Survivalists' Guide for the New Millennium: Chapter 2
© 2000 BY MATTHEW WEBB AND COURTNEY SCHMIDT
Any or all of this material may be used by any interested person or organization, for the purpose of spiritual and/or intellectual enlightenment. We ask that you mention the source of this material in your publication(s), (the World Mind Society, and Matthew Webb) so as to promote the mission of this organization.
TO LIVE RATHER THAN
LIVING TO WORK
dawn of recorded history, a major period of transition occurred. Nomadic
hunter-gatherer clans transformed themselves into larger communities who
farmed the land. This they
did by planting their own crops from native seeds, starting an
agricultural age that would allow greater resources of community energy.
Greater resources of energy encouraged philosophy and technology to
develop. The planting of crops relieved some dependency upon the
generosity of the environment, thereby freeing our ancestors to pursue
areas of activity other than sheer survival.
Communities no longer had to spend most of their time searching for
food, and a more contemplative, thinking period for humanity began to gain
momentum. In other words,
when people began to grow their own food on a dependable basis, they went
beyond the focus of the next meal towards one of inner growth.
It is evident that when there is enough time and free energy
devoted to the understanding of cosmos and self, it is then that the
improvement of the inner human condition has a chance to flourish.
Despite all the advances of technology, the real modern irony is
that time and energy are exactly what we lack most.
This would seem to run contrary to the indications of common sense,
since automation, mechanization and industrialization have taken over the
world. Potentially at least,
our capacity to accomplish nearly any physical and social task desired,
has increased beyond real limit. It would seem logical that since we have
all of these devices and resources at our command, with enormous
hydroelectric, fossil fuel, solar, wind, nuclear and plant fiber energies
driving them, that humanity should be released from a focus upon day to
day survival more than ever before. Our
free time and energy should be absolutely abundant, allowing the full
cultivation of mental and spiritual potentials.
Yet this is not so, and it is important to understand why.
Compared to all previous generations, modern humanity has control
of greater physical, mechanical and technical ability than was ever
dreamed of even 75 years ago. We
have so much, in fact, that the scope of our riches would dazzle
the 18th century imagination like a fantastic dream.
Every conceivable need of ours is potentially met a thousand fold.
“Needs” we didn’t know existed are also catered to in painstaking
detail. Despite all of this
we cannot honestly claim to live better lives than those of our great
grandparents. We cannot with
any honesty state that the average person today is more intelligent,
wiser, healthier or happier than those of three generations ago.
We certainly cannot claim to have more spare time or uncommitted
energy to devote to the finer things in life.
The one thing we can say is that we have access to a larger
stockpile of knowledge. The
sad fact is that possessing knowledge does not imply its wise or
Although humanity has more knowledge and technical capability, we
are also more wasteful than ever before.
We live inside the mindset of the disposable world, where
everything from packaging, food, devices of all descriptions, housing,
animals, plants and even people are “disposable”, or in other words
expendable. Although there is
a far greater potential for physical prosperity, we spend much more than
ever before on advertising campaigns, devices, wars, institutions,
research for the sake of using up grant funds, government beaurocrasy and
false fashion images, which do us absolutely no good whatsoever.
No, it cannot be realistically said that our lives are better lived
than those of even three generations ago.
It may be argued that science has cured many diseases and extended
the average life span. But at
the same time this modern age has spawned a large number of new and
incurable diseases which are worse in many ways than those traditionally
known. Life spans are
increased, but more often than not, extra years are lived like those of a
vegetable, like a shell that has lost the spark of mind and brain because
of the decades-long embalming process supervised by modern
pharmaceuticals. Have we
actually increased the quality of living, and would our great
grandparents have really wished for an extended life if it meant living
out ones’ remaining years in misery, pollution and paranoia?
In most cases the honest answer would have to be; “NO!”
Just as a caged animal would rather be free even though it is given
the best food and fresh water whenever it desires, so too would those of
us who still remember what freedom and naturalness are.
We are not born to be merged with plastic tubes, wires, destructive
chemicals and surgical implants. For
the most part what we witness today is not the true prolongation of life,
but the avoidance
of death at any cost, including clarity of mind, personal volition and
Just imagine all the devices that are freely available to us, which
were largely or totally unknown even 50 years ago.
We have multi-cycle washer/dryer sets, self-defrosting
refrigerators, 300+ channel cable and satellite entertainment systems, 40
feature microwave ovens, and fast, efficient automobiles of every color,
description and accessory. We
have jet airplanes and cruise liners, sailboats, amusement parks, websites
and every possible electronic device from the electric toothbrush to the
multiple-head compact disc playing, quadraphonic stereo system.
We have the world news delivered to our doorstep and piped into
lavishly carpeted living rooms, adorned with the arts and crafts of the
entire world. Our homes
contain efficient ovens, hot and cold running water and advanced personal
computers. For the yard there
are riding lawn mowers, pools, electric shrub trimmers and ceramic
decorations of every description. Yet
despite all this we still have the nagging feeling that this is not
enough, and will never be enough.
Regardless of all these devices we still have less personal time
and free energy than even a decade ago.
When a comparison is made with the values considered important to
our own great grandparents to those of the modern day, a startling
contrast reveals itself. They
devoted much of their time to entirely different life focuses, and not the
least of these was the concern for other human beings.
In contrast, what we are willing to have time for today, indicates
a uniform dedication to only one thing; MONEY.
For instance, we don’t have time to raise our own children.
The first thing we do with them when they are old enough to walk or
even crawl, is to hand them over to the baby sitter and then the day care
center. After this comes the
surrogate parenting of the local kindergarten and grade school.
We don’t have the time to teach them anything, to really give
them the love they need or the attention they crave, nor even the good
example they seek. We don’t
have the time or energy to explain the life lessons we have learned
through trial and experience. We
don’t have the time to understand our children, to work with them as
minds capable of independent thought, or even to develop a lasting bond of
trust. And why is this you
may ask? Because we’re too
busy constantly working, buying all manner of things we don’t really
need and worshipping the dollar as Almighty God.
The modern complaint is that there is just not enough time to stay
healthy. We don’t exercise
enough, (if at all) because there “aren’t enough hours in the day” after work. We don’t bother reading ingredient labels on foods, or
cooking healthy meals for ourselves, because this requires too much time
and effort. Instead, it is
common to grab a 6-pack of liquid “X”, and a bag of fried, curly
miscellaneous, (sometimes the yellow variety and sometimes the orange).
To these stomach contents is added a pill for heartburn and
indigestion, as well as a dozen or so prescription medications. Because we don’t have the time to take care of our health,
we let the doctor do that for us through the surgical removal of organs
and through chemical therapies whose side effects are worse than what they
supposedly cure. And why is
this you may ask? Because
we’re too busy constantly working, buying all manner of things we
don’t really need and worshipping the dollar as Almighty God.
We also don’t have the time to care for our own elderly; that is
left up to retirement centers and “homes” whose quality of care is
based upon the amount of money paid, (at least in theory).
We don’t have the time to get to know our own neighbors except by
sheer coincidence, or to develop a sense of community and local
self-government, because the day “just seems too short.”
There is no opportunity to actually
enjoy that new house or acreage, since no one is ever home during
the day, and at night everyone is too tired from work to do anything but
sit and watch television. We
don’t have the time or energy to really understand the motives behind
world events or our own governments but after all, why bother, since the
“news” covers all this in 45 seconds or less.
We don’t have the time to live a spiritual life, to meditate or
to realize the nature of Truth or God.
All of this we let someone else interpret, in simple everyday terms
and short sentences, which correspond to an equally short attention span.
We don’t even have the time to understand our own selves, to deal with
internal thoughts and emotions. This is supposedly the task of our counselor or
psychotherapist. It is said
that there is not enough time to relax, to take care of personal business
or to actually hold an in-depth, intelligent conversation with others.
We live in an age where everything, including the running of
one’s own mind, body and life, is left to the so-called “experts”.
There is an expert available for every conceivable contingency,
from cleaning your house to the interpretation of your own thoughts.
We have reached a point of cultural crisis where no one actually
forms their own opinions based upon their own experience. Instead they
quote this expert or that company’s representative with believable
conviction, as though they themselves had spent much time and thought
researching that very subject. And
why is this you may ask? Because
we’re too busy constantly working, buying all manner of things we
don’t really need and worshipping the dollar as Almighty God.
When we TAKE THE TIME to really stand back and sneak a quiet
moment, examining what we are doing with our lives, the results can come
as quite a shock. As
individuals we are perhaps more widely known as a 9 digit number than as a
person with a face. We are
assigned this number at the moment of birth as a matter of standard
procedure, and with it the watching eyes of circuits and keyboards the
world over keep track of our every move.
Our number survives our
physical death, marking the passing of yet another worn-out digit among
the billions of others who compose the work force, whose primary purpose it is to make the wealthy even
wealthier. We are taught from
a very early age that all the desirable things in life can only be found
from what is known as “your friendly
local retailer”, and that every precious treasure known to man, can
only be had from a shelf or a can via a handful of cash.
When something is free we immediately suspect that there is
something gravely wrong with its condition, or that it must have always
been worthless. It is for
money we are told, that we must work for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week,
340 days a year, for a minimum of 20 to 40 years.
When we do not involve ourselves in the worship of the state
religion, (money) or are, in other words not
working, it is assumed by others that we must be either sick,
irresponsible or deranged. Just
as the modern child is often found shaking a broken toy declaring, “Its
not working!” only to throw it away in disgust, society shakes the
unemployed saying, “It’s not working!” only to treat such persons as
undesirable. The person who
does not spend all their time in wage slavery is seen as a loser, a
reject, a non-entity who has lost control of their lives regardless of any
private accomplishments which do not immediately yield the sacred cash. It would
seem that this culture believes that not only is there no higher purpose
in life other than to toil and sweat year after year, but that there is no
other legitimate purpose for good citizens, period.
In taking a moment to reflect on this attitude, the whole mess
begins to look like a C-grade science fiction movie with no real plot.
It is bizarre to say the least.
When our ancient ancestors worked, we can well imagine that they
did so only when it was necessary to plant or harvest a crop, to build a
new community home, to care for the sick, for the elderly and the
children, etc. In other words
they concerned themselves only with tasks that really needed to get done,
so that the process of life would carry on unhindered.
Their definition of the purpose of life was and is vastly different
than our own. To them, life
was not about destroying yourself in the name of money, but in the
enjoyment of life regardless of possessions.
But in a sane community never did they push themselves to the edge
of insanity or exhaustion to perform unneeded goals.
They did not build an extra three-story home a year, dig 10 miles
of spare canals, or burn 100 times the necessary firewood to cook dinner,
just to put in their 8 hours for the day or 40 hours for the week.
Impractical or excessive action was viewed as eccentric, or perhaps
even as the mark of lunacy. Today we still find indigenous cultures who, for exactly the
same reasons, regard modern society as a lunatic fringe whose only focus
is to devour all that is still good and right in the world. To them our
world just doesn’t make sense. To their eyes it is unnecessarily
complex, lacks natural instincts, knowledge and common sense, and can only
be regarded as hopelessly insane. We
have much to learn from this lucid viewpoint, and the “primitive”
cultures which embrace it.
the most bizarre aspect of materialism, and the 40 hour/30 year work mode,
is the fact that very few people ever question its logic.
For how logical is it to spend the majority of your adult life
working as hard as you can, just to fulfill a goal which is not even yours
to begin with? “The goal of
success” we are told, “is one of wealth, fame and position.”
Realistically speaking, of what practical use are these other than
as a futile attempt to prove to an uncaring world, just how
“successful” you can be? For
what purpose do we seek to impress others, other than through the
egotistical desire to demonstrate that we have worth in the eyes of a
corrupt society? Why must we spend over ½ of our waking lives accumulating
bigger, shinier “things” which we don’t really need, to impress
people we don’t really know, and to live lives that we don’t really
enjoy? The intelligent person must conclude that as a culture we
have forgotten that the purpose of work is to improve the quality of life,
not to inflate the EGO. At
present we live to work, rather than
working to live. This is
the exact opposite of what logic would advise.
The impartial observer of materialism will note, that the typical
person spends all their time in the acquisition of things they neither
need nor can afford. The
average adult lives in debt as a matter of course, forever making payments
to faceless institutions at high rates of interest. They work not so much to fulfill their own livelihood, but to
carry out the monstrous aspirations of corporate greed.
For them there is never enough money to buy all those things which
are imagined to be necessary, and yet which were unheard of even 10-30
years ago. One is prompted to
ask, “Why do we feel such a
need for thi