The lifestyle we lead in the industrial West may seem like a paradise to some.
In a lot of ways it is—to have clean running water piped straight to our homes, and governments that will give us money when we’re poor, is a luxury!
However, this comfort and protection comes at a price—a price which personally left me with a feeling that something was missing.
Or that rather, that something was there that shouldn’t be.
From our first moments alive, we are registered and signed into lifelong contracts (better known as birth certificates).
We are employed into the service of mega corporations, (better known as countries)* and obliged to follow business rules (better known as laws).
Some of these laws are useful—such as the common laws—but others restrict our freedom and exist to generate revenue for a tiny percent of the population.
However, the laws I want to talk about here are the hidden laws—the invisible, unconscious laws that are suggested and implied.
These laws breed thoughts and beliefs that maintain a passive population and keep industrialised civilisation thriving. The only way to beat these subconscious thoughts and beliefs is to bring them into awareness, so they can be seen for what they are—silly.
We can think of these thoughts and beliefs as bars in a prison cell—keeping us trapped as mental slaves.
As I’ve been moving further away from the destructive, mechanised, industrialised culture, the bars have been slowly revealing themselves.
I’ve managed to identify some of the “bars.” Doing this has allowed me to bend them and escape, to start what I hope will be a more authentic human existence.
Bar #1: That’s just the way it is.
It’s only since I’ve looked into alternative ways of living, that I’ve truly been able to identify this bar.
Instead of designing my own life, and the social systems and communities I’m a part of, I believed that there was nothing I could do—that someone else “in power” was responsible for the development of our species.
Now that I am aware of (and away from) the limiting culture that tells us: that’s just the way it is.
I now believe that a change is possible and that we all have an enormous capacity to redesign civilisation towards a more ecological and meaningful existence.**
Bar #2: But I don’t have enough money.
This bar was probably the strongest, yet most invisible, bar in my mind.
In the industrialised West we seem to be indoctrinated to believe that any progress, action or accomplishment is going to involve acquiring a sum of money.
Essentially, if we don’t have that money, then we won’t be able to achieve our dreams and live a life we want.
Mark Boyle (better known as “The Money-less Man”) lived for a year without any money! What he learned from his experience was that community and other people were the resources most needed to survive.
In my own experience, when I’ve gone out and looked for ways to make things happen—instead of waiting for the right circumstances—things tend to find a way of happening! Albeit, not always exactly as I’d expected, but the adventure of getting there was much more fun than paying for my dreams to come true instead!
Bar #3: It needs to be exactly like this.
I’ve come to realise that the reason I’ve taken so long to accomplish many of my goals is because I was fixed on a particular outcome.
Being attached to a “final image” meant that I was unable to allow the process to unfold naturally. I didn’t give myself enough room to experiment and let the ideas grow in the direction they needed to.
I believe that this is a result of linear, industrialised thinking—where mechanical goals are set, and ridged steps are manufactured, so that nothing is left to chance.
However an idea, a goal or a life is not a machine. These are a living things that need to have the space to grow, in whatever direction they need to.
Bar #4: I don’t know how to do it.
The industrialised schooling system seems to be set up for dependency and failure, even though it claims to do the opposite.
The lessons we are subconsciously taught at school are far more powerful than the superficial facts we learn about geography or math.
What school really seems to teach us is that the experts (teachers) have all the knowledge, and unless you spend a lot of money training to become an expert, your ability to achieve things is limited.
The reality is that we have the capacity to learn anything.
With “teach yourself” YouTube videos on practically everything—we can free ourselves from the idea that only the experts can know and achieve great things.
Bar #5: I can’t be bothered.
When I go back and spend time in the “civilised world” the one thing I really notice is how bloody boring it is.
In a place where you can buy everything you need and want, it seems to spoil the fun of existing!
It’s no wonder that the highly intelligent, ingenious and curious species of humanity is going a little bit insane—humans need invention! Not “to-buy” inventions, in the form of technology or culture, but to actually invent.
The boredom I was subconsciously feeling before, would manifest itself in the thought that I couldn’t be bothered.
Why bother to make your own chair and table set, when you can pop down to the shops and buy it? Why bother growing your own food, when you can buy it any time of the year?
Logically it didn’t make sense, but this is why I needed to find a place where it does make sense to build my own bed and grow my own food—and enjoy being a creator and not just a consumer!
The industrial lifestyle may be comfortable and convenient, however, not only is it destroying the environment, it is also destroying what it means to be human.
When the oil runs out, we’ll be forced to face a lot of these mental bars anyway. But it’s unknown whether we’ll be subjected to stronger methods of control, as the political and financial system struggle to keep power.
Why not free ourselves now, and find out which mental “bars” are keeping us from a natural human experience?
*The UK can be found on the Company Houses business registration database as UK PLC.
**When the oil runs out civilisation is going to change whether we actively redesign it or not. The question is can we redesign it in a positive way or are we going to wait until the last moment and stand around flapping about in a panic?
Author: Suzanne Williams
Assistant Editor: Yoli Ramazzina / Editor: Travis May