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"Lost Children, Lost Worlds" by Bill Mollison

From Bill Mollison, Travels in Dreams. Tagari, 1997. 849-850.

Added by colin #442 on 2007-06-26. Last modified 2007-06-26 01:28. Originally created 2007-06-26. F0 License: Attribution
Location: World, Australia, Tasmania
Topics: permaculture, personal, recommended reading

From Bill Mollison, Travels in Dreams. Tagari, 1997. 849-850.

Linked to from Practicing at Deer Park Monastery.

See a past email for a bit more info about why I scanned this in.

It is true that most people I know today have never killed or grown their own food, never cut a mushroom in the field, nor stretched a rabbit’s neck. They have never felled a tree, never seen the red kino (blood sap) flow, nor stuck a pig. Yet they order, and eat, mushrooms and bacon, use wood and planks, paint with bristle brushes and read newspapers. Some, alas, call themselves deep ecologists.

This poses a real dilemma, often deeply felt by young adults; a sense of total powerlessness, or unworthiness. Sometimes, they escape and arrive distraught at farms or teaching centres in rural areas. “Show me how to plant a tree,” they ask, and in a few days are able to plant enough trees to last them for life (if all were to grow). They have often been ‘educated’ until 25-28 years of age, and never once in all that time have they prepared food or gathered the material for a meal, or killed, or planted.

Others, sensitive souls, almost give up eating when they realise that none of their food is familiar to them; they neither grew it, dug for it, transported it nor prepared and cooked it. They feel deeply unworthy of their lives. And in a sense they are; being terribly dependant on unknown hands for all their needs. As mass markets proliferate, and we urbanise more people annually, this sense of being orphaned from the real world increases.

The more privileged our children become, the more free choices they have, the more they anguish about their own fundamental ‘right to life’, let alone their right to reproduce. Can we wonder at the growing numbers of young people in the West, who are truly homeless, truly alienated, truly lost? People without practice in killing, reaping, or sowing feel unsafe indeed.

For a start, we need to teach basic skills, even to take students for that specific purpose. Such humane outlets are opposed by the ‘left’ (unions) and the ‘right’ (exploiters and commercial interests). The very idea of even limited self-reliance is anathema to all extant political parties. They see regional self-reliance as subversive; all governments, since Cambodia (and Kissinger’s ‘Think Tanks’){,} realise that constant de-stabilisation of the person, the family, the village, the region, and the means of production is in the short term profitable (loot being seized cheap or sold), and in the long term provides helpless markets for mass-produced goods, which being produced by robots and very large machines, needs less people every year.

Nations that devote themselves to technological efficiencies (Japan, Western Europe, parts of the USA) cannot exist without destabilised ’regions of influence’. They need to be able to buy cheap and sell dear, and they can only do so if they have subject populations on the grand scale. For even 5% of the world to have choices, 95% of people must be subjected to a lesser quality of life. The panacea is (as in all Indian films) that the hero or heroine might ‘win’, might kiss a frog or meet a Fairy Queen, might (via the great leveller, democracy) become a president, and have their own secret service. Bullshit.

All we get from kissing frogs is cold lips. Democracy is a glamorous illusion, costing the earth to maintain, and carefully preserved for very privileged groups of overused political parties (those who already have lots of money and power). You have to marry into privilege to get it, and if you get it by accident, you must compromise to exist. Less than 10% of us belong to political parties!

The ultimate end to a growth economy (we are all sold on that) is the same as an analogous growth, cancer. But for national economies, the victims are nature, soils, forests, people, water, quality of life. There is one, and only one solution, and we have almost no time to try it. We must turn all our resources to repairing the natural world, and train all our young people to help. They want to; we need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities, stable regions, and to know how to do it from hands-on experience. This is what I am about; what did you do in the war, daddy?

Colin Leath <>    

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