The existential crisis rears its head every once in a while.
The one where I get really lost in wondering why we’re doing what we’re doing. What’s the point of being crunchy? Are we looking backward instead of forward? Is this impeding “progress?”
The answer to the latter question, on many levels, is “yes.” Yes, what we’re doing is impeding progress, in the way progress is currently defined. What we need – or what I need maybe – is a redefinition of “progress.”
Tell me if I’m wrong, but for the last fifty decades (or more), the concept of progress was intimately tied to wealth, leisure, and a thorough extrication of human beings from the processes that keep them healthy and alive.
Succeeding in life is making money eight or more hours a day via technology or manufacturing in order to buy the things that other people make that keep us living (and thriving, if your definition of thriving is buying more things). Any spare time is spent playing video games, driving our kids to practices and games, going out drinking, watching television, and shopping for sport. Progress is developing new technology and chemical compounds and pharmaceuticals that make our deeper existence easier to ignore.
Want dinner? Pop this box in the microwave. Want to connect with a friend? Like their status or send them a tweet. Have a stomachache because you’ve eaten too much microwaved pasta dinner? Here. Pill. Don’t think. Don’t involve yourself. Just do this, because it’s easier. And easier means progress.
So clearly this definition of progress has stopped working for many people. You can see it in the economy, in the protests around the world, and in so many people’s disconnect from their true abilities, intentions, and deeper satisfaction with their lives.
And that’s why we need a new definition of progress. Maybe, really, what we all need is our own individual definitions, instead of subscribing to the definitions that others (with more money to invest in advertising and marketing) give us.
What Is Up With This Distaste For Progress?
When you look at all of the science behind the last 100 years, it’s hard to not call it progress. We developed plastics, which have unarguably made our lives easier. We invented vaccines and pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms – if not occasionally the disease itself. We found ways to keep our foods stay edible for years after they normally would. We provided cars to nearly every person in the country – cars that could take us faster and further than we could ever go before.
Isn’t that progress?
I mean, isn’t it? By our current definition?
Then why is there such a push back right now – such a distaste for plastics and vaccines and preservatives and oil? (And a million other things that we would have defined as “progress” just 20 years ago?)
Are we just being petulant when we refuse to buy the spoils of science?
Because the fact of the matter is, if we think we’re doing it because we’re going to live longer (forever even), that can’t be the case. No matter what, we’re going to die. No matter what we put in and on our bodies, we are going to die some day. Period. We will not outrun it by shunning shampoo.
So why are we doing this?
There’s a bigger reason behind “staying away from harmful chemicals” or “not polluting the planet.” Not that those reasons aren’t absolutely valid, but I think there are deeper things at the crux of it.
For me, it’s about connection.
I’m falling in love with connecting to the things I do and make, and it’s incredible. It’s like being a kid again. The wonderment and amazement I feel when I put together a few things and create something I can use and love is overwhelming. (You should’ve seen me yesterday when I made my own butter. You’d’ve thought I’d just invented the first working jetpack.)
Somewhere, we forgot how to love learning how to take care of ourselves. Somewhere, we decided that progress is defined by making our lives easier, and making our lives easier means having to do fewer vital things to take care of ourselves and our families, so we can have more time to do other nonessential things. Because nonessential = more fun.
How did that happen? Because, dang it all if I’m not learning, every day, that it’s actually infinitely more enjoyable to take an hour of my day to bake bread or make lotion or clean my house with my very own homemade cleaning supplies. The less I buy, and the more I make, the more powerful I feel in my own domain. The less I’m inclined to look at myself as a victim of some outside system.
But getting to the place where you see “creating” as something other than “time-consuming” and “a hassle” is a huge leap. It takes this giant shift away from everything we’ve been taught for so long. It’s something that has to happen inside, and it’s something that you can’t make another person feel.
And without question, I have benefited and continue to do so through advancements in technology and science. Certainly, just because there are bad apples in a barrel doesn’t mean I won’t touch any apple at all. It’s just a constant decision-making process: “Is this thing going to enrich my life? Does it harm me or anyone else? Am I prepared to take responsibility if it does?”
So, my existential crisis weekend questions for you guys (feel free to answer one or all):
- Do you think there’s something ultimately rebellious in the emerging giant push back against so many of the things science has wrought over the last century (e.g., preservatives, synthetic chemicals, plastics, vaccines, petroleum, etc.)?
- Is what we’re doing impeding progress – or at the least ignoring the strides science has made the last 50 years?
- Is there a way for us – us naturally-minded, conscious makers – to coexist not just peacefully but progressively with common-day scientific “advancements?”
- If you’re not on board with the current definition of “progress,” how do you think it should be defined?
The honest truth is, through writing this, I just worked out a million kinks in the arguments I was having in my head – but I’m posting it anyway, because I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
I figure if I’m going to have an existential crisis, someone somewhere should at least benefit from it – somehow.
Sometimes, an existential crisis stems from a person’s new perception of life and existence.
You took the words right out of my mouth, only I don’t think I could have said them as well!
I do feel rebellious. I resent shelling out $8 for laundry detergent 2X a month (husband will break out if we use the cheap stuff, and I resent that too). I resent paying $3 for a loaf of bread that tastes awful. It ticks me off that there might be a few ground up bugs and some BPA in that can of tomato sauce. I resent having to pay money for gas so I can get to the store and pay more money. That glob of high fructose-sorta berry-ish sludge at the bottom of a tub of yogurt just grosses me out. I do it all myself now, because when I make it, I know what’s in it. I can flat guarantee there’s no ground up bugs in our chili, that my husband’s skin will not break out when he puts on his shirt, and that we have bread worth eating. We grew a little okra this year. We have enough seeds from them that next year, it will be okra city in our backyard, with tons of tomatoes and peppers thrown in. I’ve bought a dress form. I’m going to start making my own clothes, not because I’m such a genius sewer, but because whatever I make can’t possibly be worse than what I see at the mall.
But I don’t have a problem with technology. Here we all are, on the internet, trading ideas and recipes across the planet in the blink of an eye. Technology, in a way, is bringing us back full circle. A thousand years ago, we would be a bunch of people gabbing in the town square. But now, the town square is the world.
Im also having a crisis thats similar to yours. I feel sometimes that even though I make efforts to live more sustainable and have more control over my own life and things that I bring into it, that everything else I do just seems to contradict myself. For example, I bought an RV so that I would have the opportunity to travel, meet new an interesting people with different ideas, and essentially live a less consuming lifestyle (I definitely conserve water, electricity, and resources.) However, I still need to use gasoline to get me to where I am going, and that perpetually dictates my life right now. I still buy things like the computer Im web browsing on right now, and I still have to shop at the grocery store because I dont have the opportunity of growing my own food. And now I am pregnant and I don’t want to quit traveling, but everyone seems to think I should stay in one place so I can keep current with a midwife, but I dont even know how much I believe modern medicine will help me through my first pregnancy. I know this seems like a lot to unload on someone who doesnt even know me, but is everything I do hopeless? How do I know that my efforts towards trying to make a difference in the world, especially my world, aren’t going to be for nothing? What do I do to take a step towards feeling more confident in my life choices? (Appologies for my emotional disaster, lets blame the hormones) <3nicole
My husband and i talk about this all the time. I think people have lost touch with nature and their surroundings. Everyone is so busy working and multitasking and using technology that ultimately alienates us from each other. And corporations would feed us with a spoon if we were willing to pay them to do it, so what is marketed as “convenient” for us (the consumers -I hate that word) is really just profitable for them. Our family has started little by little to get back to basics, like baking bread, making yogurt, keeping a small garden, crocheting, making cleaning products, getting rid of excess “stuff” that just doesn’t do anything for us. And we are loving it! Don’t get me wrong – there are things about science and technology that I love. My girls were miserable with ear infections, and antibiotics and tubes helped them immensely. I like the internet as much as anyone and I love my ipod touch. But modern life is so far out of step with what matters to us, so we’ve forced ourselves to slow down and live a little closer to nature, and we can’t go back. I love your blog, by the way!
I am reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I think it is a combination of progress and quality. If there is not an improvemement in quality, then is it really progress?
Things in plastic do not taste great.
Cotton and linen are the best on summer’s day.
There may have been a lot of science in the last 100 years, but there has also been lots of science before that, within kitchens, experimenting with herbs etc
I as a consumer are king, I am not rebelling, I am asking the producers to produce smarter and give me products that help me retain my health and stunning good looks(!). Rebellion is taking your money from the banks and refusing to pay taxes becasue you do not agree on what the government is spending it’s money on.
I have been doing so many of the same things and some of them for years. When I first met my husband almost 30 years ago (yep, I’m old), he wanted to know how I could trust my own canned food. I told him that unlike the Federal Government standards I don’t allow so many bug parts per million or rat hairs per million. He was shocked but not convinced. It was not until the last few years that I started to again go the self sufficiency route.
I hadn’t put my finger on it either until you said connection, and excitement about how to make your own supplies. I was so excited when I finally made my own dishwasher soap or shampoo. I guess I think too that people are starting to learn what is in their plastics, pharmaceuticals, etc. and don’t like the answer.
Are we stopping progress? No. The masses will always be there to follow what they are told, and rather than looking at what they are using, they will believe what they are told.
I love your blog, whether you are being funny or serious. Thanks for locking on the clarification on why we are doing this.
Awesome-wow-yes-totally-I-am-so-with-you. But I don’t have time to read all these comments right now! I need to dedicate study time to this post. This is getting close to saying exactly what I try to say every day. It is so heartwarming to feel not alone xxoo
But that’s just it, it stopped being actual progress when it became less about enriching the lives of those who actually use the products or services, and more about profits for those who provide the products or services.
Real progress would mean that i would actually know what is in my stuff, and how it was produced without having to hunt for the information, and the answers I found wouldn’t scare the crap out of me.
…And hey, it’s fun to make your own stuff, isn’t it? It’s like cooking (or even just seasoning) your own food. Only you know EXACTLY how much garlic you want in your salad dressing, right?
I so agree. Progress is supposed to mean ‘moving forward’, and the only thing moving forward in a number of industries is our money into the corps.’ pockets.
Funny – I actually describe making my own stuff this way to people! “It’s like cooking, but without the calories” 😉
I don’t believe that being crunchy is being rebellious. I think that with all that science has done for us, we are now learning that the results aren’t as good for us or the earth as once believed. I think as we grow and life happens, we really want to take charge of our own lives; take charge of what we eat and put on our bodies and knowing exactly what it is that we are consuming both topically & internally. That’s not rebellion and it’s not digressing! It’s called being responsible for self, in my humble opinion. Not everybody will be responsible in the same way. People who grew up on prepackaged items & microwave dinners find it amazing when others Make things from scratch…I think one can be crunchy and a responsible consumer of ready-made goods…Not every body wants to make their own products…but there will always be consumers for the products that we make or that the big mass marketers produce. I get amazed at how many people both young & old will say to me in amazement…”You MADE this?”…like it’s hard or something…yet I have never been able to produce an edible loaf of bread…or anything made with yeast…yet I can make a tube of chapstick or a face cream or lotion…
I find science, technology, & progress amazing and wonderful things…with out it we wouldn’t be able to have this discussion now globally in this manner! People & societies learn from mistakes…without them, you cannot move forward or be progressive. I’m not saying that all pharmaceuticals & plastics and “sliced breads” are mistakes…but through the progress of their discoveries and uses…we have learned things. We have learned that just because it may make our lives easier doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthier for us or our environment…and for some, they are ok with that. I couldn’t live without my cell phone, computer or car…my three “C’s” Being able to “google” anything that I don’t know about is totally awesome…But, it is a convenience, not a necessity! I think most people, once they reach a certain age, or make it through a critical time in their lives, they step back for a moment and will decide what is important to them…I think that is when most people start realizing the scars that they have made either personally or globally.
I hope it didn’t ramble too much!
Without Science I would only have one arm and a hunchback. True story! And that is why Science and I are bffs.
I need two arms to draw, read and write. It is easier to dance and wear frivolous outfits without a hunchback! I also love wearing contacts because it helps with sunglasses and bright days! And sunblock because I live in Australia and I’d rather not have a sun damaged face.
That said I see Science and an innovation of technology as being about curiousity, exploration and establishing if an idea or invention is functional. Which also what I consider crunchiness to about. I use honey and olive oil as cleasners because they make my skin look better. I drink loads of water because it makes me feel better and look better.
I think there are downsides to the ‘modern’ world and the ‘crunchy’ way- especially when people become too dogmatic and won’t accept that others have a different approach. I often struggle to accept that entire world world doesn’t think like me. Of course individuals are ace, good perfumes have more than one scent or some other relevant metaphor…
This comment has become a bit of ramble, sorry! I guess I’m saying yay for crunchy and for Science.
Have you read Radical Homemakers? It is such an amazing book, and it helped me answer a lot of these questions…not that you ever stop thinking about these things.
In any case, the journey is definitely very personal, as we’re all coming from different experiences with “progress”. I grew up with parents that taught me to see the beauty in natural things, keep an open mind, and rely on my inner resources. So it hasn’t been too difficult for me to value my journey back to crunchy. And yet because I’m so programmed to see them as meaningful, I’m also no where close to giving up occasional trips to Starbucks or a few games of Mario Kart every once in awhile.
I don’t know…I guess for me it’s not about finding THE balance between “progress” and “crunchy”, but to find MY balance and hope that I teach my (future) children to recognize that there needs to be a balance, wherever that might fall for them. And if we can at least recognize that point, it sort of inevitably leads us down the path of finding the best in both worlds.
I just found your site a week ago, and can I first just say how much I love it? I have bookmarked countless of your posts for future reference. Clearly you are one awesome-to-the-core crunchy lady.
This post is pure “yes.” I just heard myself saying, “yeah, yeah, YES! This is how I’ve been feeling but couldn’t quite find the words to express it.” Thank you.
As my family and I have “stepped back” and “regressed” from what society feels is progress, I’ve found something really exciting. After getting rid of the toxic chemicals in our home, switching to real nourishing food, embracing my natural beauty, and getting more “back to basics” the most wonderful thing happened: I found ME. All of a sudden the acne-prone, wouldn’t-leave-house-without-makeup, didn’t-know-the-name-of-most-vegetables, believer-in-all-things-man-made girl shed her oily skin and what was left was a beautiful, radiant, and confident woman.
And like you, I found so much joy in creating, learning, and recognizing that I could take charge of the world around me. (The first time I made butter I pretty much squealed like a kid at Disneyland the whole time!)
I also discovered a renewed joy in community–in honoring time tested traditions and the people who preserved a beautiful way of life. As a woman of faith I believe that God knew what He was doing when he created this planet and our bodies. And what’s interesting is that science is showing how simple remedies, natural approaches, and the human body’s complex relationship with the world is more ingenious that any man-made chemical.
So, yeah, I think a new definition of “progress” is necessary. When I live a life like this I feel like I am stepping closer and closer to my own potential. Sounds like progress to me.
Nail on the head!!
First of all, I’m reading the book “Radical Homemakers” by Shanon Hayes. It goes into the purposeful marketing of anything relating to the home as mundane as a means to market tools to remove you from your mundane existance. Very interesting. All about production and consumption. Society bought it (literally) but now there is a yearning to go back to a more real, less materialistic, more hands on exitance.
Secondly, I just had a discussion (um, argument) with some folks about a local school system’s decision to nix textbooks and get laptops for 5th – 12th grade. All progressive, yahoo for our great education system. When I pointed out the 1) lack of creativity 2) too much screen time for youth anyway 3) fostering an inability to use books and libraries 3) lack of control of content (already have kids hacking the system and putting up porn) 4) lack of personal contact for young minds that NEED people to mold and shape them into decent loving people. Computers cannot do that. People, REAL people are needed for youth more than ever. Nobody is stepping up to the plate. I was told my stance gets in the way of progress. There’s that word you talked about.
I do what I do because of a deep and all consuming love for life. It started when I was in the Peace Corps and saw people in poverty loving each other, helping each other, laughing, and loving life. I saw it when I had my children, cared for my dying parents, planted and harvested food for my family. That’s why I’m making my own cleaning products and bread. Why I teach my children. Why I have my own little farm. There is a deeply spiritual connection to life when you are actively engaged in it. It is deeply rewarding, provides balance and health, puts me in contact with wonderful people. It fills my soul.
Progress cannot provide that balance for me. Progress cannot hold and love a child. Progress cannot take the dying in hand until their last breath. Progress does not nurture and sustain.
First, I am REALLY interested in this book you mention. Really, really. Looking it up as soon as I finish Lissa’s recommended documentary (which is blowing my mind).
Secondly, your comment about your experience in the Peace Corps is one that I’ve heard – personally – over and over and over again by many people who’ve devoted time to traveling to other countries on medical and educational missions (this ideal doesn’t seem to be as prevalent in those who go on religious missions, at least with the people I’ve spoken with).
It’s really, really, really hard to come to grips with the fact that maybe our believed gracious interventions into other cultures in order to bring the “enlightened Western way” might have been a little misguided.
But – nearly without fail in the groups I’ve mentioned above – they’ve said that when they first start working with a town or group in another country, the people are happy, capable of caring for themselves, and knowledgeable of their own lands and how they can live on them. After a few years of receiving “help” from us, they’re dependent, less respectful of their environment, and more interested in what “new things” the Americans will bring them than they are of their own abilities.
It makes me think of this short documentary I watched a few months ago about how Monsanto (and other U.S. corporations) came into Africa in order to bring our “way” of agriculture and ended up ruining farmers and the land in its wake. For the life of me, I can’t find those videos (I think there were five short ones) right now, but they were super well produced and educational.
Although, in my searching, I just found this: http://www.whatarewedoinghere.net/ – which sadly is $25 to buy and not available for streaming anywhere I can find (not even Netflix … boo). It sounds really, really interesting (and uber controversial), though.
Anyway, curious what your take on all of this is (even though it’s a tiny bit off topic).
I think you will like the book. I’m going to watch the documentary Lissa spoke of next too.
I actually almost went on about progress in development efforts but didn’t want to get off topic. BUT, since you asked…I saw exactly what you mentioned. Progress and technology hancuffed the people. In my village there was a solar powered water pump. It was broken. No one with money, expertise, or parts to fix it. There was the health clinic where the doctor gave vaccinations with the same needle over and over. When I protested because of AIDS, I was told that vaccinations were going to improve these women’s lives. There was the grain mill that cost money (that people had very little of) when they all use to just pound their grain with morter and pestal in a big group where women would laugh and socialize. Women would use formula and bottles to feed their babies to have them die from complicaitons due to sanitation…they used to breastfeed healthy babies. Farmers were told to plant corn, something terrible for their marginal environment, when the millet they used to grow was both better for their health and the environment. American chickens were brought in to replace guinea hens…the chickens were not adapted as well to the envoronment as the hens.
I came to realize that my being in Africa, trying to teach people how to better live their lives was condemning the lives they had and driving them to search for something outside of what was available to them. I valued my experience for the relationships I developed, not the work I did. The people taught me far more than I could ever hope to bring to them.
By the way, another documentary you should see is Orwell Rolls in His Grave. I think it’s available on Nexflix for streaming.
Betty, you said:
Ah. Combining old world beauty treatments with technology. THIS is how we do it progressively, yeah?
That’s exactly along the lines of how I was planning to respond. To me, progress means moving toward a better life individually and as a culture (those should go hand-in-hand). Progress might mean the accumulation of “new” knowledge, but it also means employing wisdom in order to avoid “new” things when they are against the goals of progress. I think humans tend to equate “new” with “better” and “progress,” because we do live in such a technologically-driven age. The iPhone 4 is better than the iPhone 3, sure, but that doesn’t mean a similar line of thinking applies to how we eat, or how we clean, or our religious/philosophical beliefs, etc. (Come to think of it, maybe this is also why we don’t value the elderly more in our culture.)
I think true progress comes down to a series of decisions. It’s a path along a decision tree, and you’re always trying to improve your way of life. It means that when you’re presented with something new, you consider its worth before choosing whether to adopt it, meaning that every decision is a tweaking of the status quo, always bringing improvement through either a “yes” or a “no.” When presented with a phone that can keep me organized and help me find where I’m going, I say “yes.” When presented with foods that were created by genetic modification rather than nature, I’m going to say “no thank you; I don’t believe in ‘innocent until proven guilty’ when it comes to my food.” These decisions have led me to have a kitchen with both an electric ice cream machine and a cast iron skillet; a cleaning repertoire with both microfiber towels and vinegar-based cleaners; a pantry with both jarred marinara sauce (because homemade isn’t always a priority for that item for me) and homemade granola bars (because homemade is a priority for that item for me). So, the old and the new can completely coexist in harmony, because each just represents an answer to the simple question, “Will this improve my life?”
Many of these decisions look different for everybody. Most of us here on CB get a thrill out of making our own stuff. Some people don’t. An ideal world wouldn’t mean we all make the same decisions, but rather, it would mean that we all make decisions mindfully and with knowledge. In an ideal world, a person may still hate cooking and choose to purchase mostly pre-made food. But, in this ideal world, that pre-made food would NOT be GMO, because the ideal society would shun such things.
In other words, “progress” (in the sense of the word that it should be) doesn’t mean moving forward on a timeline of innovation, nor does it mean going backwards on a timeline to get to our roots. It isn’t linear at all. It means finding the best mix of old and new, based on careful research and thought. The decisions are based partly on fact (“is this good for me? is this belief true?”) and partly on taste (“do I enjoy doing this? does this resonate with me?”). In that context, “crunchiness” is just one way to be progressive, but non-crunchy people can be progressive in this sense as well.
I love the discussion. Thanks so much!
Oh. My. Gosh. I wish I could like this comment a thousand times over.
Thank you for presenting such a rational look at how “crunchy” does not mean “backward,” nor does “innovation” mean “bad.”
It does take a great deal of consideration to determine, though, what will improve your life. I was actually thinking extensively about that after I posted this. I was thinking about how every decision we make means that there are consequences – no matter what.
If we decide to spend an hour making, say, bread instead of 10 minutes buying it at the store, the consequence is that we lose 50 minutes of potential reading or TV watching or whatever time. But the consequence of buying the bread (let’s just pretend the only choice we had at the moment was store-bought, non-artisinal, generic bread) is that we don’t have as nourishing of food, and we’re not as connected to the food we’re eating.
To put it in a positive light: Buy bread = more time for something else. Make bread = nourishing food you have control over. (You can use this example for anything, really.)
So ultimately it comes down to priorities and making your choices based on those. Which finally led me to realize that probably one of the most important things we can do for our own personal empowerment is to determine what our priorities really are – and then only make our decisions based on whether or not it’s serving our priorities.
Off on a tangent, but you really hit this home for me.
And, really, you should watch this documentary Lissa posted below. It’s making me livid and enlightened and much more cognizant of the way public relations, marketing, and the idea of consumerism works. (You just have to wait through the first 10 minutes before it starts to get down to the hearty stuff.) Craziness.
Hmm, I will try to see it! I totally agree, and think that if we decide to get bread at the store, it should be done mindfully (that is, we decide the hour isn’t the best investment of our time, or we hate baking, and we look for the store-bought bread that is best for us). I wish I could make everything myself and garden and the list goes on, but as you say, it’s all about prioritizing – and knowing when “good” is “good enough.” As you say, we aren’t going to live forever no matter what we do, so we shouldn’t demonize ourselves if we have to compromise from time to time, especially if “compromise” means “buying organic, artisanal bread rather than making my own, because I’d rather spend that hour making homemade something else or connecting with a friend [that is, not mindlessly].”
Thanks for your encouragement. Incidentally, I’m considering submitting a guest blog entry for a site that’s in the works about holistic living in my hometown, Madison, WI. I just feel led to share my own journey, since I’ve only been exploring this type of “progress” for a year or two, and I want to encourage other people to take whatever steps they feel inspired to take and not to be intimidated. I don’t blog myself, but I do love to write, and I have to say that you are an inspiration! Thanks for making holistic living so accessible and exciting!
I am loving this and all the other comments I have read so far! My journey towards “crunchiness” has only recently begun, and the steps have been small, but I love the encouragement here to do things simply and gradually.
Gotta say, though: I absolutely love making my own marinara. I do use canned crushed tomatoes, but I choose the tomatoes carefully, and everything else in the recipe is fresh and natural.
Every time I ask myself this question, I get a different answer. You’ve brought up one of them; I truly like making things for myself instead of buying them. I like taking separate ingredients and making something awesome. This extends to self-care products and especially cooking. And I hadn’t thought of the connection when I make things instead of buying them mass-produced, but you hit the nail on the head there.
There’s also a bit of indignation in my motivation as well. If you get the chance, watch the documentary The Century of the Self. It’s long and I’ve only gotten through the first 45 minutes or so, but it’s extremely eye-opening and has made me re-think every advertisement I see. More and more I’m thinking “Who are you to tell me what I have to do to be beautiful? Where do you get off, trying to tell me that I’m not fine–more than fine–just the way I am?”
There’s also just enough teenage rebellion in me to feel smug whenever I abandon the set way our society has been shaped to be (seriously, go watch that documentary here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyPzGUsYyKM )
Deep thoughts, and welcome. Thanks for the great post!
You know, it took me the better part of five hours to write this (and erase it and write it again and erase it), because of exactly what you said: The answers differ depending on which way you look at it. It was the moment I made butter that I realized just how euphoric making my own things can be – and how we’re SO removed from all of it (and so convinced that there are more important things than taking care of ourselves through creating our own foods and products). So even though it has (and always has) come down to the connection I feel to nature, my body, and the things I make when I make things, it’s also about thirty other things too. That connection part, though, that’s the one that keeps me coming back.
In other news, LOOK AT HOW AWESOME THIS COMMENT SYSTEM IS! I can sit here, on my very own site, and watch a video you linked to on YouTube without going anywhere else. It’s … like … right now I love technology (and, dare I say it, something that makes my life easier). Ha!
I’ve planned a whole spa night for myself, which includes, right now, a coconut oil hair mask that will sit on my head for an hour while I watch the first part of this documentary, and then a facial mask that will account for the next 20 minutes, and then popcorn with homemade butter while I watch the rest.
Ah. Combining old world beauty treatments with technology. THIS is how we do it progressively, yeah?
Umm… the documentary’s not exactly relaxing. Just heads up. And yes, I’m loving the new comment system. Is there a way to stay logged in?
I think if you sign up for a Disqus account (which is pretty easy) or log in with FB or Twitter, it’ll keep you signed in. Otherwise, you have to do it every time. I guess that’s one strike against it, although it’s a small one.
If you use Disqus or one of the other login options, though, it actually notifies you (at the top of the comments of anyone who uses Disqus) if you have replies to your comments throughout the system (regardless of what site you’re on). So that’s cool.
Also, I prefer thought-provoking to relaxing. So we’re all good.
Okay, just wanted to warn you. And thanks for the info. I agree, it’s such a small price for everything else we get.
Enjoy your spa night! And–how are you getting the coconut oil out? Do you use a shampoo, or sorta ‘poo, or what?
So this documentary is awesome. Definitely in a more dry, intellectual way (which is GREAT once you get past the first few minutes). I’m actually vacillating between being livid, feeling empowered, and wondering how this all ties into our evolution as a species (because I think somewhere we had to go through this in order to “wake up” to a completely different world).
All that thought, and I’m only 35 minutes into it. Ha!
I sorta ‘poo the coconut oil out of my hair, and it works like a charm. But it takes two or three washings to get it all out (just like it did back when I used regular shampoo).
Now for the popcorn and more emotional rollercoasters watching this documentary. Yay!
Unbelievable. I want to keep a running commentary as I watch this documentary. Ha!
So I just reached a point where they’re talking about the marriage of psychoanalysis and marketing, with the example of the introduction of Betty Crocker cake mixes. They didn’t sell well to begin with, and the marketing consultant – through focus groups – figured out that the reason why was because women felt guilty about doing something so easy. The recommendation was for Betty Crocker to do one thing – add instructions of “adding 1 egg” to the mix. And that, alone, made sales SOAR right after.
Simply by adding the instructions to mix in 1 egg, it took away the subconscious guilt women were feeling about not making something from scratch.
What I get from this: The only way to be a mindful consumer is to understand yourself well, to be conscious of your motivations and desires, and not led by manipulations that appeal to your unspoken wants.
In other words, before psychoanalysis/marketing came along, people were pretty repressed in their desires/understanding of themselves and the people around them. With the introduction of psychoanalysis and understanding of unconscious/unspoken desires, it opened up our ability to become more vocal about those same desires, which made them far less taboo (and scary to admit).
And now? Now we’re at a moment in time where it is ALL out there. Everyone talks about their thoughts and feelings all the time (and sometimes in grossly public ways … like, uh, this blog).
Because we understand ourselves better, we’re far less easy to manipulate.
And because we recognize manipulation when we see it, we’re drawn to more “real” pursuits.
I am totally seeing personal evolution at work. It’s gorgeous.
You’ve summarized lots of thoughts that have been in my head lately too! You just put better words to my feelings. You are awesome and you rock.
And by the way, the first time I made butter, it totally felt like I was the first person to ever make it. It rocked….
I can’t imagine making butter ever NOT being fun. It’s like harnessing all the power of the milky universe and turning it into the yummiest thing nature has ever offered us.
And it was so easy, I almost got mad. It’s like, how on EARTH could I have gone my whole life thinking that something was difficult and time consuming without ever testing it myself? I think that almost EVERY TIME I make something (unless I screw it up … and even then, the challenges are more fun than not having tried it at all).
I’m so posting my butter making experience on Monday, ’cause everyone should try it at least once in their lives. Sigh.
Just goes to show things are NOT as they seem and we haven’t really been told the truth. They say “progress” will make life better, but from what I’ve seen it has handcuffed everyone to having to find someone to do for them what they could easily do for themselves – such as raising food for a fine example. We have noooo idea what’s in the “mockfood” let alone what it may do to you. They refuse to label it so we have no idea what it is or where it comes from. To me absolutely frightening! 🙁
“Progress” will make us healthier. Oh really? All I’ve seen is over the years we’ve become sicker and more disease – ridden than any other generation. Not one of the diseases of today did my great grandparents suffer from.
Actually progress has succeeded in making us poorer, sicker, and extremely dependent on others to feed, clothe, and heal ourselves. From these observations I say progress has been a very bad thing. I want to revert to how it was when the world was normal and most were sane because they weren’t on 15 different prescriptions they don’t need scrambling their brains and common sense.
Do I create my own beauty and home products? ya bet ya booty I do! Why would I do this? because I love the hands on and creativity I include as I give life to them. I also looooove to “stick’ it to the corpies as an affront of shouting in thier greedy selfish faces; “Ha!!! I created this I know EXACTLY what’s in it and I done it safer, better, faster, and cheaper than any of you could. Top that!” (I shout this all the while waving my delish product like a crazy woman proudly over my head and using it as I “speak” with my hands).
Now that I have been fortunate to move far out of the city I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone in their right mind would ever want to much less desire to live in any city. I absolutely do not miss the dirty air, extreme traffic, 3 AM blast of loud rap music coming for a rattling car roaring by ignoring any sort of speed limit, loud obnoxious misbehaving kids running up and down the street all hours of the day and night, no grass let alone any sort of trees or plant life as far as the eye can see, ect…
Next year I intend to grow my own food, honey, continue to make my homemade goodies, tune into me and fall completely out of society. Why would I fall out of society? This is not my choice of any sort of society I want to belong to. There’s nothing to fear, but fear yet most people are uptight and extremely fearful from imaginary threats that do not exist. if you try to tell them this they get more uptight and angry insisting real terrorists and bogies are out there. No they are not. What’s the proof??
Instead of dealing with the insanity I choose to surround myself with kind, compassionate, loving, helping each other, self – sufficient, strong, diy kind of society. Do they exist? Yes and they can be found all around you, but you just have to look at lot harder to find them. Hint: we’re the ones with the biiig goofy smile on our faces dancing in the streets and enjoying life while the rest sit around looking pizzed off listening to someone tell them how bad it is. Truth it’s not unless you want it to be. I’ve reverted and so can you. 🙂