Friday, January 7, 2011

System Fail

Is it too late to change course?

Everyone is worried about the economy. I say fuck the economy. Let the whole thing collapse and take the whole cultural system, the military-industrial-media complex down with it. The only reservation I can find in myself about it is the suffering and human misery that such a collapse will bring with it. But since our population only continues to grow, to wish for it to fall now rather than later (as fall it certainly shall) is an act of mercy. Because the growth economy is coming to an end. We've put most of the even marginal land into cultivation, we're losing topsoil, we've mined the earth of the easy-to-access minerals; the ocean is running out of fish, oil production is peaking (oil, which underlays the entire convulsion of growth). We're out of room. Are we going to colonize space? Ha! Proponents of this don't understand exponential growth and its implications. It can't happen soon enough for us. The limits will be reached in our lifetime.

Stop and think: what do we really need an economy for anyways? Well, for jobs of course, so we can earn money to buy food, water, shelter, heat. The essentials of life. Yet why does no one ask why these essentials have been turned into commodities? Why does no one wonder why these are not human rights (like the air we breathe) but are instead things we are required to labor for? Why are they withheld to the point of starvation, homelessness, and maybe freezing to death in an alley, if we haven't the means to procure them?

I say, fuck this economy, fuck this system. It's no good for us. We can do better. Go outside and plant a garden. Dig up that useless lawn. This is the most revolutionary thing you can do. The energy of life is meant to be free, ask any plant. Ask any animal for that matter. A cat does no work, it just walks around until it finds a mouse (and sleeps the rest of the time). A crow does no work, it just flies around until it finds a corpse. A cow does no work, just puts it's head down and eats. Only man... no, only civilized man must toil for his food, which he himself has locked away from himself. And it has been locked up, since the first chieftain built a silo to hold his tribesmen's grain and realized the power this gave him.

I'm not telling you to go out and stone your grocery store manager, or to rampage with pitchforks and torches against the president, the Congress, the bankers, or any of that. No; I'm saying plant a garden. I'm saying collect rainwater or dig a well. I'm saying buy used clothing, or make your own, trade for it where you can, leave the money society at every chance. Don't use more natural gas for your home heating, put on a sweater. Bike, don't drive; better yet, walk. Wean yourself away from this inhuman system. I'm not urging this over global warming, or corporate greed, or any of that. Those are effects, not causes. Mainly I'm talking about mitigating the looming disaster. When the system falls, will we have another ready to turn to?

You say gardening is still work? Yes, agriculture requires some labor input. But you're laboring anyways, why not be working at something worthwhile, sustainable, out under the open sky, and under your own control. Why should grain prices in Mexico affect your grocery bill? Why should cotton prices in Asia mean you pay more for a shirt? Why should a people's revolt in Nigeria or a war in Palestine mean it costs more for you to get to work? Grow your own food, live your own life, local scale, human scale. It's empowering. There's a reason the sickle was one of the symbols of communism, screwed up as the Soviet system became, or was from the start.

Let our symbol be the shovel up-raised. Let us build our communities, based on friendliness and sustainability, not money and the cancer of the growth economy. All your cucumbers came ripe at the same time? Eat what you can, pickle a bunch, and give away the rest to your neighbors. Let our revolution be the only meaningful one this world has ever seen: out of the soul-sucking economy based on things and towards a culture and lifestyle based on benefiting people.

This is our only safety net as the collapse rushes towards us. We must stop chasing after the wind in the form of Ipods, hi-def TVs, sports cars, 4000 sqft homes, and designer clothes. We must stop listening to the news, to the politicians, to the fear-mongers that pervade our lives. Terrorism is not the threat. The crumbling economy is not the threat. We are the threat, we are the problem; but because of that, we can be the solution. But not in the same old "solutions" of the past. We are here, at this time in history, and we are here to do something truly new. It begins with your garden.


  1. What if you don't have a patch of land to call your own? What if you're one of the people who sleeps AND freezes in an alley?

    This idea of allowing or working to aid societal collapse sounds good solely on a theoretical level. In real terms, however, it means severe human misery and stress on Mother Earth.

    While I hate this rotten system as much as the next person, a total collapse means staggering amounts of hunger, poverty, homelessness, disease, pain and slow death for the vast majority of beings in this world.

  2. Well, my cats have found someone who will feed them Purina Cat Chow and Fancy Feast. And make them soft beds. They do vermin search-and-destroy in return.

    I tried the alternative life. Splitting wood for the stove, managing a big garden (that has since been plowed over by strip miners), living very frugal and cheap. The only way that works if if you have a lot of kids to help with the work and neighbors that are on the same page. And you give up your mind. (When you're raising a bunch of kids and harvesting and pickling and weaving, you don't have a lot of time to think.)

    But believe me, when you've lived like a peasant, all you want to do is not do it.

    Look for a Chinese documentary film called "Umbrella."

    The bottom line is that there are just too many of us.

    But you are a very bright young man. And that gives me hope.

  3. RT, you make good points. I will say I'm not specifically trying to hasten the collapse, just to work towards getting out from under it. I believe it is coming one way or another, and we'd better start thinking and acting differently. And, I don't own land either. But it's something to work towards. Anyways you can live altertatives to capitalist, consumerist american individualism in the cities. It's more about a shift in mindset than anything. And we should still help out the guy in the alley too. That's what my communal vision is all about; not having people falling off the edge uncared for.

    Baroness, you have a point. I personally picture a more communal sort of thing, rather than the purely indiviudal survivalist alone in the mountains, but the beauty is, this shift into alternative lifestyles can take on as many forms as there are people/communities who do it. It's a big experiment, where we can develop local and regional solutions that fit our time, place, and spirit. What works in Arizona among the Catholic Hispanics may not be what the black Baptists can do in Mississippi or the ever practical New Englanders do up in Maine.

    Thinking about this gives me hope, anyways. It's a bright spot. The whole Sustainability movement enthralls me, because it's practical solutions, not moral hand wringing.