The natural state of mankind in this fallen realm is abject material poverty. Naked you came into this world, and you take nothing with you when you leave. Wealth and prosperity are the exception, not the norm. In recent generations, we have seen the rise of assembly line production on an industrial scale, producing cheap goods for low prices. We have allotted millions of hectares of land dedicated to destructive and subsidized monocrop farming, leading to soil depletion, creating a glut of calorie dense but nutrient poor “food.” The creation of the Interstate Highway system has allowed mass-freight transit by land, no longer limited to the railways. The invention of affordable air-travel on a large scale has allowed for freight by air, where once we were limited to navigable waterways and the highways. For a several “Dollars” you can fill a tank with a couple gallons of fuel, and travel dozens of miles in a 4000lbs metal contraption at 50mph, no horse required, no days worth of walking. There are too many conveniences and luxury’s to mention that our ancestors of even just 300 years ago could not have dreamed of.
But there is a dark-side to this: Lack of appreciation, overconsumption, and a centralization of power and control. It is only the last two or three generations of Western mankind that has, in general, lost the ability to survive minus the conveniences of civilization. How many blue-collar service workers know how to make a fire, or dig a coyote well? How many High School graduates really know where food comes from? The notion that farmers are “dumb hicks” could not be further from reality, to be a successful farmer, you must comprehend a great many aspects of land, air, water, fauna, flora, mechanics, and celestial matters, such as solar cycles. Simple, common knowledge to mankind, like how to forage for edible wild greens, fish and fowl, may be severely lacking in the populace at large. Even the skills required to prepare meals is under attack, with access to fast-food and meal-prep services seeming to explode in recent times. And it only took 70-80 years.
Question: What would you do if tomorrow the credit system collapsed? No card, no online ordering, no gas pump, nothing. No job. No government coming to the rescue. (Not that they will anyway) Would you survive? The danger of a centralized system is vulnerability, to enemies both foreign and domestic.
I admit that I was a participant of “the system” and made extensive use of ultra-convenient Amazon services, a true one stop shop for almost anything. It was just so mightily convenient, pretty much anything I wanted with a few clicks on a screen. No connection to a farmer or shopkeeper, no social interaction, just anonymous delivery of material goods to my domicile. Soulless commerce.
I think that We have forgotten something else: Year round availability of produce is a modern phenomenon. People used to eat seasonally, as what was available would change. The youth of today are used to strawberries, limes, oranges, bananas, pineapples, watermelon, oranges, and 5000 breeds of apple on demand, year round. The flavor might be nonexistent and the nutrients vacant, and the fruit toxic, GMO, and/or irradiated, but it is available. Anecdotally, the last bag of yams I bought from a grocery store rotted within a couple weeks as I forgot that they existed, as one does. Who knows how old they were prior to arriving at my home, yes, but yams and tubers I buy from local farms last for months. Something is wrong, the yams were old, sick, or devoid of enzymes. So is it really cheaper to buy such yucky yams?
Perhaps We may find it advantageous to adjust to living with less, less convenience, less availability of cheap products and food that can barely be classified as food, and focus on quality. When you eat real food, you are not as hungry and can eat less. People are so incredibly wasteful, check yourself. I don’t care about offending your fee fees, I care about your survival, about the community, about Maine. We live in a wasteful society: Eggshells, onion skins, coffee grounds, canned tuna juice, bones and gristle, all very useable for functional purposes. I think of the many times that co-workers or some such would dispose of half their unfinished meal into the trash at lunch, to my horror. Mother may have been most cross had I done such a crime as a child. But we are so used to an overabundance, we no longer appreciate what we have, because we may not know what is is like to be without. We overuse and overeat that mass produced garbage, because the input effort required to acquire it was minimal, as compared to if we had to make it ourselves. We also overeat because the “food” is missing vital nutrients. My experience has been enlightening as I bake bread, age cheese, make tinctures, and boil my own stock for soup. But it is also more fulfilling, I appreciate the products more.
One may find it prudent to learn how to make the things we like, enjoy or need. It is getting pretty late in the timestream, but perhaps You could have the goal of living like the world outside your community is unavailable. Pretend that credit card does not exist, and that online shopping is not a thing, but, the farmers stand around the corner sells real food, in your community. Less may be more. When we pull together and trade in our own communities, counties and state, we will see the fruits of gain in the future. Think of it as investment, a local business venture. When you support local artisans, craftsmen and producers you keep that deployed economic energy inside the community, and it will make its way back to you, eventually. Yes, that local grass-fed porterhouse might cost more then you are used to paying for toxic industrial meat, but the long-term benefit will be worth it. Quality over quantity, delayed gratification. We can defund the system. Do you want one marshmallow now, or two marshmallows if you wait? Personally, I have the two marshmallow mentality, but that is me.
-Without Prejudice, T. Jas. J AKA: The Mad Mainer