Interesting conversations always arise when you have intelligent people relaxing and passing time any given evening. This evening was one of those evenings where the time and the mood was just right to discuss, at great length, the declination and degradation of human existence on our planet because of choices we, as humans comprising various social networks, have made. For some reason, the crashing of the economy and reverting to a more simple life is soothing.
The pace of American life is too fast. And to compensate, we have all of these gadgets and tools that solve problems or make our lives easier. But do they really? I look around my home, and other homes I visit, and realize the vast amount of waste in the name of good living. What is good living? This is a deep question that needs to be asked and answered honestly.
When I think of my ideal living situation, I think of a community setting that would be fairly familiar 100 years ago. I envision families and communities working as a cohesive unit, instead of the disjointed, hyper-individualized “communities” we live in now. In this vision, each person is important, has a role to play, a job to do. There are no disenfranchised, or at least to a lesser degree. People in this community of mine know where their food comes from: their field or the community green. Someone, probably me, would have fiber animals and would produce the fiber for the community to make clothes. Someone else would supply the cattle and nearly everyone would have their own chickens. It’s not an easier life, but in many ways it is simpler, more rewarding and healthy.
There are communities in our Nation who are moving in this direction, have been moving in this direction for years (Quakers, Oneidas, Mormons, etc.), but in a way that encapsulates the world we live in and the tools we have. Instead of rejecting all the wonderful advances in science and technology, my dream community of our times would use the best and greenest of these advances to create a unique and sustainable co-living community.
I know that my thoughts are moving fast, but I wanted to capture the essence of them for future use.
I guess what it really comes down to is this: I don’t want to wake up 20 years from now unable to breath the air because it’s too polluted. I don’t want to wonder where I’m going to get my water. I don’t want to fear for my life because other parts of the world have become uninhabitable due to the changing environments caused by disruption of natural systems and we have a massive surge in immigrants looking for a place to live. And I don’t want other people to live that way, either. Together, making small changes every day, we can minimize and begin correcting the damage done and find ways to live better. And this just may mean simpler — food grown in the field behind your house instead of on a huge plantation a few hundred miles away. It may mean buying your clothes and dishes from village craftsmen.
All I do know is that I want to make every effort I can to make the world a better place than I found it.