Monday, 29 August 2011

Covered in Mud (or Immediate results are the best)

Today I've been out in my parents' garden, weeding the flower beds. From such work I derive a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. It's nice to have instantly visible results after putting in effort. As a result my hands are stained with mud, which has worked itself around my nails. I'm hesitant to scrub it all off, because it's a nice reminder of what I've done today. However, I habitually pick at my nails, so I'll have it all out in a few minutes.

Working outside today in the fresh air and with the ground has reaffirmed my decision to pursue a life homesteading. The problems with that decision, at least for me, are that I will find it difficult to spend time doing something that only benefits myself and my family. For as long as I can remember I have had the inbuilt need to have my life be contributed to improving the world around me. Somehow I will have to find the balance between fulfilling that need, and achieving my dream of living off the land.

But that is the topic of my next post, which will be about the ethics of homesteading.

Until then.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Societies Are Alive (or beginning the discussion of the responsibilities of individuals to society)

Sometimes I think that societies are alive. They grow, they respond and adapt, they consume and, in a fashion, they reproduce. As for people, we are societies’* cells and messengers. Their basic components.

Being human means being a part of something larger than yourself, whether you like it or not. Individuals, while invaluable in and of themselves, are also vital pieces of the greater organism that is society, which is constantly shedding and replacing them concerned with the welfare of the whole. Humans are born into situations that they may not choose for themselves, and have to make the best with whatever their lot in life is. The big question is: how to make the best of your life?

Many believe that we are here to serve a divine purpose, and that whatever hardships we endure in this life are to teach us lessons that will nourish our souls and prepare us for the hereafter. Others believe that this life is all we have and that the circumstances we are born into are random and meaningless and as such we ought to be ruthless in acquiring the best of everything for ourselves and in the pursuit of happiness in this life.** Personally I am uncertain, but have come to a conclusion that will hopefully enable me to make the best of my life, which I will explain in another post.

The aim of Basic Humanity is to document my journey toward building a life that balances my own needs with my sense of social responsibility. It will explore why I've decided to build towards a life homesteading and my experiences with that, Hopefully it will also foster discussion about the responsibilities, if any, of individuals to society and the human race as a whole, as well as the extent of the freedom individuals should have to live as they please. Interspersed among that will be pieces about my own life experience and plans, particularly in relation to social responsibility, wherein I will dissect my views on matters including: living consciously, frugality, consumerism, capitalism vs socialism, religion, economics, politics, mental illness, self-sufficiency, environmentalism and homesteading and it’s place in modern society.

There’s an incredible amount to talk about and I’m keen to get a discussion going. Right now, I’m excited to get typing and explore the essence of basic humanity.

* Societys’/societies’? I agonised over that for ages. General consensus after a quick google search was “societies’”, but I’m not convinced.

** That is not to paint all the religious as selfless and giving, nor all atheists as cold and selfish. Obviously there is a mixed bag of people in both categories.
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