there is another way to live freely, happily, creatively in this world.
Once upon a time, until just a generation or two ago, the vast majority of westerners looked at over-consumption, especially when funded through debt, for what it is - immoral, short term thinking or ignorance and greed. Most understood that this highway to hell isn't paved with good intentions. Most took pride in being self-sufficient, learned the skills necessary to achieve it, took pride in their callouses as a sign of their hard work and cherished the freedom they'd secured through that hard work.
When did it all change? i'd say it happened in little bits, little bites, over a period of time.. One important bite happened when people started to believe they had a stake in capitalism. They 'invested' in mutual funds, they accepted the logic of defined contribution pension plans, they used their new fangled credit cards to buy needless crap again and again because they could and had allowed themselves to hypnotized into believing themselves entitled to it. Now the debt addicts must turn their eyes and their minds away from the grotesque obscenities of the war machine, the torturers, the environmental degradation, the loss of personal freedom, etc lest they face the fact that without the Empire's armies fleecing of the world's resources their imaginary wealth would disappear and they'd be forced to do the hard work it takes to live a truly sustainable life as their forefathers did, a life that doesn't exist by externalizing the effects it creates onto future generations and the biosphere..
Empires come and go and this Empire of Debt will too. Archaeologist Arthur Demarest’s explains how the Mayan civilization's evolution closely parallels the current one saying: “The Mayan society had evolved too many elites, all demanding exotic baubles…all needed quetzal feathers, jade, obsidian, fine chert, and animal furs. Nobility is expensive, non-productive and parasitic, siphoning away too much of society’s energy to satisfy its frivolous cravings.”
Parasites, maybe even more accurate than the term vampires i often use. But semantics aside, the first step for a budding non-conformist must be to see clearly who the parasites are and how they operate. A few days ago Raúl Ilargi Meijer wrote an excellent article on his site The Automatic Earth that's explains how the buying into the parasite's promise of a free lunch ends up in a life in a tent city.
How can we avoid the free lunch through debt delusion? "We can refuse to participate in a dead society gone shopping", says Joe Bageant. Joe goes on to explain that once we understand what feeds the parasites, it becomes possible to think of stopping them and the Empire of Debt itself. The Empire can withstand tinkering, but can't continue without fuel. "Like an old mill on a dry riverbed, it will become a relic of a past that’s done with, a useless hunk of debris. Our radical withdrawal will be the end of the Machine."
Empires come and go but we are all, flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries, in this together and always will be. Only by living freely and without fear can we escape the parasites that live on our blood, sweat and fears. "We have the capacity to say no, to refuse to cooperate and only this refusal to cooperate that will save us." - Chris Hedges