By Rishi Miranhshah
Aug 10, 2015
The mess we are in, doesn’t need any elaboration. Nor does the fact that begging those who derive the most power and profit from the system that works to our own detriment, as well as to that of the whole planet, to please change it, hasn’t worked. Evidently, the system runs on our sweat and cells. Instead of complaining and supporting simultaneously, I guess it would make more sense to stop feeding all our energy and intelligence that run it.
It would make more sense not to acquiesce to slavery and sell our bodies, minds, hearts and souls in exchange for our needs of food and shelter.
The ten additional reasons, open to debate of course:
- You will stop being a leech and start being a human: Cities are centripetal in nature, sucking in everything from around till nothing is left but a lifeless, barren desert. And then they collapse in that desert. They’re egocentric, demanding, insatiable giants gobbling up all the resources from all around the globe, returning nothing but their excreted pollution.
This sucking in and gobbling up actually involves a lot of bloodshed and annihilation of a lot of lives, human and non-human. Even if you are peaceful and non-violent by nature, and vegan in practice, you remain an accomplice.
- You will begin breathing life into you: In Sanskrit the word for breath is prana, which is a synonym for the vital life force. It is a collective life force that runs through all living beings. The breath of all living beings – that of diverse forms of plant and animal life – contribute to this energy and make it a life force. The more you are surrounded by a variety of plants and trees and other living beings, the more pregnant the air will be with this vital force, and consequently the more alive you will be. In the city you breathe the breath of the machines; industries and cars. And we all know the consequences.
You may balloon up in a city, but the vital force will always be missing.
You will need a forest to breathe in the life force; you cannot do that with the exhaust of a car.
- Your food will start passing on life to you: Just as you need this breath to be vital, so do plants and other animals. They need a healthy and vigorous community of plant and animal life to be healthy and vigorous themselves. They are interdependent. And you can only be as healthy as the plants and animals you consume. You may balloon up your plants on NPK, or animals on hormones and antibiotics, but the vital force will always be missing. Life is way smarter to be captured in your profiteering schemes.
- You won’t have to add poison to your and your children’s food: It’s quite hard to wrap one’s head around this - that why a species would choose to poison its own food before eating it; at the same time claiming to be the most intelligent species on earth.
The food we eat, we all know, becomes our body, our mind, our thoughts, our spirit… that is us. It’s not simply a question of calories, proteins and vitamins, as the city life invariably is bound to perceive. Cities snap the connection, and give the illusion that the source of food is the supermarket, and food is the sum-up of the label. We register what we see.
When growing one’s own food, one begins to see and appreciate that life sustains on the life of other living beings. And that the quality of our life depends on our relationship with the living beings that sustain our life. That becomes the very basis of our physical and spiritual being. One feels physically, morally and ethically cleansed, having stopped consuming – be it the battery chickens and hogs, or the Roundup corn or soy – and thus no longer being an accomplice in giving the animals or plants a life no one should be condemned to.
As a bonus yes, and a very big one, you save yourself and your children from being poisoned, and sending out invites to those nasty illnesses.
- You will stop having a watch and start having time: In the city, you may have a Rado, but you cannot have time (as the Afghan proverb goes – You have watches, we have time). Once out of the grip of the hours of your work, and the monetary evaluation of time, you will begin to sense a new meaning of time than the one you have been conditioned to. You will start sensing its rhythmic nature and its pulsating and liberatory effects on you than the restrictive and imprisoning ones. And as a bonus, if you are off the grid, your circadian rhythms would have a better chance of aligning with the natural ones.
This also means more time for your lover, children… your family. And a campfire whenever you want.
Plus, you won’t have to abandon your children with nannies or request their grandparents to raise them. That wasn’t the point of making babies with so much love in the first place, right?
- Your rat-self may start wearing off: Once no more locked in the clock, and released from the week-weekend trap, your rat-self may start wearing off. Not subjected to unnatural and impossible divisions of life anymore, best of all, you won’t have to introduce yourself thusly, “Well, I work hard, and play harder!”
- Your shrink may lose a client: City works on you in two ways. Your job, and (thus) life, being monotonous, repetitive and (thus) boring; isolating and alienating, necessitates stronger stimulations and thrills. City stimulates your senses and mind, but cannot nourish them. Stimulation dissipates energy, you cannot afford it forever. Plus, you need to keep on increasing its intensity, frequency and variety in order to keep on deriving pleasure. Lack of stimulation makes you dull and depressed. You constantly need to be convinced of your existence by some stimulation, lest you get pulverized into nothingness; darkness unto darkness. You are left with no choice, but to, “work hard, and play harder”. The shrink helps you maintain the status quo with medication, the yoga guru with meditation.
Once released from your solitary confinement in your respective boxes called homes, cars and offices, out in the open in real spaces where beats of your heart become one with the pulsations of your surroundings, in a multitude of deep communing relationships with trees, plants and lakes; animals and birds and insects; the wind and the sun and the rain, your senses begin to get nourished and your mind healed. There is a good chance, you won’t need drugs to keep you sane in a sane world.
- You will start growing a spine: I doubt if there are any studies, medical or otherwise, to support my claim. But I have a feeling, in the absence of a boss, one starts growing a spine. I’ve also heard that office work weakens one’s spine, and working on the land requires a good one. Survival on land appreciates a tough spine; success in city, a limp one. (Older anatomy books including Gray’s Anatomy and Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches show a healthy J shaped spine, unlike our S shaped ones. People in many indigenous cultures still have J shaped spines, and in some of them back pain is virtually non-existent.) So, chances are you may start having a good one.
Disclaimer: Author is not responsible for any matrimonial disputes ensuing the regrowth or strengthening of the spine.
- You will make new friends: As a plus, there will also be other than those of your own species. Yes, there will be moles and lizards and frogs; wasps and beetles and butterflies; ravens and robins and doves; rabbits and deer and foxes… besides farm animals and birds of your and your kids’ choice of course, which translates into a better physical, emotional and spiritual health for you and your family. Your children will have fewer fears and you won’t hear panic shrieks in the house the next time someone spots a cockroach or a spider.
The best part is, you won’t even have to go to Starbucks to meet new friends.
- YOU will stop the buck from passing: Plucked from city life and placed on a piece of land is tough and challenging no doubt, and you would require a completely different set of skills as well as that of ethics from the ones already acquired for the city. But the process can be very exciting too and can infuse you with a new life. To begin with, you will have to design your land. What goes where? How to design a natural home? What are your water sources? How to harvest and store your water and meet energy needs? How to grow food? What farm animals to keep and how to raise them? And contrary to what city life teaches, how not to poison your land, water and air? Because now, your survival depends on it. Making life off a piece of land needs earth ethics to survive; making city (and thus city life) off a piece of land, a lack of these.
City life is based on passing the responsibility, because city itself is an irresponsible act. We know that the land, the water and the air – the very basis of our life on this planet – are being poisoned, but no one can be held responsible. I’m given to think that it is someone else’s responsibility, though I myself am a participant.
On a piece of land, you learn to be accountable for the impact of your stay on earth; in the city – how to pass the buck!