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Stop Being a Slave : The Road to Self-Reliance

Poster: Hank @ Sun Dec 07, 2008 7:03 pm

As I mention in my upcoming essay "The Inadequacy of Hope," the condition of slavery that we find ourselves in -- that is, that we cannot do as we wish and can't live free from coercion by others -- is rooted in a basic fact. To wit, we have been trained to stake our survival on external sources, from employers to food supply chains, and are therefore in bond to those sources. The spigot of this terrible reality spray is the view that human institutions were created for the purpose of and can be trusted to secure for the individual results that are beneficial, and furthermore to distribute those results in an efficient manner. We are so convinced that these institutions can take care of our needs better than we ourselves can, that we have surrendered our sovereignty to them. Even when they fail, we hope that they will right themselves so that we can be in their good care again soon.

This dependency and subsequent self-sale into servitude occurred as a direct result of our appetite for a single commodity : convenience. Our thirst for convenience and its brother, portable money currency as a store of wealth, proved to be so unquenchable that when we were offered a bargain wherein we would be able to live without ever really seeing personally to any of our basic human needs such as food, shelter, defense, or sanitation, but would as a result become utterly dependent on and enslaved to the entities we allow to see to those needs for us, we opted in without a thought.

We're slaves. We can't even escape our bonds by running : if I successfully sneak away to some other place now, I'll still be as unable to live without a steady stream of currency, food created and transported by someone else, and shelter created and maintained by someone else that if any of these supplies were to be substantially interrupted, my life would likely be in real danger.

This arrangement, in the pithy words of Rodney Dangerfield, sucks.

There is a potential way to break the Marley chains of modern institutional dependency, this new slavery I've described :

First, we must abandon the hope that these institutions will ever truly deliver to us what we need and desire in a way that remains efficient and also keeps us free.

Second, we must quickly and effectively learn real ways to achieve practical self-reliance.

This task is huge and daunting, as the knowledge of self-sufficiency that was held and exercised by a very large percentage of Americans not much more than a century ago has been evaporated from the popular mind by decades of nonuse, and even if we could instantly revive that knowledge base, it would be sorely lacking in relevance to our modern world.

The truth is that we need to develop a fresh body of methods for self-reliance that make good sense for our current reality.

The easiest first step toward freedom from institutional slavery in the modern world is to be able to reject the industrial food supply chain that controls what we eat and when we eat it. That is, we should learn how to grow and produce our own food.

The articles I'll present on food-raising here are drawn in large part from the excellent classes offered by the Phoenix Permaculture Guild. I've provided notes for each piece on adapting the tactics presented to various climates. Let's take ourselves back, starting with sovereignty over our own physical frames and the food we feed on.

Keywords: Slavery  Self Reliance  Materialism 
Comments: 2  •  Post Comment  •  Share Share Top
1m1w Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:49 pm
How about a little parenthetical permaculture information for your friends living up near the arctic circle.
In a similar vein, this post brings to mind a quote from some recently deceased Russian penmaster, "Don't beleive them, don't fear them, don't expect anything of them." Of course he was reffering to a different kind of authority, but then again as Ursula K. Le Guin stated, "There are kind masters and there are cruel masters. What is best is to have no master."
Hank Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:16 pm
Those classic quotes are pithier than new cane. We have heard th' plight of our permaculturally-inclined Arctic pals, and will be at the least including a "(the topic) and Climate)" section (as seen in the compost article) to be more geographically inclusive. I hope to develop an article dealing specifically with cold-climate food-raising pending some more research.

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