“O bliss of understanding, greater than the bliss of imagining or feeling.” ~ J.L. Borges – The God’s Script
There is a reason I named this blog “mainstream Permaculture”: I wanted to report the struggles and challenges as well as the successes of someone who is not in a position to “leave all behind” and immerse herself in a fully “Permaculture path”.
The intention was to share what 99% of people out there face: a lack of real “choices”, the everyday struggle of life, for some to the level of survival (such is the case of refugees of all kinds) and for others, at a more meta-physical level, that may involve real physical traps (sometimes invisible to others) such as lack of family support, age, health, debt, carrying personal traumas and lack of skills, access to resources, support, etc
Little would I know how difficult it would be for me to go through this myself: am I losing the battle? Am I giving up?
The reality is that for many, becoming an “activist”, a “radical” or even a “permaculturist” or “transitioner” feels more of a heavy burden we want to avoid than a liberation process: nobody wants to hear (and few talk) about the struggles real people face day after day to fulfil even what their values and heart tell them they must: again, from aging to having dependants and bills to pay, all conspires to keep you out of that what you know you need to do and be involved with.
In the last past month, I have written less and less and I have played with the thought to closing this and my other blog for good…lately, I have also played with the idea of creating a new one with a different name, one where I can openly talk about things I am discovering but I’m auto-censoring because not doing so would risk relationships, work and causes I’m engaged in.
There is no 50%-50%: you either are or you are not. You either jump or are left behind.
What I’ve seen so far is a lot of BS said by many with great hearts: I will never experience reality as you do, and you’d never experience mine…
“Choices” is the preferred word coming from those who are privileged. They may not even be aware of their own privilege and I don’t want to put a burden on their shoulders as it is not “their fault”: but the reality is that you only have a “choice” when you are somewhat free to choose the path that others see for you as a “choice”.
Privilege may be something as obvious as having enough money, health, time, skills, strength, land, family support, friends and the law on your side to “leave all behind” and start doing what you love/want, even if that is in borrowed land, with shared tools and implies leaving many things out of the picture (things that society says we “need”). The fact that you “have a choice” makes you privileged.
For those who have privilege, those who don’t do what they are doing are just “making excuses”. It reminds me of the same mentality that says that poor people in poor countries are just corrupt, or lazy or lack creativity; or the mentality that thinks women are raped because they provoked the attacker; or the mentality that says that “everything happens for a reason” ignoring the horrifying trauma that thought causes on those who have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused as children, have lived through coup d’états or wars or famines or climate-driven displacement…
Understanding carries a burden: we can no longer be naive and accept ignorance or plain disrespectful ideas and attitudes…
Such as delusions that we could save the world by planting crops without water…(really?!)
I feel the burden every single day and I feel trapped. That is my reality and that is the reality for most out there.
The enemies are faceless because the root cause is not a single perpetrator: it is the complexity of a system that has gone too far, a system where all of us belong, even those who think they are safe or better because they have “escaped the grid”…
Idolizing rural, traditional and non industrial cultures is not the way out either: I come from one. I know of the pain of having nothing, of not being accepted, of hidden (but openly accepted) practices of oppression and abuse within those “wonderful traditional cultures”: every single human culture has rules and a way for individuals to either “fit in” or be left out. Outcasts are not a making of industrial and Western civilization. Understanding hurts: there is no easy way out!
Life is tough: ask the hare that has to hide its children from the fox or the lynx; life is not fair: ask the hungry lion who has to run weak for days until he finds someone to pray on; life is complex: I can feel closer to my perpetrator than to those who offer me support for the pain he inflicted to me; life is surprising: you can wake up of your endless dream at 46 and feel like 20 again, or find true love at 50; life is wonderful: there is an endless parade of beauty, love and inspiration if you pay close attention…
Fall and winter have always been a source of reflection for me. The life circumstances I’m currently experiencing have cut my time allowance for doing many of the things I love, but have also given me plenty of time to read, reflect and think (not so to write and share)
There is no such a thing as “mainstream Permaculture”. The changes will either come to us and we will all have to respond from whatever levels of privilege we have at the time or some of us will create/force them (and believe me, those who can actually “create change” are already privileged)
For some, this is still a matter of “choices”, for most, it is fate and the endless struggle to be…