An interesting video about a German who lives off the wastes of society, demonstrating that we live in a world of abundance and that scarcity is a misperception rooted in our relationship with the prevalent abundance. I have mixed feelings/thoughts about this (there are english captions):
As I was watching it I thought about strawbale and earthship construction methods. Both are prominent players in the eco-construction field and both rely on the wastes generated by modern day society. This dependence on waste questions, in my mind, their sustainability. If one day we stop massive monoculturing of straw-producing crops (or leave the straw to decompose and nourish the soil in which it grew) and stop moving around on tires and, for example, start moving around on magnets (or bicycles, or heck stop moving altogether) then both these construction methods become obsolete. What then? We are still going to need to build houses – how will we go about doing that?
I live in a Romanian village. There is no waste here. Everything is used, then reused, then reused and continually used even when things are unsafe or unreliable to use. This mentality has its limitations. Animals, for example, are also used … and mistreated. Forests are used … illegaly harvested and entire ecosystems are in a state of deterioration. Soil is used … and is dying, infertile and inable to hold water. People are used … there is very little sharing and giving … most giving is done in barter mentality that can be as careless and ruthless as money.
I placed myself in this reality and in this reality a life cannot be created through sharing. I find myself reflecting on many issues faced by leading edge thinking of more modernized societies and I often, by trying to apply their solutions to the reality in which I exist, come to the conclusions that their logic is incomplete or flawed simply because it is not applicable here in a Romanian village. They seem to imply that the Romanian village would first have to become a wasteful modern city-like entity and then, upon the waste, we could apply these new “solutions”. I believe that Romanian village life presents a raw challenge and a valuable playground for experimenting with a better future.
It is in that spirit that I questioned the ideas in this movie. Raphael is a courageous and committed person. He is a force of nature that is much needed in a modern city-scape. His existence complements and balances the wasteful habits that modern cities have become. His efforts may inspire others and may give birth to new ideas. But his view, to me, is incomplete. His solution makes him a parasite on the back of a beast that itself is threatened – making his life-balance as fragile as that of the people who’s waste he consumes.
My financially-poor neighbors (destructive though they may to their environment) are still the most resilient people I’ve met … yet their way of life is dying and to me unappealing. In this reality I ask myself what to do? In this reality I see the useful functions that money can have and I live with nagging and difficult (for me) questions not on how to escape money but how to shape it into a better tool.
A few meta-observations came to me as I re-read this post.
- Wow! There is a growing global society of deeply motivated and caring people who are compelled to question, challenge and create a better world.
- Wow! These people were born from the patterns of the existing world. That indicates that the existing world we can be so critical of has embedded in it DNA the potential for becoming better.
- Wow! Many of these people seem to be rooted in a “protesting-against” mentality. That indicates that they are still indirectly defined by and tied to the patterns they want to change. I have a feeling that’s a good thing(just getting used to it myself). What may not be is not acknowledging this relationship and not appreciating its evolutionary role.