Posted by: terrapraeta | September 2, 2009

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Six o’clock – TV hour. Don’t get caught in foreign tower. Slash and burn,
return, listen to yourself churn. Lock him in uniform and book burning,
blood letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate. Light a candle,
light a motive. Step down, step down. Watch a heel crush, crush. Uh oh,
this means no fear – cavalier. Renegade and steer clear! A tournament,
a tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
and I decline.

REM, It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

When I first started writing this blog, I was very cautious about how I approached certain subjects. OK, one subject. I have been involved online and through social gatherings with a group of people inspired by the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn for some years now. Dan writes about why everything about our culture seems to be slightly askew. People are unhappy (ofttimes), the rise in psychological disorders and aberrant behavior, the system never quite seems to work… I was caught by this theme because I have been trying to figure out the source of our world’s problems since I was a kid. In college I intended to major in Religious History because I suspected the problem began with institutionalized religion. Turns out, I was looking in the right place, but not quite the right time or event.

Dan’s theory is that all of our problems began with the advent of agriculture. I’m not really interested, today, in debating the details of his argument: I have covered some of this before. What I am interested in discussing is the mental path I have traveled as a result of this book, and these people, over the last few years.

My first reaction to this particular ah ha moment in my life was inspiration. I started building models of how things could be different. I dreamed up an intentional community based upon hydroponic gardening, with black and brown water systems that would be totally closed, solar and wind power generation… the works. But it was an expensive model. I figured startup costs would run to over a million dollars.

So my next response was depression. I knew that my then-honey and I could come up with a reasonable share in such a project, but very few if any of my friends could do the same. At the same time, my honey began to get pessimistic and argumentative about the whole idea. (He was the one that first gave me Ishmael to read…) So we spent months and eventually years debating the theory, the potentials, the hopes and fears. This was one part of the reason that that relationship came to an end.

When I finally walked away from that relationship, it was with a very intentional, self-motivated, intention to find a life that would make me happy – first and foremost. I was determined that I was going to stop settling, I was going to stop basing my happiness and fulfillment on any other person, I was going to find a way to be self-sufficient – enough that I could be content and confident of myself – and most of all, I wasn’t going to allow myself to stop pursuing the things that I believed in. Then Eddie stepped in and everything went to hell for a while.

Now, two years later, I find myself back in that same mindset but with some very different and rather surprising changes in myself. The biggest one of all… I’m no longer afraid.

Part of the reason that I was cautious in the things I wrote on this blog was that I didn’t want to scare away people that might be ready to listen to the “soft” version of what I had to say. Now I realize that an even bigger part of the reason was my own fear. But now I am ready to say it “out loud” if you will.

I believe our civilization is headed for a crash. A crash like none seen previously. To paraphrase Dan Quinn: If humans are still living on this planet in 100 years there is one thing that is for certain: they will be living in an entirely different way from how we live now. Because if we don’t stop living the way we have been… there won’t be any humans still alive in 100 years.

I honestly believe it, too.

But the big change is not in belief… I’ve really known this all along. What’s changed is my own comfort in the world. I find where once I was quite the technofile: looking for a mix of advanced and primitive technologies to fix things (I even have a twenty page email conversation about how one would build automobiles in a post-collapse world), I am becoming more and more anarcho-primitivist. I can imagine myself loading up a backpack and just… going. On foot, cross country, with a tent, a knife, some clothing layers and my dog. I can’t say that I could feed myself well off of the land right now… but I could survive, and I learn more every day. I still want to find a community and a permanent (or at least seasonal) home, but I am less concerned with orchestrating or otherwise designing such a thing. Everywhere I go there are people that compliment me and whom I compliment. Given the right circumstances, any of them could become my community. A community of need and yet also a community of mutual comfort and satisfaction. And beyond that, what more do I really need?

Right now, in my life, I have an apartment and a car, bills and a job… because those things satisfy my current needs and allow me time to explore At some point, I will have gotten everything I can out of this situation and it will be time to move on. But I’m not worried any more. And I’m not scared. Because where ever I go, and whatever happens with the world, I’ll be living in it – until the day I no longer am, and that’s okay, too.

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Responses

  1. Ahhhh..this so affirming to read this.

    When I start to know that, all considered (and I’ve considered plenty), it’s okay, I still hear the voice “How dare you, how DARE you!” walk away. And now it gets so I’m not so scared of that voice any more.

    Thankyou for “coming out” on this.

  2. Thanks John!

    Its always good to know that someone is out there, reading and finding some usefulness…

    On this same topic, I have a major article I’m working on, inspired by finally reading some Derrick Jensen… stay tuned 🙂

    tp


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