March 27, 2015

Beautiful Resistance

Beautiful resistance is everywhere because it is the natural response to harmful people and practices.

The capitalist consumer model is a monolith that will not easily be brought down. Over a long enough time frame it will be the author of its own demise, but if we wait that long we are sure to be brought down with it. 

I do not expect the collapse of consumerism in my time. It could take several generations for this behemoth to be overcome, or die a natural death. 

But that does not mean we can't chip away at it a little bit each day with every decision we make. Any time we choose to increase our own freedom and self-reliance can be an act of beautiful resistance. 

For me that means living a frugal, enjoyable lifestyle without most of what others take for granted. 

It means cooking all our food from scratch, and only driving when necessary. It means conserving resources, planting a garden and learning new skills. Boycotts and divestment can be personally satisfying and are powerful agents of change. These moments feel good.

Beautiful resistance happens with each decision that removes our support from a harmful system bent on planetary destruction. It is the natural response to harm, and while it may not topple the whole heap tomorrow, it will make it wobble and lurch closer to its ultimate demise. 

What forms of beautiful resistance do you prefer?


March 25, 2015

Take It As It Comes




Take it as it comes.

When the 60s group The Doors performed their song by that name they were reminding us of the importance of taking life simply as it unfolds. In order to do this we have got to slow down. Way down.

We can not evolve past the current consumer materialistic illusion until we achieve stillness and a quiet mind. But how often does that happen in a modern mode where distractions, both pleasant and otherwise, fill our lives to the top?

In stillness our thinking becomes clear, naturally well-ordered and intelligent, and the world clearly needs more of that. With practice our decisions become reasonable, true and certain. We need more of that, too.

Our true freedom will come in what T.S. Eliot calls “the still point of the turning world”, for “at the still point, there the dance is”.

There are preconditions that must exist to tap into this potential.


  • We have to be in the present. 
  • We have to be free of fear. 
  • We have to be free of desire. 
  • We have to be free of anticipation.


Does that sound like the exact opposite of conditions created by the noisy, jangled, in-your-face world of the consumer capitalist system?

Maybe that is the whole idea - it is more profitable to ensure we do not have the preconditions required to overcome our attachment to counterproductive busyness and complexity.

If so, these are the things that must be changed in order for humanity to realize any kind of evolutionary breakthrough. In the meantime, we can choose to live our lives simply, take things as they come, and find the peace and quiet we need to discover our true liberation.

There, at the still point, we will dance together.

March 23, 2015

Appropriate Technology

The simple radio had an up-take greater than almost any other innovation since the invention of fire.

In the era of high-tech everything it is easy to forget that low tech is sometimes the better way to go. The transistor radio is a case in point.

Since the introduction of radios in the 1920s there has never been a consumer up-take quite like it. Adoption in the US was near-instantaneous, and before long nearly every household had one.

While more recent innovations have garnered a quick consumer response, none have been as steep or as complete as the radio. In many parts of the world the radio is still the communication technology of choice.

Last summer when Linda and I crossed Canada we brought two pieces of electronics with us - one high tech (lap top computer), and one low tech (transistor radio). In our mobile situation the low tech option was more useful - we used the radio more.


The solar powered radio - every emergency kit should have one.


On our trip it was more practical to listen to our radio, and we enjoyed it every day for music, weather, and news. It runs on solar power, or a hand-cranked generator, or batteries. Usually all we had to do to keep it charged was set it in the windshield during the day.

Our computer was significantly more difficult to set up while on the move in our van. We had to buy a special electronic item that allowed us to use the vehicle electrical system to charge and use the high tech electronic computer. It was expensive and a hassle.

We recognized this situation as an example of appropriate technology use. Sometimes low tech is the way to go, and we should never use something more complicated when a simpler solution will suffice.

Advertisers in the age of New and Improved! everything will of course not agree.

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