Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sussing out the Good from the Bad
I've been struggling a bit with a formula to use when identifying the "best of the past," anachronisms that can still be of benefit to us in today's more complicated times.  Maybe even simplify things a bit.
So what I've imagined is a scenario in which todays modern people, with all of our enlightenment, experience (good and bad), and technological refinements, were to meet a stone age society/culture.  What would we try to learn?  What would we try to offer?  Would we present our culture respectfully, as an offering rather than an expectation?  Would we accept the response respectfully, whether for or against what we had to offer?  Would we repeat the mistakes of exposing said people to diseases and germs that they may have no defense against? Would we share our modern medicine in the form of vaccinations and cures?  Would we do so for free? 
Image result for primitive people 
Would we look at their knowledge, skills, and lands as resources to be exploited?  Would we manipulate the people so as to take what we wanted by hook or crook?  Would we rationalize it by calling our approach "progress?"   "Manifest destiny?"  Or their evil little sister, "trickle down economics?" Will we pretend we're doing them a favor, while never asking if they wanted our "help?" Will we play upon their naivete and exploit their resources and "provide them with jobs" while disproportionately benefiting to an obscene degree?  Will they eventually find that they've been left with nothing and actually felt grateful to their abusers until the point that they realized their loss?
 I believe America to be a great country in so many ways, but truthfully this is our history with native or less technologically oriented people, and while I am less familiar with other countries I am pretty sure that our very young nation did not invent the tactics for achieving domination that I've described above.
My blog is about identifying what we would do differently, if faced with the same situation.  What we would do for ourselves, if given another chance?  And once that is clear, identify how we might create the opportunity to have a second chance.

Many times I have been told that I am an idealist (as though that's a negative?), that I have my head in the clouds, that the things that make sense to myself and many others are no longer possible and that I need to accept that "this is how it is.  Get with the 20th Century."  I refuse to accept such arguments in that they are primarily presented by those who profit from how things are and those who are too hopeless to have any credibility on the topic (or any other topic, for that matter). 

Much of what has allowed us to create society and civilization has come from our ability to modify the natural world to be more supportive of us.  Through this we have acquired the leisure time to study how the world works.  Now we know how natural forces are more fragile, complex, and important than we could have realized while grubbing in the dirt in order to simply survive.  Unfortunately, despite our knowledge, and clear evidence that we need to modify our agricultural and industrial practices to preserve a healthy environment for the benefit of all, they have become  seemingly unstoppable juggernauts on a single narrow track.

A return to simple living can help.  Hunting and fishing for your food can put you back in touch with the cycle of life and death, and return you to the time when humanity was actually an integral part of the natural life cycle, rather then persistently (and sometimes violently) trying to set ourselves apart from it.  The concept of self-reliance, once the realm of cuckoo survivalists and the socially backward, can  now be seen as a solution to much of the world's ills.  In future posts I will focus more on ways to increase independence so that we can consume less, waste less, and hopefully, offer more.




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