I have briefly stated it in previous posts, and I have a whole chapter in my SL text about Happiness. In economic posts I mention that what we really value and want is not what we measure. In a class I had a colleague snigger when I told the class about Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index for measuring success in its Himalayan country. Time and time again People tell me they like the idea but that it cannot happen. Talk about a rigid belief system buy-in. As long as we accept that economics can somehow translate into a measure of happiness we will be trapped in this insidious system. In a Jan 11, 2018, post I gave the seven things that we all ‘want.’ All seven of these items (and more) translate to happiness. We all have periods of happiness, but they seem fleeting for most people, because the feeling of happiness is usually attached to something materialistic. Being happy is not something you attain – it is what you are. As long as you think forward about ‘when’ you will be happy, it will always be a fleeting idea to you – I will be happy after work, or when I get to my summer holidays, or when I get drunk enough to forget what a work slave I am in cubicle world. When I read accounts of third world villages and indigenous tribes that live traditional lifestyles, I am always reminded how normal everyday happiness is, or more importantly, once was for humanity. Bob Marshall (founder of the Wilderness Society in the U.S.) spent two years during the Depression era of the 1930s living in Artic Village, Alaska, with its indigenous people. In his book about that time he talks about how happy everyone was despite the hardships of living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. I have read numerous accounts like this. It’s not like they were on some happy drug all the time, for they still had ups and downs, but overall, they were continually happy with their lives and lifestyles – one notable aspect of their lives was that they lived within nature, not outside of it, and they lived as a true community. This will be a becomes a starting point for a discussion on spirituality and what that really means. As I’ve said before, Sustainable Living will be much more than simply changes to technology, it will encompass the way we live, how we live, how we think about the world and each other. Living sustainably will be as different from how we currently live as the cave person was different from medieval Europe. Odd simile, but you get the idea!
In the modern industrial world, we live in a system that promotes competition and separateness. It’s how the elite controllers keep us in place. Even though most people recognize that this system is deeply flawed, we still buy into it hook, line and sinker. We live a cultural myth that promotes a sense of superiority. We have learned to live outside the natural world and as a species treat it with utter contempt – as something to be conquered and dominated! Deep down we know that the natural world is wonderful, but it has been portrayed as a wicked place for much of human history. Only in the early 1800s did transcendental thinkers in the western world start to look at nature as something to be honored. This is a story I develop in my third text about environmental worldviews (one day it may get published). So what is our cultural story as Quinn and others try to impress on us. Only recently has science begun to question human history. Hunter-gatherer, agriculturalists some 10,000 years ago, empire builders 5,000 years ago, and now today, us the pinnacle of human achievement. A simple story we are all taught in modern society and accept as fact. Except the real facts don’t support the story. Once you delve into the ‘outlying’ data that has been excluded by the mainstream for centuries, the story becomes much more interesting – a different cultural story emerges. I use Jared Diamond and Daniel Quinn a lot because they are essentially mainstream but their stories and ideas are part of a large body of socio-anthropological work that explains the way that humans developed. Often you have to look at the edges to see the whole picture.
“Once you learn to discern the voice of Mother Culture humming in the background, telling her story over and over again to the people of your culture, you’ll never stop being conscious of it. Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you’ll be tempted to say to the people around you, “how can you listen to this stuff and not recognize it for what it is?” Daniel Quinn
An aspect of modern science that has always bothered me is the area of pseudoscience. Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of dubious work out there, but there is also a lot of fascinating work that while not mainstream is important to our understanding of the universe. There are days when I think our mainstream science is like the medieval inquisition out to purge the world of heretics who don’t accept the mainstream without question – and mainstream scientists purge with zeal and venom in their methods – their belief structures get in the way of thinking outside the box. I not only advocate about thinking outside the box, but to break the box apart completely. Mainstream science is a lot like paint by numbers. You paint exactly within the guide lines for each color and use the right colors specified. To be creative and paint outside the lines with different colors is highly discouraged, but to create your own painting is tantamount to heresy. Then add in any big money and the mainstream controllers will go to great lengths to not only debunk anything you say, but to ridicule to the extreme. The story we live today is totally at odds with who we are as a species. The Cabal has worked for centuries to repress us and make us accept this strange story of competition, greed, hate, and fear. The good news is that we are in a period of waking up – we know that we want something different, but worldwide we aren’t quite sure yet what that is. To repeat a Buckminster Fuller quote, “In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.” SL is a new model, similar to one we used to live, but one that we haven’t understood for millennia so it needs explaining in today’s world. I talk a lot about belief structures because they are so causal in how we see the world – perception is reality. Let’s take another bend in the rabbit hole.