Friday, April 3, 2015

Australian Idle

Bread: Possibly a universal symbol of survival. Once upon a time, bread being a staple of the diet to fuel the long hours in the day (including the harvesting and milling of the very wheat in that bread) was tireless long work, and mills brought about the innovations of water and wind mills. 

People had their own private mills, then these got privatised by the church, the only group with money and power in many communities, and for a small fee, you could pay to use the mill and save yourself hours of work- literally "the daily grind"

But to save ourselves 'work' we have traded our time and labour in exchange for money to pay someone else to do the work which in the past would have taken hours and was a significant portion of the day.

However, self sufficiency, even the simplest of tasks such as baking a loaf of bread, on a small household scale these daily institutions are gone for the most part. Of course, we work long hours, have kids to care for, have homework and housework to do, but this way of doing things has for so long been pushed for consideration to be 'normal'

Consumption and damage levels to the planet are not something we can ignore for much longer. I kind of feel about climate change the way Pascal's Wager is presented. Though I am not religious, it is an interesting line of argument, so we might as well believe climate change is happening, as the consequences are catastrophic if we don't.

Adbusters have a bunch of graphics that condense information and lines of argument into one neat little infographic:

We care more about private property rights than our fellow humans and their rights. An example of this is what Australia is doing to it's asylum seekers, a protected international status. There are plenty of people in Australia working hard to help people who need us.

We are more suspicious of our fellow man than welcoming. Small scale intentional communities, Bush doofs and other festivals and ideas are wonderful initiatives, they provide a community and a sharing economy. When I was at Dragon Dreaming last year, everyone was hospitable to one another. Whether it was shoes, water, sunscreen, food, all you had to do was ask you neighbours. They are wonderful events that make you feel unity, however fleeting.

The above is probably my favourite graffiti in Canberra. It is all over the lane merges and signs. Someone even goes around giving the pedestrian crossing symbols elf shoes

Does anyone else ponder the concept of time a lot? It was Benjamin Franklin who first said "time is money" what a terrible way to view the world. We have been institutionalised to judge someone based on whether they are employed or unemployed, where they live, what they do.

We are all just trying to get through our day, not matter what we have to do:

Sometimes I wonder if this system and way of doing things is a massive course of:

The Idler magazine and the corresponding books How to be Idle and How to be free by Tom Hodgkinson are 2 of my favourites. There is a long favoured history of Idlers. The resentment towards the 9-5 is nothing new. In a country as lucky as Australia, the idea of true need is one that has escaped us. This is why I must get away from it all some days, the system drives me crazy.

Being out on Springbank Island, going to Gibraltar falls, or Carey's caves out in Wee Jasper always recharge the mind and the feeling of one's place in the world. Who wants a nice house and nice 'things' if no one can stand to be around you is my philosophy on life!

That, and a nice bonfire and perhaps a home brewed ale or cider, time to bake some bread and cut some apples!

Pics from Tumblr and Wiki Commons

Fellow Canberran idlers, do drop us a line here if ever you feel compelled :)


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