June 7, 2011

A Leap Backward

Maybe not that far back...

If we are going to save ourselves we are going to have to take a leap backward. We are going to have to turn the tide and adopt the simpler, more compassionate ways from whence we all came.

As the Chinese proverb teaches, it is better to take small steps in the right direction, than to take a huge leap forward, only to stumble backwards to regain your balance. Sometimes it is right to move forward, at other times a few steps back is the right move.

Right now we are stumbling, and once we regain our balance, we are going to have to take a few steps back. Steps back to a time when we did not take our good fortune for granted, knew our neighbours, and were satisfied with the small things in life.

A time when life was slower, more personal, and more local. When food came from the backyard garden, or your friend's farm down the road. When a vacation meant camping at a lake on the outskirts of town for a couple of days. When entertainment was something people created, not purchased.

When houses were small, and yards were big. When you had to harangue the kids to come in from outside, instead of trying to coax them into the great outdoors and away from a screen-lit dark room. A time when we could take a moment to share our lives with each other.

The answer to our limitless demands for more is not in finding new resources, and increasing complexity and competitiveness. It is in limiting desires, simplifying the way we live, and establishing communities where we can support each other.

If we are looking for a leap forward to save us, perhaps we are looking in the wrong direction.


  1. Anonymous6/07/2011

    This is so true. I think sometimes we idealize the past and there are many things about modern times I enjoy, like life-saving medicine and less racism and sexism, but I do wish we could turn back the clock on the excess of this society.

    Parents now have to pretty much force kids outside and often they must be entertained with countless electronic devices and more. For outside play, my son's best friend has a giant trampoline, a pool, a swingset and a basketball court in his backyard! It sure is fun but it has kind of ruined coming over to our house where we do things like catch bugs, ride scooters and hit hickory nuts into the woods with a baseball bat!


  2. Jen,

    We will have no choice but to cut back. Either that, or find a new planet to support our endless desires.

    I am coming over to your house to play. Catching and looking at bugs is part of my mandate. However, any outside time is good, regardless of the activity.


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