Wednesday, May 03, 2017

On The Slow Tailing Off Of Involvement With Civilization

I am becoming increasingly mindful of the fact that by and large, I can get by without the bulk of civilization.

No, not materially really - not at this point anyway, and perhaps not at all to level I would wish.  But the longer I am here, the less and less reasons I find for wandering far from my home or going out on a regular basis.

Part of it, of course, is financial.  The less I leave the home the less I find I spend.  And part of it is simply that going anywhere (at least where we are now) involves a great deal of traffic, something I have never really been fond of (and find myself, in a curmudgeonly way, less so every year).  

But I think a great deal of it is simply that I find that civilization is rolling over me and passing me by.

There is a certain comfort in being a relic, a fossil, a thing which has suddenly lost most of the relevance of the civilized powers that be (and are trying to make the world in an image).  One can sink beneath the chatter of the ongoing events, ignore the breathless articles about how society is changing (always, seemingly, for the better) and the future is inevitably bright (although it never really actually seems to work out that way), and simply go about living one's life.  Good heavens, as I sit and think about it the very real possibility exists that one could, with a little it of effort, be completely oblivious to the world and its happenings.

But this is somewhat hard to do in the midst of civilization.  The world presses in on you in almost every way and at almost every level.  One can consciously concentrate on being invisible  (what would the modern version of The Invisible Man be? Someone who is completely off the Interweb?  Would they, too, eventually go mad in the world of the connected?) but the amount of time and energy spent on maintaining this level of invisibility is draining, like a Romulan cloaking device that draws some much energy you cannot use it all the time.

There are other things, I am sure, to be out away from it all.  Perhaps the press of needing to interact with someone can become overwhelming.  Maybe the disconnectedness of the world as it continues on would drive one to distraction.  

But how much more "terrible"  can it really be?   In the age of connectedness and control, the true rebel is the one who rejects both of these as the requirement of existence in the modern age.  The true counterculture, as always, is to not be part of the culture at all.

I am, for the moment, far away from this place and state of mind.  But even I am finding more and more reasons not to go out, not to tune in, not to plug in.  And perhaps, given my current life situation, that is what has to be at this point in time and space:  a certain level of involvement but with increasing levels of withdrawal.

As my hero Herrick Kimball would say, it is as much a place of mind as it is a place that is.

4 comments:

Rain said...

Hi TB :) I think I've nearly reached that life you're talking about. And I honestly find it much easier to live like a semi-hermit than to be a part of society. Mind you, I don't have kids or family members in my life, but again, those were all choices made by me so that I could actually enjoy the time I have here on Earth. I'm lucky I have a partner who feels the same way and has also no need for his family members. We don't have a television, we don't follow current events and we don't care to have friends.

You know what's funny? How OTHER people react. When we first moved here, we interacted more with people in the village. People would ask us to join them in social gatherings and we always declined. Of course, other people would judge us for it, we must be unfriendly, or snobs or something was wrong with us...Our neighbour often told us that living in solitude will make a person miserable. That one can't NOT be part of society. One has a RESPONSIBILITY to be part of the community. We both kind of laughed under our breaths when she said that because she is clearly un-approving of our chosen lifestyle.

Do we care? Nah. We don't associate with her anymore, we are still friendly, we'll say hello, but that's it.

Our goal is a cottage in the woods, no neighbours, minimal contact with anyone, rarely leaving home - thus setting up self-sufficiency, and just enjoying our lives with each other and our pets.

My truly only connection with other people (besides Alex) is my blog, which I do enjoy, but I enjoy it because it's safe and there is no pressure to socialize.

I think that it's very possible to have an easy life of solitude as long as you forget what others think of you. And honestly, if I was forced to be part of society, yes, it would drive me mad at this point.

LindaG said...

I can't disagree with any observation here.

There is a show that was on the National Geographic Channel last year that I found quite interesting. The Boonies. About 4 different people/couples, who live life off the grid. One guy lives in the caves of NW Arkansas; one guy in the deserts of Arizona, if I remember right. One couple had a place in the trees that they built themselves (none of the fancy Treehouse TV show stuff); and another couple had bought a really old farmhouse or such, and moved their kids there.

If you need to pull the plug, be safe and God bless.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I certainly think that, as I grow older, it prevents personal arguments and misunderstandings which lead to stress and unhappiness. It is as if people are making a diminishing impact on my life. Which is okay. Certainly I can live with a great deal less of interaction than I do now. Now if I can find the way to downsize living to a level of income that is sustainable, then we have a plan.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Part of it Linda, as I indicated above, is that I am less and less the target of society - and thus I have less and less interest in it. And thus, all the baggage that go with it. Suddenly earning just for the sake of earning goes nowhere, socializing just for the sake of socializing is a burden, and the only knowledge I find I want has little to do with the current world.

I will not be pulling the plug anytime soon I think, for financial reasons if nothing else. But I will be making a more conscious effort on what I do and purchase and spend my time on and why I do it.