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Discuss: Alternative Exemption from Society vs. Fixing the System from Within  RSS feed

 
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(Alternative Exemption is a term I have [maybe?] coined which presents the idea of an ethical departure from the Status Quo of common society, with the intention of one day living a life that is complete apart from societal conventions; off-grid living.)

Let's discuss...

Possibly the biggest question of my life that I recall having asked myself before I was even double digits, is whether or not this system can be fixed from within, or if it is better to pull away from society and form a new way of life.

My current standing is thus: This current system of societal structures is fundamentally flawed at a foundational level, and therefore any further structures built upon that foundation would be unstable and unsustainable.

I made my standing because I firmly believe that our system is not broken... our system is geniously contrived and instituted successfully concerning its main principles. It's a top down institution that keeps all the power, control and wealth at the very top, instituting regulations and cleverly designed obstacles that make it extremely difficult to climb to the top.

We find that so many CEO's of major corporations are considered extreme Narcissists and often show signs of Borderline Personality Disorder and Clinical Sociopathy. Well jeez - of course they are!

If we look at it from an objective standpoint: a business is created, and success within that business (NGO/ethical corporations exempt) is measured by capital gains. Typically, those gains are limited by ethics. So, if you have a leader within that company whom is physiologically incapable of experiencing empathy than they would of course be the most efficient, profitable asset to that company.

This is why we have so much corruption. Institutions, such as those within medicine and science, are directly competing for resources within a system whose directive is antithetical to the mission of those said institutions, which should be considered for the purposes of benefiting mankind as a whole.

Discuss.
 
master pollinator
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I think it's almost impossible to live outside of society.  I've not heard of anyone who has done it for any length of time, especially not as one individual.  One big problem I have with the idea of leaving society in order to build a better one is that if enough ethical people leave, then the remaining society, with all its vast power, is left in the hands of the unethical.
 
master steward
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I think it's almost impossible to live outside of society.  I've not heard of anyone who has done it for any length of time, especially not as one individual.  One big problem I have with the idea of leaving society in order to build a better one is that if enough ethical people leave, then the remaining society, with all its vast power, is left in the hands of the unethical.



This reminds me (though it's not quite the same sort of situation) of how many parents take their kids out of public school and put them in private schools. Or move from poorer districts to wealthier ones. Or, even worse, take their public schooling money and put it in a private or charter school. All of these things--especially the last one--leaves the public schools in much worse shape, not just for funding, but also for teaching. Imagine having a class of 20 kids, and one of them is "high needs" (they come to school hungry or have no parental support, or have moved multiple times, or live in a car, or have behavior issues, or doesn't speak the same language...or all of the above). When 19 of the kids are NOT high needs, the teacher has the resources and time to make sure that they get a good education, while having the time to help that high needs child. Now imagine a class of 30 kids, and 25 of them are high needs. That's what many public schools look like. And the teacher--no matter how fabulous or hard they try--they CANNOT give those children the same level of education that the the kids in the class of 20 gets.

And, the parents who take their kids out of public school to shelter them from the influences of those high need kids, also deprive those high need kids of the positive influence their kids could give them. The whole situation makes me very sad.
 
Christian Huble
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Nicole Alderman wrote:And, the parents who take their kids out of public school to shelter them from the influences of those high need kids, also deprive those high need kids of the positive influence their kids could give them. The whole situation makes me very sad.



This also raises the concern of children without high needs lacking the exposure necessary to understand and empathize with the needs of others. Those same kids grow up to be changemakers and policy writers, without ever having the understanding that other needs exist beyond those that they themselves have experienced.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Very, very true, Christian!!! I was thinking about adding that in there, but couldn't figure out how to word it right. Thank you!
 
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When I ponder the idea of society, it seems that there are a lot of variations and some appear to work better than others. The USA is relatively young as a nation/society, and seems to behave like the adolescent that it is. Our education system is fragmenting and isn't funded enough to keep the buildings together, let alone pay for ever more expensive books. Those books are part of a larger problem- everything is based off a profit-making system in this country. The health and education of the kids takes a back seat as more funding comes from companies trying to generate revenue and create new customers.

Right now we also live in a period of digital narcissism, tangled up in the expanding realm of information currency. Individuals are the product for free services like Google/Gmail/Facebook, and most have been giving their data away for free as part of the "look at my duckface and my latest meal pics" obsession. Heck, even my posts on this site are a concern for me, as I talk about ideas for the future homestead which at best might be "gray areas" as far as meeting building codes and the like. Will that be used as probable cause to search my property for a self-made graywater system or composting toilet in the future?

I think that we can use the internet and digital communications to help create a virtual society, that ties together otherwise isolated islands of off-grid individuals (is it an oxymoron, to be off grid but on the internet?). I would much rather have all my neighbors be like minded permies, so that it's easier to be part of a cooperative society at the village level. But we can at least use digital communication to coordinate events or helping each other out.

I've thought that the USA might encounter a similar fate as the Roman empire, in the sense that there will be a gradual decline in power and inability or unwillingness to maintain infrastructure. I think we are already on that track, but it will likely take a few decades to hit critical mass, and that will likely coincide with climate change.

We are at a point now that if all greenhouse gas emissions stopped 100%, we would still have global temps going up for at least another 10-20 years. With China and India both working through their coal and oil phases, and the USA backsliding right when it could be reducing emissions, I doubt we will see a decline in emissions for another 20-30 years. There will certainly be a point where massive society impacts will occur, like Antarctica or Greenland reaching a melting tipping point where there's a massive melt-off causing a big jump in seas levels and additional solar gain from the darker water/land compared to the ice.

While I don't think there will be a zombie apocalypse per se, I think there will be a point where we will hit a serious road bump, causing big societal changes. It might not happen in my lifetime, but it may. Then I can be the old-timer living out in the woods, talking about growing up when there wasn't even an Internet, let alone autonomous systems running everything. Or being one of the natives living outside the World State of a Brave New World.
 
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This thread echoes conversations we had with many of the storytellers in our book. I would like to quote one of those as I think he describes a way of living that life of integrity within the current system, while at the same time shifting the culture away from what is fundamentally flawed with that system:
"Once you have a different mode of thinking, you can either create a new system or you can shift the existing system. You can use the new way of thinking in the old system, and in some cases that's effective or efficient. A lot of times it's efficient because there's such a huge infrastructure built up. so we're going to get rid of all the cars, but we're going to keep all those roadways because they're great bike pathways. We're not not going to tear out all the roadways and then make new bike paths."
A further excerpt from the book that relates to this: "The shift to ecological rather than economic thinking is not a straightforward one. Transition options can be a pathway towards an alternative system. They acknowledge that we are often wavering between two ways of being, with dominant culture stories still embedded in our decision-making, even after that flip to a different mode of thinking."
 
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