The Power of Individual Choice
By L. Kevin Johnson & Donna E. Philippe
Life at its fundamental core is about choice. Each one of us has to make a choice at some point about how we are going to live. Are we going to live our lives at the sufferance of the planet host or are we going to get in sync with the plan of the planet? As Daniel Quinn so eloquently points out in his writings (Ishmael, The Story of B, etc.), the Taker culture will continue to usurp control of the food supply in order to ensure that the human species can proliferate, regardless of all other life on the planet or the environment. Takers hold the view that the world belongs to them, their divinely appointed destiny is to conquer and rule it and their way is the only "right way". Leavers, on the other hand, are humans who consciously choose to serve the earth, living in such a way that they seek to minimize their impact on the environment, modifying their lifestyle in order to preserve natural resources. They are people who do not seek to follow personal will, but rather to serve the planets evolution.
The current strategy of developing faster and more efficient ways to grow and produce food is getting more insane, consequently contributing to the explosion of the population. The answer is not to produce more cattle and grain or altering the genetics of plants to resist bacteria and pests; the answer is to stop expanding, let the dust settle and get back into the flow of nature.
It is here that individual choice becomes crucial. Society is not going to change any time soon. The karmic wheels are already in motion. The future is bleak. At the present rate of expansion, some have said we have only about 50 years before the population doubles and triples, causing a devastating consequence to future generations and the planet. The answer lies in the power of individual choice, personal life decisions that will disentangle the nemesis caused by the Taker society.
How can the planet handle 12 billion people, 20 billion, 25 billion? How many more cars are we going to produce? How many more landfills? How are we going to wash away the sewage of that many people, and where? Think about it! The choices we make right now about lifestyle, food, fuel consumption and entertainment are going to affect everything in the future.
The Taker mentality is all about control. Thats it in a nutshell. Its not about care-taking and respect for the planet. Its about personal will, personal evolution, expanding, even to the point of colonizing space and other planets dominion and conquering and yet, we cant even master ourselves and our insatiable desires.
Life is about choosing between personal will or planetary evolution. Personal will says, "I want a big house and a nice car and lots of money and a big piece of land I want security I want to see the world, have fun I want control of my life. I want to be comfortable". Planetary evolution says, "My life is about harmony with this planet how can I live differently in alignment with the earth, in all aspects of my life?" The Takers, those with the power and the money and the control of the food supply are abusing this planet. Takers want to improve themselves; Leavers want to serve. Thats the difference.
"Social consciousness" is the term we use to describe the Taker mentality of living under the programming of society, which promotes personal evolution rather than planetary service. "Primal consciousness", on the other hand, is about making choices from a higher, non-personal perspective in consideration of the environment and the planet. As weve said before, "the plan of the planet is in its plants". The survival of all physical life on earth depends on how we choose to live on a personal level, which has a rippling effect reaching all the way to the survival of the plant life on this planet. (Read Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth, by John Robbins.)
Unfortunately, in modern America, the term "environmentalist" has a nasty connotation to it. Environmentalists are regarded as wackos, misunderstood as people who want to mess up jobs and productivity in order to save the whales and the spotted owls. What other conclusion can one expect from an immature Taker mentality? Its wise not to resist or lobby against these issues, but instead, to make responsible individual choices about the way we live our everyday lives.
For example, Sun Bear, a Native American elder who founded the Bear Tribe back in the 1970s, taught a valuable lesson. There were a few members of his community who were outraged by the destruction that was being caused by a local utility company. They were asking him why he wasnt telling people to protest the "big business monster" in order to save the environment. Sun Bear said, "Do you really want to stop that power company?" "Of course", they said, "yes, we do!" So Sun Bear walked over to the light switch and turned if off and said, "there, thats how you stop them".
The more we resist anything, the more power we give it. The way to effect change is to make individual choices by considering the environmental impact and then seek to minimize that impact as much as possible. For example, we mentioned in our essay, Why I Chose the Simple Life, that Federal Income Taxes go toward dropping bombs and building nuclear weapons instead of dropping seeds. The only way to legally not pay so much in taxes is by earning less, specifically, below the poverty level (less than $18,000 per year.) That is a practical solution, but to do that requires a radical change in lifestyle, developing specific life skills that enable one to utilize such a strategy. Of course, we realize that this is not appealing to the vast majority, but none-the-less, it is a realistic answer. Yet how many people are willing to give up their personal desires in order to serve the planet? Probably not many.
Another answer is to radically change ones eating habits from commercially grown meat, dairy and non-organic cooked grains to a diet of sprouted seeds, grasses, fresh raw fruits and vegetables, and home grown, wild or free-range dehydrated meat. The Taker society has its expansive roots in agriculture and conquest, of mowing down the diversity of species in favor of only a few, such as wheat, rice and corn. As more and more people depend upon those huge corporations that grow the food, individual choice and freedom will continue to diminish. The answer is to choose to eat differently, to curb the gluttonous and insatiable cooked grain addiction. Learn to eat more simple, basic foods.
And what about our water supply? Living beings cannot live without clean water. Life would cease to exist if not for rain, rivers, lakes and oceans. And yet people continue to defecate and urinate in the water supply daily. Every time you flush a toilet, you contribute to the death of the planet. Can you imagine yourself looking into a clean bucket filled with 3 gallons of crystal clear water and then turning around and defecating in it? That sounds crazy, doesnt it? It would totally ruin the water. But thats what billions of people do every day when the toilets are flushed. And where does that polluted, toxic water go? It goes right back into the water supply, back into our rivers, lakes and oceans which is totally irresponsible. So what is the solution? One answer is to compost the "humanure" as it is done in nature. (See The Humanure Handbook, by J.C. Jenkins) Here again, thats not likely to happen on a grand scale anytime soon.
Now, lets consider modern housing. When Donna and I see huge, affluent homes, filled with the latest labor saving appliances, we cannot help but imagine what it cost to maintain that kind of life style. Manicured lawns, central electric heating and air conditioning systems, huge television screens, microwaves, security lights, etc. These are all part of the illusion of security maintained by social consciousness programming, which believes, "happiness and fulfillment are possible only by insulating ourselves from the effects of nature." And yet, if not for credit and loan institutions, such affluence would hardly exist.
It wasnt that long ago that a young couple would start out with a small one or two room modest cabin, building on as they acquired funds to do so. Now its possible to get a $100,000 home in a few days as long as you are willing and able to make payments. People have been sold the idea that "renting a life", "leasing a car", "financing an education" is normal. Its not normal; its part of the Taker mentality.
The cost of construction and building materials are rising each year, and if not for loan institutions many people would never be able to purchase a home or property. All we are saying is dont be "had" by the temptation to get things you dont really need. Dont get yourself overburdened by borrowing more than you can afford. A good rule to observe is this: Dont borrow more than 30% of your annual net income at any one time. And pay if off as soon as possible. Dont stretch out payments for 5 or 10 years. Pay loans off within 3 years or less. If you cant do that, you are probably over-indulging beyond your means. Also, get away from using credit cards use cash. Save cash, save commodities, store real wealth such as food, toilet paper, seeds, gardening tools, fuel and gold and silver. And it may be wise to consider downsizing to a smaller, earth-friendly dwelling such as the B.E.L.L. or similar modest cabin.
If a person wants to live in social consciousness, as part of the Taker mentality, they have to do what is necessary to maintain that reality. They have to choose to seek affluence, overindulge in cooked foods, stay distracted through alcohol, drugs, television, relationships, hobbies whatever. They have to make a definite choice to follow personal will, and go after what they want. Otherwise, the momentum will settle and start to dissipate. In other words, it takes effort to be in the Taker world. It is not an easy thing to maintain.
The same is true to be a Leaver in primal consciousness. It too, requires decision and focus. The difference, however, is that the Taker culture is sustained by grasping, through never achieving satisfaction and forever wanting more. The Leaver culture is sustained by walking the razors edge, by skillfully learning how to live amid the Taker world while heartfully, vigilantly choosing to serve the planet step by step.
Individual choice is very important. There is no way one cannot choose. Each volition comes with a resulting effect. That is why it is so powerful. The world we experience is the result of what we have made collectively. Seeing this, Donna and I have begun to choose differently. We are not saying our way is "the right way" for everyone. Its only right for us, given the circumstances we find ourselves in, at this particular point in time.
In summary, what Donna and I have decided to do is take real, positive steps toward creating an environment that can support primal consciousness, life changes that we can demonstrate and prove, as a way to cut an optional, practical pathway for others to follow. But this is just one way our unique approach to serving the planet and contributing to a higher level of human-planetary interaction. We encourage others to develop their own way.
The three things that we have done fundamentally are this:
1) Weve simplified our dwelling to a single room, circular building that minimizes utilities, space and building materials, enabling us to live more directly with nature, rather than insulated from it. We call this dwelling a B.E.L.L. (biogenic-ecodesic-living-lighthouse). One can see construction photos of this by visiting our web site (www.geocities.com/~newliberty/earthstar/thebell.htm).
2) We have set up a rainwater catchment system and recycle water by using it twice (i.e., using the greywater to water plants trees, herbs, etc.) This way we do not have to contribute to the practice of depleting groundwater supplies, only to treat it with chemicals and contribute to further earth-pollution. Nor do we defecate and urinate in clean, drinking water, choosing instead to compost humanure as a way to recycle valuable nutrients that support green life.
3) We have altered our diet by moving away from the consumption of cooked grains, choosing instead to sprout grains, seeds, nuts and grass seeds as the foundation of our diet which minimizes water consumption and offers maximized health. We feel that cooked food addiction is one of the hardest things to overcome and is the reason social consciousness exists so strongly in our world today. A primal, raw food diet, one that is mostly plant based is probably the thing that can make or break survival of the human species on this planet. It is the most obvious thing, but often the most overlooked.
As we said, this is just our unique approach, and we share this only to communicate ideas to others that it may stir up further discussion and insights concerning the "how-to" of finding a middle path in the midst of a Taker society. The way to proceed in our opinion is this become a Leaver as much as possible by developing real life skills that promote individual health and abundance and disentanglement from the confines of social conscious programming, while contributing to the respectful survival of this beautiful planet.
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