I slid down a red banister yesterday and it left a red stain on my white shorts. I am traveling out here in the Midwest and so how I am going to wash my clothes is not totally clear.
I realize I can wash the shorts in water with some soap. Then I put it out in the sun to try. It works! I realize I can also wash my sweat-soaked blue jean chinese-buttoned shirt.
Theres something satisfying and empowering to be able to do something on a simple scale. Our technological systems and commercialized services systems have made us dependent and disempowered.
So it is too once one knows how to eat from the earth, to eat wild plants or the ones one has grown oneself. That dependence on the supermarket, and on the job to make the money to shop at the supermarket is broken. We become autonomous and self-sufficient. The overall social system also becomes more resilient if the smallest parts have the option to be autonomous if they need to.
This same sort of empowering also happens within the gift circle. We are so used to being dependent on the commodified system of services, and so dependent of plugging into the system with jobs so we can make the money so we can purchase the commodified service that we may forget that we can depend on each other and community to get by too.
Herbert Marcuse wrote in the 1960’s an important book called “One dimensional man” which showed how we have become dehumanized through our over-dependence on technology and commercial systems for our life. He writes “The society which projects and undertakes the technological transformation of nature alters the base of domination by gradually replacing personal dependence (of the slave on the master, the serf on the lord of the manor, the lord on the donor of the fief, etc.) with dependence on the “objective order of things” (on economic laws, the market, etc.).”
Gandhi tried to initiate a movement in India for towns to become self-sufficient, to use simple technologies that they had control over. Schumacher, economist and author of “Small is beautiful” suggested the idea of intermediate technologies, things that were not too advanced for a community to service and be in control over.