As long as we cannot meet our own needs and ‘need’ a certain quality of life that only extractive systems can deliver, much of our lives will ultimately go, no matter what political opinions we express, to feed the industrial growth machine just so we can live.
That machine may occasionally reward some of us with small reforms and concessions, but it cannot defy its purpose: to protect and concentrate wealth for a few. As it finds more ways of existing without us (e.g. automation), it will eventually choose those ways rather than give power and wealth back to people.
In our lives we always have tremendous power to be healers to the land and people around us and this is vital, precious, and needed always. We can live lives of great love, healing, and regeneration no matter who we are; the grocery store is full of saints and miracles; but if we want to talk seriously about slowing the big machine, we need to talk about how powerless we really are unless we can live without it.
When we can learn to court the land for the impossible gift of abundant food; when we can create our own shelter from the grove we keep healthy for future generations; when we can entertain ourselves without digital media; when we can heal our bodies and spirits from the plants; when we can travel by horse and bicycle and gather our families and friends around us in a village; when we can live with so little power that Duke Energy will not have any customers to buy its coal – these are the places the power to resist the industrial growth system comes from.
If we cannot meet our needs, we can only beg the institutions which are the codified algorithms of our reified self-perpetuating fears to be a little less horrible. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won’t. Meanwhile we’re stuck asking congresspeople to even begin to care about the smallest version of our most compromised dreams.
Better to start learning to beg the land for food. Better to stand outside the office of the soil humbly practicing your best arguments as to why you need the land to please hear your very legitimate need to live.
What if 100,000 activists sang a honey-tongued petition to the land right beneath their feet to please help them live without relying on the bulldozers, mountaintop removers, nuclear reactors, child laborers they never see but certainly somewhere inside feel?
What if those 100,000 just went on a general strike from the laborious and hazardous daily maintenance of the illusion of separation, instead seeing the people around them as the stubborn flawed and immeasurably alive and potent members of their very own village with whom they will tearfully and screamingly learn to cooperate with no matter what?
What if 100,000 learned herbal and country medicine that weaves people back into the land as it weaves whole their bodies?
What if 100,000 sold their worthless guns that can only ever ultimately create yet more trauma and ghosts and instead bought from a local blacksmith scythes, hoes, broadforks, axes, and saws?
Once the pain of the news is just too great, it is time to stop feeding that system with your life.
There is something holy in the land beneath your feet that wants you to feed it. Do you hear the patience in that wounded scorched soil? We can stop giving our attention to our “feeds” and start feeding our attention to life.
Begin with stillness, and then loving actions of care with the land to meet our common needs; these are the only things that will serve us through the million possible futures and under it all, the welling up joy of an infinite sunrise…