– join me at the Apocalyptic Dance Party


Once again I’ve been struggling to write something and stymied by how to present it in a way that will break through that ever-expanding crust of mindless crap filling social media, while overcoming the collective inertia that prevents anyone taking personal responsibility for the state of the world today (other than to make pointless comments about it).  None of this helped by an average concentration level of just 140 characters, so already I’ve lost most of my potential audience.  But finally I think I might have something which will work.

It came to me last week.  A friend turned up here.  He’s from London’s East End, but has a place nearby as well.  It’s his personal retreat/ bolthole, somewhere to escape/ unwind in every few months.  And over the last sixteen years of owning it he’s got what was once another ruin in an abandoned hamlet into exactly what he needs.  Deep in the now empty and wild countryside of the Sierra, except for wild boar and nomadic goats.  No neighbours.  Just him and nature.  And inside the house, the same raw/ pared down effect.  Thick ancient whitewashed walls.  Similarly aged terracotta floor tiles.  And a series of rooms that follow on from each other, each with a few carefully selected pieces of furniture denoting current use.  To sleep, eat, or sit.  With an open fireplace to keep warm in the winter.  No electricity (not even solar), no bathroom.  It makes El Pocito seem palatial by comparison.

This time though he’s been talking about taking early retirement, and moving here permanently.  And with that the whole perfect perspective and balance of the place has suddenly been shifted, as two very different worlds collide and try to fit into the other.

I think what he has is perfect as it is.  It’s how I live and how everyone in rural Spain lived until relatively recently, very simply.  But apparently this is not sufficient for modern life, particularly for anyone coming from the UK.  They have needs, which apparently are mandatory now, in order to make a place deemed habitable.  Needs that have, it seems, been elevated to a status that is pure craziness.

For even just sixteen years ago (the same year we left the UK too) everyone in the UK had an equal (if higher) level of contentment.  Yet were then blissfully aware of the internet/ mobile phones were just that, a phone you could take with you, nothing more/ households would have only one car, maybe none, but rarely more/ televisions were still cathode ray, no flat screens/  DVDs hadn’t arrived, let alone been and gone/ a personal computer was little more than an extremely expensive way to play simple games or write a letter/ fashion was whatever you wanted (labels hadn’t caught on)/ most stuff you bought was from high-street shops, or very occasionally by phone/ information, other than what was available in newspapers, books, or the library, was available from subscribing to magazines/ second homes were for only the super-rich/ and holidays once a year.

Just sixty years ago (the year I was born) it was the same story.  But then there were whole streets in my part of South London (which has since become the South Circular) where you could play without ever seeing a car/ where no-one I knew had a car (or phone or freezer or television)/ supermarkets hadn’t arrived/ central heating was the fire in the sitting room/ trains were steam (and ran on time)/ and buying a house was only affordable by the middle-aged.

Go back a little bit further, just 2% of the time our species has existed, and then you have even less.  No written language/ means of communication/ politicians/ law/ religion/ money/ property/ work/ transport/ holidays/ possessions/ clothes/ tools/ or anything else.  All that existed was what we were born with, our naked selves.  And the only thing we considered necessary (needs) were foraging for food and water.  That state of being had lasted three million years.  A period when we were totally free to do whatever we wanted.  98% of our existence.  It was also the only time when we also managed, without any thinking or direction to exist totally sustainable, as in maintaining zero-growth population (just like every other species), and taking nothing out of the ecology that couldn’t be replaced with like.

The point I am trying to make here is that there is only one state of being for our species.  And that is the natural one.  The one where we accept our place in the order of all living things and don’t try to think we know better.  For those three million years our total population didn’t exceed five million.  This was because this is all we are allowed to have.  The capping wasn’t done consciously, it was regulated hormonally (as it is with all other species), and by predators.  Therefore our needs/ happiness depend on just two things, foraging for food and water, nothing else.

That all changed of course when for whatever reason (nobody knows) we stopped acting sustainably and embarked instead on what has since become 10,000 years of creating false needs.  A nasty regime of rulers and slaves, the slaughter en-masse of every other species, irreplaceable ransacking and destroying virtually all the planet’s natural resources, and forced reproduction to provide even more serfs.

We can’t continue doing this.  It isn’t sustainable, how the planet functions, how we and every other living creature gets what they need to exist (in our case air to breathe, water to drink, food and shelter).  By diverting from that natural law we have upset the delicate balance, so ultimately the point will come when we all die from it.

That moment is upon us right now.  Our population was sustainable at a maximum of five million.  By 1800 that had risen to one billion.  Sixty years ago it reached two billion.  Now it’s 7.4 billion.  With an 80 million increase since last year, and currently growing exponentially.

For those who still don’t get it, this means we are in big trouble.  Today, tomorrow, or any time soon, we could actually cease to exist, or at least a good 98% in places like the UK where there is no room or preparedness for self-sufficiency.  No-one knows when or how it will happen because no-one is qualified to predict that.  But it doesn’t take any intelligence whatsoever to do the math and work out it will and that few, if any, will survive.

So what can we do to prevent it?

For most of those reading this, you’re simply going to pretend it’s yet another hoax and carry on as normal.  Even though a three-year old could see it isn’t.  I can do nothing about that.  You have become a slave to the me-culture and perhaps deserve not to survive.  I can tell you, before you think of it, that posting a comment is not going to help one bit.

Or you could take a positive stand and take this as the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.  Sell up and move to a place where you stand some chance.  Become a survivalist.

The easiest a most practical option is to simply support an immediate ban on all further births.  It sounds crazy in Europe, when the population figure is stable, even declining, but to be of any positive use we have to get the numbers back down to sustainable, not 60 million in the UK alone.

Finally, you could carry on where you are but reduce what you spend, by examining what your needs really are.  Because spending is equal to population increase, it doubles (or more) the rate of destruction to our precious ecology.  My example of spending just 2,500 euros a year might seem rather extreme straight off, but consider Daniel Suelo who has lived the last sixteen years without spending any money (or owning any things).  There are also currently 896 million other people who have not much more.  It is possible to live on a lot less.

Don’t wait until it is too late.  Aim to be a survivor.  Otherwise tomorrow could be the end of yet another empire from pure stupidity and selfishness.

1 comment
  1. I read David Holmgren’s “Crash on Demand” in 2013 just a few months after completing my PDC. I offered to translate it to Spanish and I did (It is published at both Holmgren website and my blog). That was the first step after many other steps before that to reduce my “needs” and those of my family. Holmgren proposes that at least 10% of us do that, those of us living in wealthy, middle class areas. I think we have to be much more radical than that. For those of us with families and a complex system around it’s easier to say than to do. There are many constraints starting with debt we carry (debt has become a “necessity” and we acquired it before me becoming awake to all what you mentioned above), then there is the family resistance when not everyone agrees on the severity of the situation (i.e., wife is awake but husband is aloof); then you have access to land or anything close to “sustainable” being an almost impossible for most of us and the list just grows and extends to probably 90% (or may be more) of the world population…Those of us who do have the privilege of simplifying and leaving “needs” behind have the responsibility to do so, for the rest of the world it is already a matter of survival…

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