by Aaron McCarty
(Special to Collapsenet)
© Copyright 2012 Aaron McCarty. – Please Distribute Widely.
I am 32 now...8 years away from 40. Already my teeth are telling me that I am composed of organic material that is decaying more rapidly as time passes. I might as well get used to it now. The pain is the only part I really do not like, but then that is obvious isn't it? I'm supposed to be settled in a career at this age. If we are to listen to the dictates of society, that is. I seem to be doing the opposite. It also seems to be a pattern that I have followed for most of my life. I've been at PMC EMS for five and a half years now and I'm moving on. I don't think I've ever done anything for five and a half years, so it's a new record for me...progress even. I'm dropping out of the rat race rather than cementing my position within it. I've made contact with Transition/Permaculture advocates in Asheville NC, which seems to be where I need to be. My wife loves it in Asheville but I don't think she's ready to move there. We have to move slowly, one-step at a time. Walking away from our house is a big step for us. It gives me hope that she will come around to seeing the world as I do because that is how she truly sees it and not because she wants to keep me happy.
Materialism and familial duty have been largely responsible for keeping me in the Matrix for as long as I have been in it. I think I'm down to an attachment to just my book collection at this point. I could give up all of the other trappings of a domesticated life of debt servitude without much duress to my psyche now. This ability is due to a shift in my priorities. I want very little to do with the programming of television and canned entertainment any longer. I don't mind staring at this computer screen nearly as much as staring at a television screen. At least this is interactive. The interactions on this screen are abstract, but they interact with my will. The internet is an amazing tool that can be used to facilitate life, but it tends to lend itself more freely to wasting away. If it helps me find the people I need to find, then it's a good thing. The internet has become that for me. Up until now, I have used it to find companionship with anonymous avatars projected into the cloud by people I will never meet. I'm now using the net to find real people within my physical reach.
I'm not sure that Asheville is where I need to be. I know when I am there I get a sense of home that I have gotten nowhere else. It feels like I belong there. Like I am understood there. I feel like the people that are there do not need to strain to understand me. In fact, I will be challenged to understand them. The knowledge I want can be found there. Therefore I am signing up for a permaculture class that will start this spring and last all summer. Its one weekend a month from April until August with two weekends in June. I expect to make connections that will assist me in finding where I belong.
I have had doubts about dropping out of the Matrix since I gave my notice of resignation to my corporate employer. I will be living largely rent-free by moving in with family. The part of me that feels I will have to return to the matrix wants to pay more money into the Matrix to gain more certification in my chosen field of healthcare. That part of me tells me to go back to school to get a nursing degree or paramedic certification. That part of me wants me to think that this is the prudent thing to do, and I suppose it is the prudent thing to do if staying in the Matrix to gain the sustenance my family needs is the goal. What about my soul? What about the fact that healthcare has become a practice in profiting on human disease? What about the fact that we no longer have patients that we care for but customers that we are charged with appeasing? What needs to be fully realized by all of us is that staying in the Matrix will not help our families find happiness, joy, equanimity, or provide a deep sense of meaning, belonging, and community. It will provide shelter and pretend food along with pretend medicine. It will provide us with a community of zombies to be alone together. It will provide familiarity and a false sense of security and comfort. It can only provide us with falsities because that's what the Matrix is by its very nature. The Matrix is a false illusion that we have all collectively agreed upon without our conscious consent or knowledge.
Community seems to be the number one requirement for happiness in life. Community will provide all of the physical requirements for existence. The problem is that America has very few communities. There are people who are working on establishing communities based on an intelligent stewardship of the land and of the Earth. They are working towards a way of living on the Earth that pays attention to all life and moves in harmony with it rather than rampaging unaware of our destructive actions! This is what Transition and Permaculture are concerned about. I have much to offer in this regard. Every person has much to offer if they just know that they first have it. We are conditioned from the moment we exit the womb to sell our labor for money. We are taught indirectly, before we can even talk, that the world requires money from us. We have to work to gain money so that we can secure a place to exist. This is a lie. We don't have to sell our time for money. We can trade it for community. That's what communities do. The members trade their time for a place to belong. This is how tribes work. I believe that tribes should be the fundamental level on which humans organize themselves. I don't think we can manage much more complexity then is found in tribes. Of course, when you have 7 billion people on the Earth it's hard to remain in tribes. In fact, it’s not possible for all 7 billion to belong to a tribe, is it? Has there ever been an organizational method in our history that has worked better than the tribal model? Maybe tribes united by some type of central monasticism? Something like what was found in Tibet before China decided to reach out and annex that holy land. Herman Hesse did a pretty good job conjuring up Castalia in "The Glass Bead Game." Maybe something along the lines of a central Tibet surrounded by Castalia surrounded by Tribes would be an ideal model for human civilization.
What matters to me is that it seems true enough that the tribal level offers happiness. It offers a human scaled community that has proven itself. All members from the eldest to the youngest have a place in a tribal community. This is not so for the way that we are organized now. Our elderly have no place in this society. This fact points to something very wrong with our way of life. This is a way of life that sanctions and subsidizes facilities to discard our elders to while profiting from their brain dead statuses. Appropriately enough, these are mental statuses that are won by a life of taking in the toxins required to grease the machine parts of the Matrix's insanity. The elderly should offer a wellspring of wisdom and knowledge from an entire life's worth of experiences. The up and coming elderly largely seem to have none of that to offer because they have spent their entire lives servicing the myth of progress paradigm without questioning its validity. They have spent their entire existence ignoring that we live on a finite planet. The system they have serviced, the Matrix, is failing miserably just in time for their children to inherit the mess. I am of that generation that is inheriting the mess. Someone has to stand up and demand change. They have to not only demand change, but point out the insanity and refuse to continue servicing it. Beyond this, we must begin being the change we want to see in the world. I am refusing to continue servicing the old paradigm of destructive progress.
This is largely what my notice to the Matrix is about. I don't know exactly what needs to be done for the future to succeed if success is defined as nurturing all life. However, I have a pretty damn good idea how to proceed. Muddling forward into the future is not all that bad if you know a few things about reality. The two memes that need to inform my generation of leaders are "you can't have infinite growth on a finite planet," and "until you change the way money works you change nothing" (as Michael Ruppert is so fond of repeating ad naseum). There has to be a starting point. Realizing that we can't have infinite growth on a finite planet is the best place to start. It seems that the money issue will work itself out by honoring the first maxim. You can directly extrapolate that this means a steady state economy (or something like it) will be the only way to proceed. Arguing the semantics of free will, freedom, liberty, and the like are all red herrings.
There has to be something in place to keep tyrannical dictators from rising to power. Weapons exist and we can't ignore that fact. Unfortunately, conflict is part of what it means to exist on a finite planet. I suppose if it were an infinite planet, there would be no need to fight because everybody would have plenty. Being that it's finite, there is not enough for everybody in a growth economy. This is the main root of conflict. Maybe one day, when we reach something like a steady state, we can begin the process of de-armament. For now, weapons exist and so we must have them to guard against tyranny. However, we need to begin with the work of honoring the nature of our reality. Servicing the Matrix is doing the opposite. If we do not begin resisting the mandates of the Matrix, it will only continue its projected path into ever-increasing tyranny. At some point, it will grow beyond our control and we will be forced to comply at the point of a gun. In many ways, this is already the case. One can hope that peak energy will take the power away from the Matrix, but that can only be a hope at this point. Either way, focusing on this is a waste of time. We must begin to live differently while we still have the option and the time. And so, I am beginning.
This is my resignation from the Matrix. I will be operating from outside of your bounds. I will still be here, in the Matrix, because I have a physical body and no other options at present. However, I am beginning to see the true shape of reality. I am going to be bending the rules now. You no longer own my psyche...it has been liberated from your requirements. There are many like me. Michael Ruppert calls us Post Petroleum Humans. So I'm going to get busy doing the work of building a world that does not honor your rules and presuppositions. It is possible to live differently...to live in a way that honors life and creation rather than premature death and destruction. I'm standing up now, and I'm beginning to see that there are others just like me standing up as well.