I know two parties who picked up and moved to the wild, off-grid, in survival mode. One of them for ten years. He told me it was very hard work, and they (he was married at the time) missed being in town with other people.
The other person was, and still is, in partnership with another party, who owns the land. My friend, however, ended up doing the backbreaking work of getting a self-sufficient back-to-the-land homestead going, largely by himself. He’s never forgiven the other party.
Closer to home, I have always wondered why IU students in our Green Acres Neighborhood seem to move to a new rental house each year. I found out recently that usually, it’s because of roommate issues! Well, duh!
Obviously, the main difficulty we face is how to get along. It’s as if we’re all snot-nosed kids standing around on the playground in a chill wind at recess and we still, can you believe? —pretend we need a referee.
If we can learn how to get along, then all the rest is gravy. If we can actually dare to let go of what does not matter and descend into full-on expression of our beautiful unique natures, gifting each other with the freedom and room to do the same, and if we can, in the meantime, TRUST that there are plenty of other beautiful souls around this globe who are doing the exact same thing, alone and together, letting out all the stops, unfolding into their full beautiful original selves in an expanding, quickening atmosphere of love and joy .
As we do this, the atmosphere brightens, trembles; our fading, end-game predatory capitalist civilization fragments, disintegrates into the bright light of the Sun itself, and then re-emerges, in new form, mysteriously self-organizing in a manner that none of us, no matter how savvy or occult or scientific, can predict.
Exactly as comet ISON seems to have done. Pay attention to the symbolism of this synchronicity.
Nature is way bigger, and smarter than we are.
November 29, 2013
by Ran Prieur
Recently I’ve had a few reader comments about how I gave up on the homesteading thing. Here’s how I explained it in one email:
“I learned by actually trying it how hard it is. And I noticed that people I knew who had gone back to the land in small groups were unhappy compared to people in the city. In practice, most back-to-the-landers end up being little developers, or remote suburbanites. They still drive into town for food and supplies, they have to drive much farther, they cut down a lot of trees, and the only advantage is a better view.”
There are several reasons people want to go “back to the land”: 1) They hate the city because they have a low tolerance for chaos. But wild nature has even more chaos! 2) They imagine that rural people will do better in a collapse. But historically urban people have done better, because cities densely concentrate skills, items, and economic opportunities. 3) They overestimate their introversion, and how happy and sane they can be in prolonged isolation. 4) They feel, correctly, that rural self-sufficiency will make their life more meaningful. But this is a young person’s problem and a young person’s solution: to trade massive physical labor for meaning. Older people have less energy, and more ability to create their own meaning, or to find it in more subtle things.
5) They feel, correctly, that human civilization is a big pile of mistakes. But it doesn’t follow that trying to get physically outside it is a good move — especially not for humans. We’re an adaptable species, and adaptable nonhumans like crows and grey squirrels are thriving in human settlements. I think the best move is to stay physically close to the center, but mentally on the fringes. Or as the ancient Christians said, “in the world but not of it.”