Saturday, December 4, 2010

Low Tech - use your imagination

Let me tell you that the 21st century has not reached the territory I now find myself in. Videos of any size can not be transmitted except as hand shadows cast on cave walls. I ponder the entertainment Early Man enjoyed. Were they any less spellbound by a Shaman's oral history of creation than we are by images projected onto a white screen? If happiness is only found through gadgetry then only those people with gadgets would be happy and that can't be true. How else could you explain emotional biblical stories? Now, being frozen solid near a frozen pond is no gateway to orgasmic joy but it leads me to wonder what is? There is no shortage of philosophical questions to keep me occupied as I wait for my can of beans to thaw out.

I recently read a book called "The Moneyless Man" by Mark Boyle. It's hard to suppress the cynic inside me when I read about a healthy 29 year old man with no children "proving" we can live without money because he can do it. I simply think about the 1200+ superfund sites before his experiment runs into a wall. How is someone going to benevolently barter his environmental/chemical engineering skills to address these toxic dumps? What possible exchange could be made? How many carrots or chakra balancing sessions is worth a decade or two spent sealing nuclear waste that was dumped before you were born?
The more I read it, and the similarities between he and I were not overlooked, the more I felt he was basically imposing a blanket boycott of everything because the global economy has entangled everything and you can't ethically proceed if you extrapolate every purchase to its logical end. Yes, purchasing with cash essentially isolates the details of the transaction and makes the cash the end goal rather than community building and friendship. But can 6 billion people be wrong? It sounded like Boyle had fallen in love with masturbation and was going to prove that people can abstain from sex by only masturbating for a year. It would suck at first but eventually he grew to love it and others saw his point and they masturbated together. That's how it sounded at least as he bicycled 36 miles a day to dumpster dive bread and jars of jam.
It was hard not to laugh when he wrote, "I don't think money will be abolished any time soon. At least not in my lifetime."
Really, Mark. You think? It reminds me that if you abolish self reflection along with money or meat then you'll end up sounding totally out of touch. I recall the two extreme years I spent with Food Not Bombs in Santa Cruz, CA living in a stick hut, growing food in 5 gallon buckets that were suspended from the tree tops. Why? To remove my conscience from the then ongoing occupation of Iraq.
Now, that experience will be applied to something that I'm working on and Mark Boyle's experience will help me add some details I'd forgotten (fermenting beer from apples).
Mankind takes the path of least resistance but it sometimes has the most impact.


hardworker said...

It's a conundrum. To have no impact on the earth means having no impact on anyone's thoughts, because you'd have to be a recluse. The unabomber wasn't getting his argument heard until he blew some shit up. NOt saying you need to bomb for peace, that's the government's job. But it's tough one.

Oggy Bleacher said...

I was thinking about a field mouse I saw in Los Angeles as I split lanes on my motorcycle. The mouse was trapped on the corner of Pico Blvd and Sepulveda and kept racing under car tires to find a way to the other side but that's 7 or 8 lanes of fast moving traffic. A healthy man can't cross that intersection without help from God. Maybe it was a rat. I tried to corral it in one direction but the mouse was indecisive and hopped into the path of a stretch limousine. Someone honked at me and I told them to fuck off. They tore around me and blew through the red light. A man wearing canvas pants dug through a trash can. A kid with headphones on spun a sign that said "Condos in the low $700s." The sun baked the asphalt and the smog-filled air tasted like burning rubber and donuts. The sea was only 20 blocks away but you wouldn't know it. "Ok," I said. "You win." and drove off. But I didn't forget that urban mouse, adapting to the impossible. Sometimes you have to go against traffic. Is it conformity that defines change or rebellion?

Anonymous said...

Well, it didn't got run over.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.