Sunday, January 28, 2007

the lighthouse band university

The Lighthouse Band University

Seeing how most of us have been out of school for a long time, a lot of us (members of the lighthouse band) have started to feel the need to excercise our brains again- to learn again. With a bit of plotting and scheming, we came up with the idea for the "Lighthouse Band University". We decided that each of us would research a topic, and we would take turns teaching once a week, holed up in someone's home (it being winter and all).

So last night was our first LHU session. It was very exciting! I opened with a class on medicinal herbs and their uses. It was very simple, perfect for the first time. We met at Heidi's house, ate snacks and chatted (plotted and schemed) for a while, then went thru the lesson, discussed it, and chatted and snacked some more. I think next week Danny is going to teach a class on Romania.

This is very exciting for us all, because, since most of us aren't in college or anything, this gives us an opportunity to learn all we can, and it's more motivating to learn with a community rather than alone. Also, we all have different strengths, and we can teach what we're good at, and share those things with our friends. And if there's something we really want to learn, we can research it and give a class on it. We can all help each other to learn & understand. Each person has something to give, and something to recieve (true anarchy!).

Some topics we are planning on researching are history of different countries, garbage & fast food & the effect of wastefulness, social studies & justice & the oppression of different peoples, physics, geology of the earth before & after the Flood, different arts & crafts, languages, and so on...

This is something anyone can do! You can start your own university in your own community of friends! Maybe we can share tips and ideas...

Monday, January 01, 2007

The negative effects of a capitalistic society

The Negative Effects of a Capitalistic Society

Pt. 1 - Time vs. Money

Upon first meeting someone, i am often asked "What do you do?". Generally, what is meant by this question is "what is your job?", ie, what do you do for money. And in my case, the reply expected is "i landscape", or "i am a landscaper". Our society, as a whole, has become so focused on career that we often forget that people are truly capable of many things. All through history, and as recently as 100 years ago even, people often built their own houses, grew as much of their own food as they could, raised animals for work and food, made and repaired their own clothing, furniture and other goods that they used everyday. People mostly worked outside, were not afraid of th' weather. They knew th' seasons, when to build, plant and harvest. But since the industrial "revolution" the average life of the common family now looks drastically different than it did for thousands of years. Very quickly people (especially in the usa) went from spending most of their time producing for themselves and their communities th' things they needed to spending most of their time making money to buy th' things they needed, which are mostly produced far away from their own communities. Gradually, we gave in to th' lie that our time is spent more effectively making money, with which we can buy th' things we need (and things we don't need) in far greater abundance than we and our local communities could have produced. And in many cases this is true. So we headed into th' towns and cities to get good jobs working away from home. (At first mostly men did this, while women continued to stay home and take care of th' house and land.) But as we spent more and more time away from home we realized we had no time to take care of all that land we used to use. And since we now had more money to buy th' food we eat and things we need, we no longer needed all that land anyway. It made good sense to move closer to town, onto a much smaller piece of property. And with this new abundance and diversity that money could buy, things seemed good for a while. And this is where we realize that "time is spent more effectively working to make money rather than goods" is a lie. You see, th' common people used to own most of th' land in this country, and work together to supply each others needs. Healthy interdependence. But as more people began moving into th' towns and cities, land ownership began to shift into th' hands of fewer people, mostly large corporations. The american public has by now sold over 80% of it's land to private companies. This is a scary thing. We have readily given our land to those who would abuse it with clear conscience, and who care not in th' least for us as people, whose only aim is to fatten their pockets, and everyday we agree to pay them for their rape and plunder of the earth, and for their healthless and nutrient deprived food, which cannot grow without the addition of chemical pesticides and fertilizers (which, of course, end up in our bodies. Been feeling tired lately?). We have herded ourselves like cattle into slaughter houses.
Right now we are living in a time of peak agricultural production. We can buy anything we need. But the earth and it's resources are being extracted at a dangerously alarming rate, and are not being replenished. Real food and other goods are even now becoming precious commodities. By real food i mean life-giving food, non GMO fruits and grains and vegetables. Another precious commodity is th' knowledge of how to do basic tasks that have kept people alive for thousands of years. Things like growing your own food, or as much of it as you can. Making, or at least mending, your own clothing. Building and taking care of your own house. Making a fire (to some this may seem ridiculous, but many people do not know how to make a proper fire, or how to cook with one). Baking bread. Living outside without destroying the area. There are many other tasks which used to be commonplace in peoples lives but are now limited to a very few number of folks. Most people simply don't have th' time outside of their jobs to do these things. As older generations pass away, so to does much of this practical knowledge. And since we live in a country of great abundance, many people don't even see a need for such knowledge.
But what we are doing is enslaving ourselves to ignorance. Ignorance, at least of necessary things, makes us feel worthless and helpless, like we cannot take care of ourselves and our families, not if we really had to. It's a feeling that too many of us suppress and ignore, which leads to violence and insanity, and even chauvinism. Our inner need to build, create, and provide for our loved ones gets pushed aside in our society, and takes second place to our quest for money, which is a false provider. We may be able to buy what we need, but as creative individuals and as communities, we are becoming helpless. Empty. We are dying, and deep down inside we feel this emptiness, though rarely realizing where it comes from.
But never fear, though we live in th' midst of a capitalistic and greedy society, there's many things we can do to awaken ourselves as creative beings. And th' first of these is learning to be content. We support th' very destruction of land and life by being greedy. By giving in to our greed and taking way more than we need, we are affirming th' destroyers position in th' desecration of all life. But when we realize that we actually need so very little compared to what most of us have, we can begin to be more picky with th' things we buy. We can spend more money on things that are better quality and made by caring individuals because we don't have to spend so much on useless stuff to fill th' holes in our lives. Holes which can not be filled by material goods. And th' more content we are with what we have, th' less we need to be entertained. Th' more whole and sane we become. Another thing we can do is grow some of our own food. Start small and work your way up. Even if you only have room for one plant, grow something to eat. Take care of what you grow, learn about what you grow. Nourish your food and it will nourish you. Build something with your hands. Anything. Build a raised bed for your garden. Or a plant shelf to put in a sunny window. Or try to fix something that's broken instead of throwing it away. Learn to sew. Mend your own clothes. Knit, crochet. If you or a friend knits or crochets a hat for you, that hat will be worn with more pride than any other hat you have. And most importantly, go outside. Become familiar with where you live. Not th' streets but th' plants and rivers and bugs and animals and yes, th' weather. We spend so much time trying to make ourselves comfortable and insulating ourselves from th' weather that we have begun to see it as our enemy rather than our friend. By spending more time outside we begin to recognize and enjoy th' weather patterns. Also, try to spend a little time not just outside, but in some kind of area where man made things are not readily visible or audible (Go camping- gather some wood and cook your food over a fire that you built. Stay up late talking around that fire. Drink some whiskey. Look at th' stars before falling asleep. Get up early, stoke th' coals and make some coffee). Remember that God is our creator and look around you to see, not only what He created, but how it exists, and co-exists, with everything around. Then look again at what man has made. People are so structured and safe. Nature is so wild and uncontrollable, just like it's creator.
Most of us are afraid of th' wilderness and afraid of ourselves, so it only makes sense that we would be afraid of our creator also. this world was created to be our home, and we have destroyed it. And now we are beginning to feel th' consequences. Soon we will live in a "Matrix" like world, insulated from land and sky. But there are still a remnant few folks who considere God's ways. You might find them hoeing their fields, or hauling dirt up to their roof-top gardens, or sitting around a fire under th' stars, or holed up together in grimy quarters with light in their eyes and songs in their midst. You will know them because they will share with you hope.