Friday, May 4, 2012


There are a growing number of people who are considering ways of life that are some how grounded outside of mainstream modern life. Their reasons vary greatly. For some there is an apocalyptic fear that society is going to fail in a brutal way in our lifetimes; this could very well happen for many reasons - climate change, peak energy, peak resource, over population, change of empire regime - but this is not my reason for wishing to leaving mainstream life, if such a disaster happens leaving society (even preemptively) only offers a thin layer of separation from such events.

For others there is a moral imperative to not participate in various "immoral" acts upon which our way of life is built. Simply put one can not create, en mass, the American way of life without building it on actions which are not compatible with the commonly taught American sense of morality. There are untold many rituals in our society to off set guilt. From recycling to charity and hybrid SUVs  to ethically responsible coffee brands. We buy these things like Catholic indulgences, granting us release from moral responsibility. For people not satisfied with the consumer indulgent cleansing we also have various brands of amoralism and analytic distance to offer. Yet moral concerns are not why I want to leave mainstream society, it is hard to feel moral outrage about operating in a system which has no implicit layer of significant moral choice. Though American morals in word do not agree with American morals indeed, who knows another moral code to judge them from? Who judges the judge? As a mortal I have no place to impose moral judgments on a society, what knows man of true morality? to feel guilt about such things is only barely in my nature it seems.

But I have always, even before thinking of the issues discussed above, felt like it would be good to try something else. A life of philosophy and discussion has been appealing, and to be able to control the means of production of my own necessities would make things simpler, even if it would involve giving up the luxiouries I was subjected to of being an American. Yet even then I will still be an American, think like one, talk like one, live in America... all those things; just maybe I can live where I rarely have to encounter the baggage of that fact.


  1. I am back living in NYC, and I find myself confused by the "moral implications" of my decisions - giving to one lobby over another, to vote or not to vote - its got my head in a spin.
    But I know, that the choices presented are not as easy as this or that, as they are most often presented.
    By the end of this post, I couldn't help but feel the poignancy of your words - a desire to simplify, coupled with rare encounters with the current regime.
    It makes a lot of sense to me.

  2. There has been a turning of seasons in my thought, at the time of this post I was still interested in drawing people away from a system in crisis. Now I am more interested in the pragmatic problems of how we can help support each other as the realities of that systems inability to support the way of life we were accustomed to.

    Get a place, make it cheap to maintain, and able to provide as much as possible in house. First start supplementing utilities with home generated power, and groceries with home grown food. Build reskilling networks by teaching and being taught with other people ready to respond, learn every craft you can which will be of service in the next age and if you can begin developing new ones. Don't hoard wealth, but give it away, the good graces thus earned are more enduring than cloth, food, or gold which suffer from moth, rot, and theft. Become strong to protect those you love, but let your strength be noble and dignified, not crude and brutal. Learn spend thrift habits, and invest your wealth in investment which give long term local rewards to your own home and to your friends, don't store your wealth in money or investment better to put it in the soil as organic matter, in the soul as training, in the world as generosity, in the home as durability.