This piece was first published on our sister blog, Grassroots Alternatives. As it deals with a number of themes we want to address in greater depth in the future, we’re re-posting it here to help it get a wider audience.
As a ‘compensation’ for being in the slogging away all hours / paying over the odds on rent or mortgaged up to the hilt trap, the bastards spend a lot of energy bribing us with distractions and amusements to try and keep us in their loop. As the above cartoon makes it abundantly clear, while you may be on the treadmill, they do their level best to make it feel not just normal but ‘desirable’. The all embracing metaverse we’ve been ‘promised’ is the next step in keeping people plugged in and compliant. That’s if we let them…
We’ve seen more than enough anecdotal evidence to suggest a growing number of people realise that being stuck on this atomising, dehumanising treadmill is not the way to live and that they want a more spiritually fulfilling life built round a solid connection with nature and community. The hard part is pulling away from the dystopia we’re in and starting to build the new world we want on our terms.
There are a very few people who have to means to move away from the crap that traps us and live their lives off grid. The rest of us have to find a way of exiting dystopia one step at a time to get to where we want to be. A process that in our opinion, is best done collectively as part of a group rather than individually. An individual opt out is a survivalist strategy – a collective opt out is part of the process of building a new world. Take a look at this page on Grassroots Alternatives – Links – and you’ll see plenty of resources that can help you start out on this journey.
It starts with getting out of the cycle of constantly upgrading and instead, making stuff last longer with an emphasis on repairing rather than replacing. Questioning whether you actually need all of the stuff that surrounds you is is next step. That involves reassessing priorities. A small example – rather that sitting isolated at home glued to a screen, get together with friends and neighbours for face to face interaction and analogue amusements:)
It goes onto deciding that not every household has to have expensive pieces of kit – purchase one between a manageable number of households where there’s a good level of trust between you and share it. Even at a purely materialistic level, think of the money you’re saving!
There’s getting out and being active in your local community. From neighbourhood food kitchens and food banks through to resident run parks, these are all ways of forming social bonds and building community solidarity. Also, they’re a way of starting to bring power back down to the grassroots where we, the residents, can have more say in how our communities are run and how they develop and grow.
We’ve written a lot about food security and growing your own food. Taking control of at least some of your food supply by growing and processing it yourself is another way of breaking out from the system. Again, it’s another endeavour that’s better done collectively as it will build social solidarity.
We’re just throwing out ideas here. We’re sure you have plenty more of your own. The point is realising that there are considerably better ways of living than the dystopian, digital prison we’re in now. Once that realisation has happened, then it’s time to experiment with creative ways of freeing yourself from the system with the eventual aim of bringing it down. Let us know how you’re getting on as these experiences can be a basis for future writings that will hopefully encourage more people to take this step:)