you ever want to run outside? When you can run on a stationary machine inside an air-conditioned building with a TV infront of your face? Oh the joys of advertising! These days every gym, taxi, escalator, elevator, house, car, room, ipad, computer and cellphone has a screen to hide your face and suck you into a parallel world. A world within a world. Unfortunately, whether real or virtual, on Facebook or walking in the street, both these worlds have an advert trying to sell you something every 10 seconds.
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
― Dave Ramsey
Consumerism goes so much deeper then the basic need for food and water. Advertising sways us into believing that we actually give a shit about useless products we don’t need. I am no angel myself! I like buying new clothes, fancy things, fancy restaurants too. We all buy into it—literally. But the question is do we really enjoy these things, on a deep and profound level? Or are we so bombarded by useless information that we are simply unable to recognise what truly excites us anymore? Because real value and connection can only be found and fulfilled by concepts of happiness that are sold to us? And apparently, it is always only a few pennies away.
I don’t care how vegan, green peace, organic, sustainable, self-sufficient or natural you think you live your life, we are all hypocrites on some level. Whether its a consumer-driven, meat-eating, material-loving past or present, nobody is innocent or immune. Thats life! We experience the good with the bad. Maybe we have to experience misalignments in order to know what the opposite is.
‘If you think you’re too small to make a difference,
try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito’.—African proverb.
All consumerism does is create a cycle of brainwashing and consuming. Distraction and ignorance. Dissatisfaction and disconnection. Feeling guilty about your role and feeling powerless over the bigger picture wont change anything either! We must be able to face the darkest reality of what this world might become and take responsibility for it. One person at a time. Only then we can focus on healing, instead of blaming.
“within your myths, your legends, your various religions with their stories of gardens of Eden, and within the tales of ancient advanced civilisations, is a collective memory of a time when humanity was not separate. They recall a time when human consciousness was one with God, connected to earth and to all of creation” — Vincent Cole
Ancient civilisations have so much wisdom to offer us. Their knowledge absolutely blurs our definition of what it means to be ‘advanced’. That isn’t to say that they didn’t have technology! It just worked with their environment, not against it. A great example is their vast and incredibly accurate knowledge and understanding of the cosmos and astronomy. The mayan calendar, ancient scriptures, runes, crystal technology, stone henge, and most ancient pyramid structures are all a testament to a much greater story that illustrates wisdom beyond our grasp.
“An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first would win the fruits. When he told them to run they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together, sharing and enjoying the fruit. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for one’s self they said: “UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” — www.trueactivist.com
“The Babemba tribe of Africa believes that each human being comes into the world as good. Each one of us only desiring safety, love, peace and happiness. But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes. When a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he/she is placed in the center of the village, alone, unfettered. All work ceases. All gather around the accused individual. Then each person of every age, begins to talk out loud to the accused. One at a time, each person tells all the good things the one in the center ever did in his/her lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. The tribal ceremony often lasts several days, not ceasing until everyone is drained of every positive comment that can be mustered. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe. Necessity for such ceremonies is rare!” —Contact: The First Four Minutes by Leonard Sunin.
So maybe we have it backwards then? Maybe what we call ‘primitive’ behaviour is in fact more advanced and moral than our own. The proof is in the pudding! Most communities that are considered primitive today never even come close to the disease and pain our modern world is currently experiencing.
There is however, one modern advancement that I am a fan of: The internet. The reason why is because it makes any information available to us and most importantly, we get to choose which information. That google search bar is wide open, waiting for you to start typing—whatever you want to know!
The truth lies somewhere between “Google is making us stupid” and “the Internet will liberate humanity.” — David Brin
One could argue that it has only worsened our state of addiction to technology. That is true for some. Bottom line: Valuable wisdom finally has the opportunity and platform to spread like wildfire! Knowledge can reach us faster and wider than before. Its educating those who are willing to learn. People who are ready will begin to want the truth, search for it and find it.
“what we see depends mainly on what we look for”—John Lubbock
Yes—the internet also has a lot of negativity, violence and fear mongering, but thats where discernment comes in, as well as becoming aware of what you are focused on. By now we all know that you shouldn’t believe everything you read or see: the internet is a wonderful tool to help us to train and trust our own discernment. Always decide for yourself what is true for you, because it can always change:
“truth is subjective, wisdom is universal.” — Carla Pahl
Embrace and facilitate change within yourself. Don’t be afraid to adapt your beliefs and keep evolving.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin
Simply put, what Darwin is saying is this: Adapt or die.
Well we don’t just want to survive, we want to thrive! We have already successfully adapted to a power-hungry, over stressed, consumer-driven society. Only once we gain enough insight and wisdom as a collective consciousness, then we can start adapting to something better.