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December 22, 2009

Why I'm moving into a yurt in the woods in the middle of winter - a Manifesto


Hello Friends, Devoted Readers and Fellow Journeyers,

I started this post because I wanted to share something with you - a brilliant manifesto I found and photographed whilst doing my business in a bathroom in Ireland. But I wanted to give some sort of introduction, or hello, or something personal. And that something turned into a manifesto of itself. So catch this rare glimpse into my life and thoughts beyond the world of music, and you will see why I won't be posting again for a while. I hope you mull the thoughts over for a while and leave some comments to add to the discussion. Happy Solstice!

Tomorrow I'll to be moving to the edge of a woodland and into a yurt which will be my dwelling-place for the next 6 months. I’m going to be working on the land: clearing rhododendrons and brambles, chopping wood, creating low-impact buildings (a tree-bog compost toilet for starters!). The first few weeks, I will be fully over my head just trying to attend to basic things like keeping myself warm, dry, and fed. But ultimately the work I will be doing will lead towards something much greater than myself. I am planting the seeds of a dream that's been brewing for over a decade, which I've recently been drawn into. As I begin this work, I will be plunging into a prolonged disconnection from computers, amplified music, etc. for 40 days or so, in order to aid my reconnecting process with the quiet and luminous world of the winter forest.

The funny thing is, I don't know anything about what I'm doing. And yet, I'm doing it.

And, speaking of planting, a month ago at Samhain time, I planted some rice, and put my dreams and desires for the coming year into them. This is scary. I've never planted anything in my whole life. Sure, I've watered plants that had already sprouted, pulled thousands of ‘weeds’, spread compost and diligently plucked the yellowing leaves from my room's resident spider-plant. But they all came into being through someone else's aid. Now, for the first time in my life, I take responsibility for the life of another being. With these few dozen kernels, I commit to ushering a life into the world, and providing it with the environment it needs to flourish.

And as I nourish these seeds, I nourish myself. I am these seeds just as I am the compost in which they are planted, just as I am the water that courses over them. Their desire to grow tall is my desire to become myself. If they flower, with them will flower my dreams. According to all available information, rice cannot grow in Ireland. It's too cold here. Not enough sun. No one has ever done it before. Likewise, the tackling the challenges of climate change, the economy, the huge degree of inequity among the world's peoples, a spiritually ailing society mired in the dredges of an unfulfilled post-consumerist malaise, and finding a meaningful and personally fulfilling role to play in transforming the aforementioned headache-inducing mess, seems rather impossible too. But so many things that we now take for granted - flight, instant communication, moving pictures, etc. - were once deemed impossible. What brought them into being was a dream, diligently nourished and acted upon. If we can create dream into being such complex and multifaceted problems for ourselves (every element of which came about as a solution to some other problem, mind you), then we can dream into being a more sane, fulfilling, and sustainable way to approach our stay on this planet.

And if there is to be a change, a real (r)evolution in the way we operate as individuals, as a culture and a species, it will not come as a result of government-directed actions. We have seen the failure in Copenhagen, and though distressing, I know it could not have been any other way. It is as much a failure for our current political system as it is for the ailing environment. It would be easy to criticize Obama for his obvious posturing and unwillingness to do anything of value, and his covert loyalty to the military-industrial complex, but once again I know it could not have been any other way. Ultimately, our politicians are a reflection of ourselves. The only power they have is the power we have given them; they are corrupted by the corporations which was continue to fund. How can we expect them to reform when we are unwilling to reform our own lifestyles? They will only change when we take back our power and initiate the changes ourselves. But how? The mounting crises are so vast! How will we change in time?

It just occurred to me that the whole drama of the banking collapse is a reflection of our relationship with nature. We have been borrowing, and borrowing, and borrowing her resources, and continually putting off the payback. In the olde dayes, if a people cut down their forest, polluted their water, or over-hunted the animals, inevitably the floods and droughts and poisonings and scarcities that followed would wipe them out or drove them away. Natural consequence. Nature foreclosed on their property. Then, since the land couldn’t support people, no one would settle there for a while and the land would have a chance to rejuvenate, and build up its resources again.

But we’ve created such a hall of mirrors now. What happens in one part of the world affects another part, so that with advanced technology and abundant oil, we’ve been able to delay the natural consequences. And they’ve been snowballing behind us as we run, and they’re catching up in the form of ‘natural’ disasters and unprecedented changes in the elements. We bailed out the banks because we weren’t ready to wake up yet. At Copenhagen we bailed out the polluters, for the same reason. No one has asked “Why are we giving money to the banks in the hope that they’ll lend to us again?” or “Why are we still supporting an economic system which is vastly unjust, unsustainable, disempowering, and if left to its own devices will destroy us in the name of never-ending exploitative ‘growth’?” Or, rather, no one is listening to those questions and finding the courage to answer them. Is this denial rooted in the fabric of our cultural world-view and spirituality? Do we favor denial by nature or does it come because we are unwilling to face our own shadows, because we are afraid to see death as a natural part of the rhythm of life?

I do not believe humans are inherently destructive or bad for the environment. There have been cultures who maintained the ecosystem which housed them so well, and kept it in such perfect balance, that when these people were moved out or killed, the landscape fell to ruin as well. And the power of human creativity and love can surmount any obstacle. It must be stressed that the situation we're in came about not from some evil person's ill-intentions, but from a great many life-styles that were conducted without a sense of the greater picture. The current situation we have is not wrong, it's just out-of-balance. Vastly out-of-balance. We can re-balance it. But we have been conditioned to believe that we are powerless. We have complicitly given away our power away in exchange for a kind of comfort and stability. We have sacrificed our freedom without even knowing it. And in exchange we have been given a god named Convenience, to whom we sacrifice many more things. But we have made the situation from which we now suffer, and complicated as it is, we can unmake it. Because you and I can change, this community and civilization can change. But how?

Change begins in the hearts and minds of people; healing and growth come from within. Change begins with one person deciding to take responsibility for their own life, deciding to live neither as a victim nor as an agent of violence. Change begins when one person overcomes the barrier of social awkwardness and starts a conversation with someone they don't know about things that matter to them. Change begins when one person decides to love themselves, and proceeds to spread that love to those around them. Change begins when one person decides to leap into the frigid and bottomless waters of the unknown and pursue a dream which by any reasonable estimation is absurdly, outrageously impossible. Change begins when one person remembers how immensely beautiful, powerful and great they are, and decides to embody and radiate that greatness. Change begins when one person picks up a spade and turns their green pointless grassy lawn (or better yet - roof!) into a budding vegetable garden. Change begins when one person gives thanks for the rain that falls, the food that grows, and the billion rats and ants and plants and people who clean up our messes. Change begins when one person, who has been academically educated to the point of paralysis gets up off their arse and actually does something! Change begins when we let a child be a child and discover for their self who they are in this world. Change begins when we allow that same magnificent freedom to our own starry-eyed and beaming inner being. Change is the most natural process of life. It will happen whether we want it or not. But right now, we still have the power to choose how it will come.

One the few social or environmental movements I think is actually on the right path is the Transition movement. It is community-powered, viral, and dynamic. It tackles a number of challenges (peak-oil, climate-change, turbulent economy...) with a multifaceted and evolving solution based on building local resilience and taking advantage of everyone’s unique and different skills. It essentially takes a permaculture approach to creating community, and a ‘be the change’ approach to the global crises. It is a brilliant initiative and spreading like wildfire. But it is a social and material solution to a social and material problem, and our culture is also ailing spiritually.

The system which has fostered the climate crisis is the same system which has bankrupted the social and spiritual health of our society. It is founded on a materialistic worldview, and has fostered a cult of the individual ego. Our whole educational system is founded on this materialistic worldview and ego-worship. It has systematically stripped the mystery and greatness of ourselves as it has stripped the Earth of the diamonds in her shadows. In its glorification of rationality and the 5 gross senses it has denied the magical and powerful world of the soul and the subtle senses. This has in turn produced a gaping hole in people’s psyches, which is most often filled by over-consumption of goods, over-dependence on words, and sensory overstimulation (I’m not sure which among the 3 is the most damaging). Community was sacrificed to the cult of the personality, and the personality was glorified through goods, words, and sensory artifacts. We have made gods of ourselves, but only on the outside. Still, we are parched for the healing waters of the soul. Poetry is the healing of words. Art and music the healing of the eyes and ears. Exercise and gentle touch the healing of the body. But the greatest and most neglected healer of all is Nature. She is here, waiting, always willing to give, but we hardly take notice. We search so far and wide for happiness and healing, but so often we search in vain.

Happiness is not an ends to be achieved, but a means to be chosen. It comes from within. And, like Love, it is a choice always present. And Love is the most powerful currency for transformation that exists. By loving myself, my wounds will heal. By loving the people around me, community will be born. By loving the great Mother that gives and sustains life, by whose fruits we are nourished and upon whom we rest at night, the rift that has grown between us will close and we will find the way back into balance with her. With Love, balanced by Wisdom and Power, anything is possible.

I am not talking about hope. I don’t believe in hope.

In the hope for salvation, suffering is perpetuated. Hope is the band-aid over the festering wound of the future that will come if we don’t attend to the present. When we hope for anything outside us to solve our problems, we give ourselves the paralyzing excuse to sit back and do nothing. When we expect politicians, gurus, international humanitarian organizations, etc. to provide the answers and changes we need, we give away our power, agency and will, and become passive spectators to a match that we will lose for never having acted in. We need warriors; we need people who refuse to sit idly by while the things they love are laid to waste around them. The comfort zones we dwell within are being stripped away and reality is knocking at the door. It is as though we are on a ship, and half the people are running around, trading suits and dusting shelves and putting on makeup and the other half are trying to get everyone on the ship to be counted as equals in the eyes of the captain, or trying to turn the stirring wheel by a democratic process, or just criticizing everything, and meanwhile the whole ship is sinking. The time for denial and procrastination is over. A choice is before us: act or perish.

But one must not rush into action too soon. There is a great abundance of action right now, working at cross-purposes. Activists bumping heads.

It must be remembered that the whole situation of the planet right now, our great collection of crises and catastrophes, is the result of our well-intentioned actions, most of them seen to be solutions at the time. Short-sighted, perhaps, and human-centric certainly. But solutions nonetheless. Actions alone are not enough. We need vision: long-seeing, deep-reaching visions. We need dreams.

When action is not guided by the orchestrating vision of a true dream, the result is cacophony - a dissonance of wasted energy - and the solutions are short-sighted and shallow. When action is motivated by a sense of obligation or guilt, it creates a resentment which slowly and silently unravels all that the worker has sewn. But when action is motivated by inspiration and an authentic desire to give service, in whatever way we are called to and suited for - , then, then it will create an unstoppable, divinely-guided change in the world. The most efficient and effective person is the person who is following their heart’s calling. And the most intelligent person is the one who can hear not only their own mind, but also the intelligence of their soul, and those at work in nature. The heart is an organ of perception, a center of intuition and a powerhouse of inspiration. But so many people have denied their hearts for so long, that they can no longer hear the call.

And that, dear friends, is why I’m moving into a yurt at the edge of the woods. I’m not running away from society and community, I’m running towards a more ancient form of community. I’m following the call of my heart. I’m going to plunge into the silence and stillness of the winter woods, and perhaps I’ll discover something that I couldn’t hear before. I’m very excited about the growth that may take place, the wildness that may sprout in me. The paintings that will come, and the music without source. I know there may be times when I’m wet or cold or lonely or exhausted, but I know that since I won’t be able to run away from myself, these experiences will make me stronger.

But I’m not just doing this for my own personal growth. I’m doing it because I feel that I have a part to play in the unfoldment of a dream. I want to build a place that inspires people, opens them up to the magic of life and nature all around them, and educates in the true sense of the word - to 'draw out from within'. And I’m following the advice ancient Chinese words of proverb “If you are thinking a year ahead, sow seed. If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. By sowing a seed, you will harvest once. By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold. By educating the people, you will harvest hundredfold.” And I’m also acting on the notion that trees are at the heart the solution to climate change, and that forests provide the best economy, and that forest farming is the most efficient known form of land management. And of course because trees are some of the wisest, friendliest people I’ve ever met, and I have a lot to learn from them.

The days are short now, and the nights are long. The sharp cold of winter draws us inside. The trees stand naked before us, and the mountains go to sleep. Now is the time for dreaming. Now is the time for clearing the fields of your heart and mind, allowing the untold stories to surface and the expired stories to find completion. In the great silence of the warm and infinite darkness within you, the murmurs of your heart can be heard. In this, the darkest time of the year, may you find a home in the ancient darkness within you, the domain of infinite unborn potential, and plant therein your seed of light.

Reality is created by dreams put into action. Go forth, you blessed warriors of tomorrow, dream your dreams and create!

You are all mighty beings, do not forget.

And, without further ado, here’s the manifesto that started this fantastic rant:

The Gaia Enlightenment: A Manifesto

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Pirate! And thanks for the inspiring words (and music).

psb said...

good stuff! and thanks for the great bathroom reading material.

I recommend this author's blog:

ranprieur.com

check him out sometime. meanwhile, say hello to the bugs and birds for me.

oberon said...

I have found courage and wisdom many times in my life in a verse from "King Lear" that I would like to share with you - so perhaps this could stand as your guide and your comfort during those cold, lonely nights ahead:

"Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old customs make this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court!

Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winters wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.

Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

I would not change it".

William Shakespeare

Happy Solstice, brother!

ob

Ernst said...

Have fun out there and try not to die!

Anonymous said...

Very best wishes for your journey pirate....come back safe with the story...thank you for some special music and writing...dave

gadaya said...

Hello Pirate, i know now that we share more than musical tastes because i agree with everything you wrote and share the same dreams even if mine are influenced and colored by my own roots and cultural world (a mix of oriental jewish and celtic christian roots with my body in France but my mind somewhere in the appalachian mountains).
Good luck to you...
P.S:Did you bring any musical instruments to entertain yourself during the long winter evenings?

Bernie Stocks said...

Good luck!

Ed said...

Best wishes in your endeavor, Pirate. We share more than just a passion for good music, my friend. I took the Old Blue Bus off the road when I moved to my homestead. We grow a major portion of our own food and brew our beer from homegrown grains, herbs and hops. We raise goats, chickens, ducks, and guinea fowl and barter those for fresh beef and pork. It is a lot of hard work, but it is the most satisfying job I've ever had. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

You're inspiring, Pirate. Truly the Wizard you say you are. Thank you for your moving and though-provoking Manifesto. I'm still re-reading and reflecting on your words and have passed them on to other creatures searching for solutions. In a world of Facebook and Twitter it's reassuring to know there are still Wizards writing truly profound Manifestos ......... Can't wait until you're back on your blog and passing along your thoughts from the quiet woods. Best wishes! Jan from New Mexico, USA

Anonymous said...

Hi from Cy
I don't know you.....but I wish you well.....know that: when making a change......make it a big one, then and only then will you notice a difference......
The old adage of "burning ones boats" rings true.....when there is no way back then there is only forward.......
Living in the first decade of the New Millenium for many has turned out to be like the 'Firesign Theatre Company' album title: "How can you be in two places at once and be nowhere at all".....in the last 50 years, everything has sped up so fast.....Anthony Newley sang way back then, "Stop the World I Want To Get Off".......well Pirate, you are just about to DO THAT.....

Everything is only a moment away. Be fearless as you embark on your journey towards a land where a wrist watch ceases to be useful. Be truthful to your beliefs that all things are connected.....make your connection through 'Being Real' and all the rest will follow as there has to come a time when a candle flame will become as a raging fire to clear away the crap and may you in your yurt sit 'content' awaiting the future cleansing rains of CHANGE.

Respect from Scotland
Cy in Pck.

ps I have been occasional visitor to your music blog and thanks for posting such 'essential' listens.

Delta-Slider said...

Hmmm, 40 days in a yurt w/out the internet, are you sure this isn’t a reality show? I joke.
But I disagree with a lot of what you have to say. I’m serious.
Although I agree with you about borrowing against the planet, the root of political power and you really nailed it on “Hope”.
And we may be able to agree that our society is mired in stagnation, and we all know that leads to rotting.
I believe the answer is more technology, not less. Let’s at least be realistic here, we can’t go backward, it isn’t in human nature, we must go forward. We can’t do one and we aren’t doing the other. I think humanity has outgrown the planet, and therein lies a great deal of the problem(s), there’s little left to explore. Man thrives on exploration and the unknown. Look at what you have just written and how jazzed you are to step into the unknown. Space travel is the solution. It’ll force new technology, new thought processes and resourcefulness like never before. As you mentioned, comfort and stability are a sort of enemy to progress. And think of the new thought process that will be needed to survive on other planets, it will create a new culture. How’s that for real (r)evolution?
Well anyway, hope the disagreement isn’t taken personally, just my view of the world. I admire your spirit of adventure and wish you the best of luck, I’m sure it will be a fulfilling journey.

Anonymous said...

have you read Thoreau's "Walden"?

The Irate Pirate said...

thanks everybody, for the encouraging words.

yes, i've read walden. classic! you know who else read it? ghandi. yeah. i think thoreau really understood the concept "you cannot protest something if you're continuing to give it your money (implicit support)"

hm... interesting thoughts on space-travel. would you believe that I have with me a space- and time-traveling machine right now? and it fits entirely within the privacy of my own mind, and it isn't even fossil-fuel dependent! it's the imagination - the finest vessel for sea- or space-faring of any sort!

on serious consideration though, i would say this. space travel has done wonderful things. ever since the first pictures of the earth came back there's been a growing sense of "we are one", a global-identity consciousness, and a realization of how fragile our little blue planet is. observations of the galaxies, nebulae and whatnot have produced similar awakenings regarding our origins.

but for the present crises, considering the amount of time and energy that space travel takes, we'd probably be out of oil and 10ft under the sea by the time a spaceship got back to us with news of life on other planets. and considering the cost, it would only be able to benefit the richest classes of people.

and what good would another planet be if we haven't learned to live in balance on this one?

as for incentive - the forcing of new technology, perspectives, and resourcefulness - how 'bout this: all the 'natural disasters' that are happening right now - floods, droughts, hurricanes - are happening as a result of our short-sighted and greedy practices, and we're systematically cutting off the life-support systems on the planet. it's too late for a merely conservational approach to work; we have to find new, sustainable, and creative solutions to a vast array of problems, fixing what we've previously done while at the same time adapting to live in a changing world. that's the most inspiring and challenging task we have as a people, and we can't leave it to the authorities to solve the problems. every person has to find ways to address those issues in their own life and in their own community.

The Irate Pirate said...

and i hope i'm not mistaken. i'm not advocating a return to some real or imagined past. that's impossible and undesirable. what i'm saying is that we need to learn from the past. cultures who abused their environment got wiped out by it. the fact is, until the past few hundred years, each generation gave the next one a better earth to live upon. and the fact that we're alive means that they were doing something right, and that something is worth considering if we want our children and theirs to survive and inherit a better world than we have. intellectually and culturally, of course, we have grown with leaps and bounds compared to previous generations. but those advances must come into balance with our sense of stewardship of the land and with the community of nature.

and i'm not saying we have to subvert ourselves to nature or destroy technology or anything. i just think it's important to recognize that we're out of balance - vastly out of balance, and we need to seek this balance again. and again, i don't hate technology. my wind-up lantern will serve me very well i think. and the axe is a fine piece of technology; the rope too. computers are amazing things, though our current reliance on them has perhaps gone out-of-balance too. and certain technological developments, like those in the field of biomimicry, are incredible. but by and large, we have all the technology we need (and then some). it's a matter of using it from a different perspective, and towards a different end - in other words, it's people's minds that need to progress, not their tools.

(plus, honestly, it's a lot more fun and fulfilling being out with the trees and birds and dirt than it is sitting at a computer anyway...)

((and of course, though i argue your point, you still have my friendship and comraderie in the blogworld, delta-slider.))

oh, and in case you're wondering why i'm not gone yet... the recent cold spell here has left the roads full of ice and un-travelable. soon though...

stooben said...

You always yurt the one you love, the one you shouldn't yurt at all.

Anonymous said...

What an inspirational mission. Go for it, and good luck. I think you've planted seeds here big time. -- Murf

Anonymous said...

Jesus fucking christ. What is needed is a political revolution to overthrow the rulers and their hangers on.

Or let me put it another way:

If everyone on the planet went and lived in a yurt to save the planet, we'd have a bona-fide situation of mass self-genocide of a species.

Or, to break that down: without modern industry, our population would have trouble pushing 1 billion.

Those other 5 billion might have something to say about that.

On top of that, there's a certain revolting self-indulgent racism in "back to nature, simple life" middle class white westerners. You know what most people in the 3rd world want? More fucking commodities. And I'm with them.

So rather than this tree hugging hippie crap, we should agitate for forceful political change.

A violent proletarian revolution. But then, you probably think the working class is part of the problem; most individualistic shits do.

Oh, and of course you can bloody well protest something while spending money on it. I protest the domination of the world's food supply by a handful of multinationals, but I really have no intention of starving myself. And I can't bloody afford organic locally produced crap. It costs twice as much and I'm struggling.

Fucking middle classes.

(oh, and space travel sounds good, but after the revolution, k?)

Anonymous said...

And no, I don't feel like being polite and constructive. Good manners and insipid liberalism are the problem. What we need is more hate and anger (only of a lower class variety).

Oh, and for that matter, this is exactly what is wrong with the folk movement. I love folk music, don't get me wrong, but white middle class do-gooders will be the death of us all.

Tim said...

What we do need are new approaches to the challenges we are facing - not more of that same stale ideology which didn't work for the first time.
You're right of course: if everyone became a hermit, our society would collapse. As it would if people did any other thing all at the same time. Diversity is the key to a better future, not egalitarianism.

johnny moeller said...

good luck!!! great blog, i bet it will be even more interesting when you get back!! thanks again for your inspiring words and good luck......

Ramon Abeyta said...

Hey Anonymous,

I don't think irate pirate is advocating for every person on the planet to go and live in a yurt. He is only doing this for 6 months himself. It seems more like a lifestyle experiment than a political act to me.
There isn't just one way to live. If somebody has the gumption to go live in the woods, why knock it? We are lucky to have that freedom.

Furthermore, the guy obviously is not against modern industry/technology. He writes a god damn internet blog. Does that mean there is nothing about it to criticize? You know, I love my friends but that doesn't mean they don't annoy me now and then so that I want to get away from them for a little while.

You say, "there's a certain revolting self-indulgent racism in 'back to nature, simple life' middle class white westerners. You know what most people in the 3rd world want? More fucking commodities. And I'm with them."

That's a pretty aggressive thing to say, but I find it unconvincing. Though the second part of your statement actually sort of underscores the situation: here we all are with cellphones and ipods when there are people in other countries dying of thirst. Why shouldn't that make you want to simplify your own life a little? Also, the sustainability movement is not limited to white middle class people, neither is it about living in the remote wilderness. Small farms and gardens are cropping up in the inner city. Racially diverse, urban children are spending their spare time planting things and working in greenhouses instead of watching TV. That's pretty great. I am seeing these things in action.

Also, I would be very surprised if irate pirate is some privileged white guy who bought up some private land to go live on indulgently. None of us know the details of pirate's situation, but from his description it sounds like some kind of work/trade arrangement where labor is exchanged for lodging. Doesn't sound like a very 'white middle class' thing to do, at least not to me. All the white middle class people I grew up around now live in condos and pat themselves on the back for shopping at whole foods, an "ethical" supermarket, even though they drive around in SUVs. And selling work or goods isn't an inherently western capitalist act. People did that in ancient Egypt.

I don't know if he is white or middle class, but regardless, why should it be so disgusting to settle for less than what maybe your parents did and not repeat the typical middle-class behaviors that you find objectionable, materialistic, and unnecessary? After all, isn't it the wealthy, mainstream, middle-class population that is responsible for the materialism creating so many problems? You can blame leaders all you want, but you have to blame the culture as well. Our leaders are products of our culture, not the other way around. I think we need to put pressure on the political powers that be, especially the corporate elite, but we also need to look at our own ways of living. Examining how you live and making changes is a progressive thing to do. You call for violent revolution, but are you actually doing anything to organize that? It's a cute little fantasy, but come on now, is that a realistic goal, really? Reconsidering western materialism is something anyone can take part in, in their own small way.

By the way, I don't know how you can talk about getting "3rd world" people more "commodities" when most don't even have safe drinking water. Maybe they would if it weren't for our imperialist factories seizing their watersheds and polluting their ecosystems. In Nigeria it costs more to buy water than Coca-cola. There's your commodity.

Alexandre said...

Bravo! Great text, great manifesto.
I see, it's completelly sincere your words. Luck you'll might find on your path that is one between an infinite number of paths.
In getting touch with nature we get in touch with reality and, as you said, we are not powerless, that is the ultimate truth.
boa sorte!

Biggles said...

Yaaawwwwwwn.

R.B. Glennie said...

thanks for this info.

If I had time, I would compose a very massive rebuttal of everything, pretty much, you had to say here.

Let's just say this.

Romanticism - for you are a Romantic, not a Pirate - is the affectation of the well-off, the sheltered and the willfully ignorant.

To go live in a yurt for six months, that is your choice and no one cares, really, if you do.

That is the choice given to you by the society you condemn as `spiritually sick.'

It is no surprise, really, that you idolize Thoreau.

All can say about him is that, in 1841 or whenever it was he went to Walden Pond, David Thoreau could have - if he really wanted to rid himself of civilization - go to a place that was much further than one mile from the town he lived - namely the midWest and the American West - which was thousands of miles from the civilization he claimed to despise, and really live unmolested by the demands of his fellow men and women.

Instead, he did as I said chose to live one mile away from civilization - a safe enough distance such that if thoreau really got into trouble in the `wilderness' he occupied, he could quickly scamper back to civilization - again, the one he despised so much and the one you consider `spiritually sick.'

Thoreau reminds me of a teenager who, sick of his parents and their stupid rules, pretends to run away from home, who while going out the door, continues to proclaim, `I'm going now, I'm on my way out the door, I wont be back...'

With that said, I believe in personal freedom, so Pirate, good luck on your adventure.

I think you will learn something; but it will be at variance to your grand proclamation.

Ernst said...

so you are back? to clear up your confusion, i am going to semi-retire from blogging, i still have a load to drop off, but i just want to keep everything very intimate from now on. I just stay for my loyal readers who wouldn't wanna see me go just like that.
Anyways i was going to recommend this book to you, but i didn't manage before you left.
hope that link works

http://books.google.de/books?id=-EoLAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=henry+d+thoreau&source=bl&ots=HKtgcQ2Ecu&sig=-m4mHUScZa7kiRDgWFsEIaninEI&hl=de&ei=T6ebS7aEBJi5_QbR2_X7CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CA8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=henry%20d%20thoreau&f=false

later

Ernst said...

oh well i just read through the comments, nevermind that book it's "Walden".

peace

The Irate Pirate said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. It's particularly interesting to read anonymous's foaming-up-the-mouth attack and Ramon Abeyta's insightful rebuttal. I don't mind the angry tone of anonymous, but he seems to be trying to argue against my points by insulting some image of me as a middle-class privileged person, while Ramon's actually managed to describe the sort of person I actually am with surprising accuracy.

And Tim, you're very right. Diversity is the key, but not diversity as merely expressed by difference - if you observe a forest (and I have spent a couple months doing just that) you see that there is tremendous diversity and complexity, but it is also tremendously well-ordered, with very definite intentionality.

R.B. Glennie, I appreciate your comments, and that while critical you actually stuck to the ideas rather than ad-hominem-ing all over the place like anonymous. And I don't idolize Thoreau at all. I think he had an intelligent response to the circumstances he found himself in, and conducted an experiment and drew out some valuable insights from it and shared them in writing. He may not have been a purist or an extremist in the 'into the wild' sense, but don't forget that his stated reason for moving to Walden pond was "To conduct some private enterprise". And his little experiment was very influential. Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela: all of them were affected by it. But then, what did they ever do?

And your blog is fascinating and very well researched, but I can't help but get the feeling that in focussing so much on labor, government, economics, etc., you are only seeing one facet of the condition of humanity, and it's the same facet that the capitalistic system as a whole sees. And I would recommend to you a quote by Albert Einstein:
"One cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it."

Now I was raised on labor ethics - People's History of the US and Utah Phillips and the like, and so I very much understand where you're coming from. And from your perspective, everything you say makes sense and is true. But the world is a collection of differing perspectives and realities, and the materialistic one is not the only one, though it seems most prevalent right now. I believe if one was to combine the perspective and insight that you have with a number of other intelligent approaches from non-materialistic perspectives, one could come up with something pretty great. And that's one aspect of what I'm trying to do, though not so apparent in the current discourse. So thanks for your comments/blog

The Irate Pirate said...

oh, and you've been reading my blog for how long now, and you only now realized i'm a romantic? ;-)