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    Plough | 13 min
    23 reads10 comments
    23 reads
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    • Alexa
      5 months ago

      Looks like I'm super late to this article! But still, I'm so seduced by the ones who throw it all away. Who's to say who is crazier, the one bathing in an aluminum tub without power, or the ones spending hours metaphorically chained to their device and digital communication.

    • thorgalle
      Top reader this weekScribe
      7 months ago

      An interesting read. I think many of his concerns about modernity are real. I agree that "our extreme disconnection from the sources of what we consume" is an important cause in some of those concerns. And I respect him for experimenting with a way to personally get back to a more "natural" way of living.

      But, when I read...

      I have unplugged myself from industrial civilization.

      ... and a bit later

      Writing with a pencil, I can’t get distracted by clickbait or advertising.

      I had to think of the great essay "I, Pencil"; where the complexity of the industrial civilization is explained by the example of a pencil. This, and comments here about the medical emergencies etc. put the article in new light. Indeed, as jbuchana says, I do think he romanticizes his life in the article quite a bit, that it is privileged and even hypocritical. But how much does that matter? It's still an inspiring call for more "off-time" and a re-appreciation of simple things.

      PS: it seems almost impossible to fully reject modernity. Finding the "natural state" of man was also a quest in early modernity itself. The French philosopher Rousseau tried to imagine man without civilization, not easy.

    • jbuchana7 months ago

      unplugging from the industrial world

      free hostel we host on our smallholding

      I wonder if the author is aware of the incredible privilege he has to be able to partake in this simple lifestyle. How many of us have the resources set up our own “smallholding?” Not many, I suspect.

      Writing with a pencil

      aluminum tub with a jug

      I don’t know how he sees using industrially created pencil, paper, aluminum anything (do you know the amount of electricity it takes to smelt aluminum???), or a jug? How is this spiritually any different than using solar cells to power a laptop? The answer is that there is absolutely no difference. This man is playing a game and pretending to a “virtue” that he definitely does not posses, nor would anyone who has ever lived with only this “virtue” would actually want to claim. He is nothing if not a dilettante in the world of survival.

      I don’t romanticize the past. But I don’t romanticize the future either.

      He sure as hell is romanticizing his present however.

      I have no respect for this man who has made a game out of his life, playing at survival. The moment he gets pneumonia or some other illness, my bet is that he’ll be on his way to the doctor instead of dying in the forest to be eaten by the animals as he claims he wants. The fun and games will be over.

    • jeff
      Top reader this weekScout
      7 months ago

      I feel like the ability to have your life be a "choose your own adventure" game might actually be peak industrialism. I'm happy the author has found a lifestyle that suits him and aspects of it certainly resonate with me, but I am left wondering if he's really escaping capitalism and industrialism (and if that's even possible or desirable).

      It's certainly commendable to reduce the amount of waste one generates and think consciously about how exactly you want to live your life and all that, but none of those things are incompatible with our modern capitalist industrial society. I'd actually argue that the fact that we have the luxury of those choices is a direct result of it.

      Is he also saying that he wouldn't want the best treatment available at the nearest hospital if a tree fell on him tomorrow and broke his back? He says he doesn't romanticize the future but his fantasy about peacefully having his eyes eaten out by crows is ridiculous and another example of taking a good thing a bit too far in my opinion.

      • Pegeen
        Reading streakScoutScribe
        7 months ago

        I thought the same thing about the luxury of choice being a direct correlation to capitalism. Also considered an accident in nature and how he would respond. I mean, is it call in the crows or go to the hospital? In any case, I applaud his adventurism and courage to live his experiment.

        • SEnkey
          7 months ago

          This brings to mind Walden Pond. A similar experiment. I applaud anyone who is choosing their own path and being thoughtful. I spent two years living in the jungles of South America. No phone, no AC, often no running water or electricity. What I saw most there was poverty, disease, hunger, to sum it up - suffering. There was also laughter, friendship, and joy. Humans will thrive anywhere. I came back to the states very appreciative of AC, refrigerators, vaccines, running water (and OH MY GOD running HOT WATER!!!), and cars. Like we could just drive places and get food and drive home.

          Seriously, my first day home we DROVE from the airport to my parents AIR CONDITIONED house, I saw the pantry FULL OF FOOD, looked in the FRIDGE, went upstairs got in the SHOWER with HOT WATER and cried for twenty minutes. I hadn't experienced those things for so long.

          Life is about trade offs. The author has done a good job highlighting what some of those are.

          • Pegeen
            Reading streakScoutScribe
            7 months ago

            OMG, the minute I read the word jungle, all manner of bugs come to mind. Huge bugs, deadly bugs and the diseases they can transmit. You are SO incredibly brave. Hats off to you SEnkey - truly! Life is about trade offs. Thanks for sharing your personal view - amazing!

    • Florian
      Reading streak
      7 months ago

      It’s an impressive experiment and if this is what makes him happy, I hope he can keep it up.

    • Pegeen
      Reading streakScoutScribe
      7 months ago

      Fascinating, in a rich and thoughtful way. It’s courageous. Love this line: “Instead of spending my life making a living, I wanted to make living my life.” And I totally agree with the author that giving up all the comforts of life is never the “simple” life! Far from it.

    • deephdave
      Top reader this weekReading streakScout
      7 months ago

      As I have no clock, my relationship with time has changed dramatically. Things do take longer. There is no electric kettle to make my tea in three minutes, no supermarket to pop into for bread and pizza. But here’s the odd bit: I find myself with more time. Writing with a pencil, I can’t get distracted by clickbait or advertising. Life has a more relaxed pace, with less stress. I feel in tune not only with seasonal rhythms but also with my own body’s rhythm. Instead of an alarm clock, I wake up to the sounds of birds, and I’ve never slept better. If I want to drop everything and go hiking, I can. I am finally learning to “be here now.” There’s more diversity, less repetition. Mindfulness is no longer a spiritual luxury, but an economic necessity. While this may not be the most profitable career path, it’s good for my own bottom line: happiness.