❧ Original Journal Entry Date: 2020 February 19th
Starting to look for survival guides for a number of reasons, I checked the library at school. It didn’t really have what I’m looking for. The librarian looked, but the closest books were from the perspective and resources that are inherently modern. Problem: There are probably better ways to learn now, but maybe the better term is self-sufficient, actually independent of those technologies to live. We’re living in an ever-increasing inversion of reality, with its inflicted damage to the conditions of humanity (and its environments). It’s like a self-locking system. It is no surprise that a sort of domestication syndrome is most common in the “developed” nations.
OK, what am I actually going to do with these? How are they going to benefit me? I don’t know, but that’s part of how to explain “why it’s good” to some people who won’t understand the other important reason why—ultimately, with many people, facts and evidence are pointless without the encompassing worldview that fosters them… It means something more that people find their own ways to independence. That’s why I don’t like the increase in glasses, just for example. Not just because it’s good and (should be) normal to have 20/20 vision (in the past, it was just a sign of erudition, because of the wealth and extensiveness of nearwork required for that, but not really today), but because nowadays it mostly stems from something intrinsically wrong with the structure of “developed” society (“the best that it ever has been”) and a total lack of concern for that, that the “progress” that causes it must be inevitable, which then indicates how people aren’t using technology in so much as technology is using people. We have forgotten human limits. I recall saying when I was younger: “I don’t like ____ because it/they aren’t natural” then getting immediately dismissed: “it must be natural because nature made us and we made them”. Maybe I didn’t grow out of that. It isn’t always the fault of the person who has or gives these tools of dependency out, but they shouldn’t be there.
Either way, all right, there is always an intrinsic benefit (even necessity) to it, yes, but it is always secondary, and in many ways, the overall need for self-sufficiency–for everyone to have that to choose–is more impermeable. You can debate forever what the facts and evidence are and how they support or oppose the particular conclusion. We need something that isn’t debatable. I wouldn’t accept such a society as this is becoming even if it was found to be more “beneficial” to humanity (even though it is not, either) on all metrics, because the intrinsic wrong is subjugating humanity to such extents of engineering that it changes what it means to be human in the first place. I’m afraid I’ve already lost the debate, since we at the frontier of less integrity say it’s about might, not right. Streamlining life/nature for “higher purposes” (the list is endless, but the long-term examples range from commerce to pure dogmatism), on a mass scale nonetheless, is not and never would be acceptable.
On the flip side, relatedly or not, I have a strange admiration for the Amish, even though I don’t agree with everything that they do or believe. (Another comparison is Orthodox monastics.) It’s just the simplicity and self-sufficiency of their lifestyle, their connection as a community, so much doesn’t seem “quaint” at all but in fact wholesome and severely lacking from the modern life. There’s a different reason behind a lot of their choices to decline certain practices (e.g., no mustaches happened just from the coincidence that they were more common among military, no cameras because of their connection to vanity, etc.), and their rejection of electricity or other technologies, for example, is not from the view that they’re inherently evil, but because of their implications (”temptations”). If you’re worried from a medical perspective, it really depends on the person/family. Their religious interpretations don’t forbid medical practices or hospitals in themselves, and the community will “chip in” if costs become an issue, but they learn, too, to value health as something good and should be there. Illness is not the expectation.
I don’t know if I’m romanticizing it too much. [I ask this almost every time that I say something good about anything, which is actually sad… the point shouldn’t be just to find fault everywhere.] The Amish are also known for their tendency to shun or isolate people who unrepentantly go against their core beliefs or practices, but hey, that’s what society as a whole already does.
The other thing, and maybe it depends on the community (a lot of power is decentralized, which is good and is what a friend suggested as a practical way whereby a person living in a society may have any real freedom in government/politics), but some sources say that they don’t allow musical instruments because of spiritual and social reasons. I don’t understand, to be fully honest. It sort of reminds me, however, of how the Orthodox generally (except for some churches on a local level that allow them for a biblical purpose) do not use instruments in their liturgies. Everything is mostly sung. It can actually be very beautiful, more beautiful than would be accompanied by instruments. For example, a chanting of the Paraklesis to the Theotokos I find beautiful, from both the singing itself and what it conveys: a spiritual and devotional treasure. (Not evaluating from a theological perspective or the question of idolatry vs. veneration—that would require another entry; it’s fair to say that I’ve set aside that reaction to appreciate it for its devotional, cultural, aesthetic, etc. purpose.) I don’t know if I want to (have to) live in a society though; that was closer to what I was trying to avoid, not because society itself is bad but… that isn’t important.
When I took the one dog [yes, I get the irony here with what I just said :/–this is just about what everything reminds me of, of course: it is naive to think that we could re-alter animals back to their original states, and that interference is why this happened], Stella, for a walk, everything around was in a passage from winter to spring. It was wonderfully cold but not cold enough to keep the ice and snow from melting and shimmering brightly through the trees. Birds were chirping and singing pleasantly. People joke about what bad things they could be blabbering, but I’d like to not imagine that. Maybe we aren’t supposed to know; it’s their language. They don’t have to be degenerates like everyone else. The sunlight felt nice, like always, and the scene was simply enchanting. It severely bothers me why this is given up, so often bypassed, by commuters who are busy to do what, exactly?
Everyone is so busy with everything except life itself, unfolding at every moment. This is close to all that’s really there.
A while after getting back, the dog at some point leaped onto and took the place on a chair where I was at. I made her get down, but then I felt bad and tried pointing to another chair where she could lay down. Nope, she curls up on the floor. I put a blanket over her, but then she takes off to the other room. When checking up on the dog a little later, I found her on another chair and next beside her the blanket.