What’s the Point?
By Kevin & Donna
We are often asked,
“what’s the point in living the way you do…are you just trying
to escape society?” And the answer is this; the point of living
the simple life – for us – is to get our living expenses down
to the level where we don’t have to work more than necessary.
We only want to earn money for what we really need. It’s about getting
our lives in harmony with natural, organic life and using money only
to supplement and help supply our basic needs. In other words, we
want to use money, not be used by it. We’ve often said
that the only real freedom is in the minimum of needs. And that
is something each person must eventually define for himself.
And what exactly is freedom – true freedom? How free are
we in this country? We think we are free, but it is an illusion
in modern society. Many people live in little boxes – isolated,
tidy, immaculate, scrubbed, odor-free, predictable, insulated from
nature. If and when it ever happens that there is no more food in
the super-supermarkets of our cities (and it is, in time,
going to happen), who is going to feed us? If we haven’t grown or
bought sufficient food, what sort of freedom is that! Who is going
to give us a handout?
Freedom is in intelligent preparation, working cooperatively
with the earth, obeying the forces of nature. Those who seek to
be in alignment with it must work to free their minds from ignorance
and false values. Those who are meek are always prepared. They store
up provisions, not because they are anticipating great calamity,
but because they love themselves and others enough to live sovereign,
never wanting to be dependent on anyone else.
Nature is the wild, free, ever-moving life-force. Only
nature exhibits complete freedom for all life. Modern society exhibits
complete enslavement and a disregard for natural life processes, because
it depends upon the system of commerce and exchange. Survival and
preparation does not promote fear. The ant or bee does not add to
fear. It adds to the harmony of the natural world because
it is in harmony – it is in alignment with what it knows to be the
There have always been earth changes; there always will
be. The earth’s environment is a living system and the more that
human society continues to mess around with that system, upsetting
the delicate balance, the more important it is for conscious and
concerned individuals to learn how to become self-reliant. Many people
may not like hearing what I am saying in this article, but
experts agree and have been warning humanity for several years.
(See the article entitled “Scientists Warning to Humanity.”)
Droughts, famine, disease, plagues, environmental disasters,
wars, economic hardship and floods are happening right now, and
these things will only get worse unless mankind changes his present
course quickly. There won’t be a balanced system if we keep
consuming natural resources and dumping our pollutants and
cutting down old growth forests. The stock market cannot support
the world’s population with hefty annual returns. We can’t all be
rich and live the cushy life in cities or dining on our yacht under
the moonlight on the Caribbean Sea. For everything we take
from nature, someone else down the line has to do without. The
earth’s resources are finite.
Now understand that surviving need not be a hardship.
When you are in flow with nature, you never have to struggle to
survive, because you are just “in the flow.” You may still need
money to survive at this level – that’s true – but do you know how
much money is enough? Do you really know? How much money
and how much time must you put into working for others in order
to provide yourself with the simple basics? That is the question
we all have to ask and confront, because wanting more than the simple
basics of life leads you toward further digression away from the
easy, basic law of nature. When you’re in the flow, and your mind
fully understands the laws of nature, then “your yoke
is easy and your burden is light.”
The way back to harmony with real life – natural life
– is not to make more and more money – it is about needing less
and less, and providing for yourself through cooperation with the
earth. (Eating a natural vegetarian diet is an important starting
point as well.) If you have to keep paying someone else to provide
you with what you need, when will it ever end? How secure
is that? Nature freely gives to us abundantly, the only trouble
is, we don’t value what she offers – we want more and more and more.
Most of our desires are totally unrealistic (huge houses, boats,
new vehicles, diamonds, gold, servants…there is no end to it). As
with everything, it takes education, but that doesn’t mean
necessarily school education. For example, I completed two years
of college and another year and a half in trade school and I ended
up not even knowing what wheat looks like, how to plant it, how to
separate it from the chaff, or how to bake it into bread.
That was the result of 15 ½ years of 20th century public
school education. But what I did learn to do was get a job and sell
my labor to someone else in order to earn some money so I could purchase
bread that someone else baked! Instead of learning how to work directly
for primary reinforcement (the stuff I need to survive), I
was taught how to sell myself to earn secondary reinforcement (money)
to buy what I need. I think that’s quite an inefficient model.
Now when we look at the conclusion of all the ancient
cultures and sacred philosophies of the world, it is consistent
- we must go back to the wilderness and align ourselves with the
natural rhythm of life and the cosmic order. For it is there that
we discover contentment, a sense of purpose and all we need to be
healthy and happy…“your Heavenly Father already knows what
Going against that is never going to work. In the end,
everything that is out of alignment with the cosmic / natural order
will eventually crumble and destroy itself. Our present society is
already doomed to fail because the system that supports the world
economy is short-sited and not sustainable. That is the simple fact.
It’s not a criticism or moral judgement; it’s just the way it
is. If you study the history of ancient Persia (modern Iraq) and
look at the area known as the “cradle of civilization”, the once fertile
land between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers, you will see the
most shocking site imaginable. Today it is a barren wasteland
of rock, sand and rubble, and the 5000-year-old remains of several
great cities. They are all gone. The horizon spreads out for miles
without a single blade of grass, not a single tree or bush in the
landscape. This land is now totally useless because it was over-farmed
by growing wheat and other grains in order to feed the large
populations which migrated and gathered in certain areas (ancient
cities), in order to create commerce, businesses to make money, and
the trading and selling of goods.
The same thing happened in the region of what is now known
as the Sahara desert in Africa, which was once an abundant fertile
land. It was destroyed by years of growing wheat to supply the Roman
Empire in the height of its years of world domination. During that
time, nothing was done to cooperate with the land, to care for it
with sustainable methods of agriculture.
Similarly, in America it happened during the era known as
the dust bowl. Settlers came in and cleared the land in order
to raise wheat and nothing was done to rebuild the topsoil. Soon after
that, the U.S. Government started to advocate the use of chemical
fertilizers. Crops grew, but they weren’t healthy crops. That brought
an over-abundance of insects, naturally programmed to wipe
out diseased plants, so then we started using pesticides and herbicides…but
still, nothing was done to rebuild the topsoil. It took the earth
millions of years to create that level of fertility, and now we’ve
almost completely wiped it out in less than 3 generations!
These desert lands are a warning of what is happening to
America. If not for chemical fertilizers and pesticide poisons
modern agriculture would not be able to sustain huge cities. And all
we have done is put off the inevitable demise. There is no topsoil
left in this country. It’s been long gone for many years. The
rich abundance that we see in supermarkets is due to chemical
usage and agri-business. But the sad reality is that it takes more
and more chemicals each year to produce the same amount as the previous
year. This escalation of chemicals is reaching a critical mass
effect, destroying the health of the planet. And what isn’t
good for the planet is always worse for terrestrial and oceanic lifeforms,
even including man himself.
Is this a fearsome truth? Is it doom and gloom? How could
nature be doom and gloom? How could it be anything but admirably
beautiful? But if we fight against it we will not win, because Nature
knows it is forever, while we are still fragile and insecure when
we remain in ignorance about the cosmic and terrestrial laws of
To prepare is a wise thing to do. If a person has even a
small piece of land, he can grow his Staff of Life, and
he can learn to preserve that which he grows. That will carry him
through even the most difficult circumstances. Then he is free. But
most people today are not free! When a drought comes and the
baker doesn’t bake the bread because there isn’t any wheat,
because the wheat didn’t grow, because the rains weren’t there, how
are they going to have bread? Will they even know how to bake it?
Will they even know how to grow the wheat and separate it from the
chaff? Many don’t know because they are no longer in love
with the land. Instead, they love only modern conveniences.
It has been said that the meek will inherit the earth and
the kingdom of heaven. It is not going to be the intellectual.
It is not going to be those who love complexities. It is the meek,
the simple people, those who are humble within their hearts, who
are close to the earth and work harmoniously with it. They are the
ones who are in alignment with it.
Droughts are already happening. The water table is dropping
drastically in the midwestern states and California’s water supply
is drying up as well. The food supply in America is threatened because
we keep feeding the world, making other nations dependent on
artificial fast food, instead of encouraging native foods and
sustainable agriculture. Genetic modification of seeds and animal
life is not going to work because it is short sited and profit driven.
The argument that we need genetic bio-technology or hydroponic chemical
farming to maintain a growing population is false. How are the
world’s poor going to pay for these kinds of technologies?
Where are they going to get the money for chemical fertilizers and
pesticides? The only real, sustainable answer is earth-friendly,
bio-intensive organic gardening and farming, utilizing mulching,
recycling organic materials and smarter use of water. And
that is something that more and more people are going to have to
do on their own. Large corporations and governments simply won’t
do it because these easy methods do not produce profit.
Cities are seductive and many people want to live there.
They love the big city lights, traffic, shops, theaters, restaurants
and shopping malls. But what is the major disadvantage to living
there? When you think about it and apply common sense, the answer
is clear. There are no fields, only parking lots, freeways and buildings
piled up on top of one another. There is little room to grow
anything but baskets of flowers. Where does their food come from?
When we reason it out it makes perfect sense that it is not advantageous
to live in a city. Cities are a death trap. They are going to be
the first to spew forth diseases and plagues simply because there
will be no fresh water and not enough food. Where will all the
human wastes go when there isn’t enough water to flush it away?
This is just simple fact and it is very obvious. (See our article
entitled, “Humanure Composting”).
The model America is following is not working. There has
to be another way, an approach that will begin to liberate mankind,
heal its people and bring peace to the world. Trying to create a
business to make money, to be independent, to be free, to be happy
and fulfilled is not the way anymore. Consumerism and commerce are
not natural systems. Trading goods and products is good, certainly,
but trying to generate money (secondary reinforcement) has
become restrictive and inefficient (especially for the working poor),
but most of all, it is not sustainable. The system cannot keep going
on at its present rate. Something is going to give sooner or later.
For every thing we sell as a product, produced from natural
resources, someone else has to do without it. When a natural system
is followed, when people take responsibility for their own primary
reinforcement first, then their works and efforts are efficient
and harmonious. In other words, it’s better to produce your
own food to eat yourself than it is to grow more food than you need
in order to sell it for money to buy other stuff that you don’t really
need (or to pay government fees, taxes, permits costs, etc).
Everytime we expand too big and desire more than what is
basic or easily obtained from our immediate environment, we waste
precious resources and human energy. And we take these resources
out of the hands of the poor. You see, it is our desire for more
and more that causes us so many consequences and takes away our power
and peace. The less we want, the more content we are; the more we
have, the less satisfied we feel. It’s the iron law of cause
and effect governed by natural / cosmic law.
Trading what we produce is far better, and less able to
be regulated. It empowers communities and creates trust. But of
course it’s not always easy to do, so we have to earn some amount
of money. Often we have to sell some of our goods and services and
that is perfectly okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it isn’t
necessary to create a business to fulfill some dream in order
to be happy. Creating a business is often a real nightmare; especially
with all the restrictive government regulations, taxes, licenses,
Donna and I tried to create a business with our
sourdough bread baking. In fact, almost everyone we knew encouraged
us to do so. “It would be great,” they said, “you’ll make a
fortune…everybody needs that bread!” We quickly
realized, however, how stupid and complicated the whole system has
become. We wanted to supplement our income and decided it would be
fun to try and sell just a few loaves at a weekly farmer’s market.
So we went through all the proper and legal procedures and checked
with the local health department, the department of agriculture
and the local government office to see what was required. The bottom
line is this…they are completely insane. We discovered that for us
to bake only 20-30 loaves of bread a week it would cost us $1100
a year in fees to the government agencies and the local farmer’s
market committee. To cover that cost would mean we would have to
sell 50 extra loaves a week. So now, to make a little bit
of cash selling 30 loaves of handmade sourdough bread each week,
we’d have to bake 80 loaves a week. Now of course, we cannot
physically do that by hand so we would have to purchase an electric
grain grinder ($600), a mixer ($3000) and a bigger oven ($4000) and
upgrade to get a certified kitchen, add a bathroom, install 3 sinks,
large freezer and refrigerator, cover marketing costs, packaging,
labels (and the associated permits for each product), additional
equipment, possibly hire some help…now we’re up to $20,000, and by
this time it’s not the same quality handmade bread anymore because
we’re using machines to produce it.
Gone are the days of the local village baker happily supplying
his relatives, friends and neighbors without interference from local
and federal agencies. Though the present system has been designed
to “protect” us from unsanitary health conditions, more often than
not it has only tied our hands and caused unnecessary hardship
to those who want only to honestly generate a modest income. You
see the system isn’t designed to work. It’s easier to bake the bread
for ourselves and trade a few extra loaves for apples or seeds or
whatever else we find that others may want to offer.
The idea of creating a business to be financially free is
not simple anymore. It’s far better to sell your services, labor
or expertise to earn a little money and spend the rest of your energy
and time providing for your basic needs and improving your consciousness,
developing art and studying ancient wisdom. In other words, go out
and sell yourself to the system as minimally as possible,
and then take the money and run! Run back to your safe, sane and
humble hovels, which you have created, where you can live simple
and peaceful lives, in cooperation with the forces of nature. Starting
a business at home, though it seems like the American ideal dream
of success (like winning the lottery), often requires going into
debt. Donna and I have a simple goal, to earn and live abundantly
on only the amount of money that will keep us below the poverty
level (less than $18,000 a year). In this way we minimize the taxes
we pay and do not contribute financially to a government that is
hell-bent on war mongering and its’ insane production of
military expansion, bombs and nuclear weapons. What we’ve sought
to demonstrate at EarthStar is that simplicity means valuing you
and your family’s life above everything else, especially
profit and money. Making a business trying to bake bread would
do nothing to empower other people and it would only enslave me.
I’m more than happy to freely share my information with others.
More people should bake their own bread anyway…(real bread doesn’t
exist in a supermarket…see our article entitled “Facts
About Naturally Fermented Bread”).
Valuing our health and relationship with the Earthly Mother
is far more satisfying than getting involved in complex, antiquated
strategies. For some people a business works fine. They have the
skill and determination to make it work. Good for them! But not for
me. There are entrepreneurs, who have the financial resources
and guts to become highly successful business people, but it’s almost
always at the expense of someone else and it threatens the limited
resources of the planet. And also, they are at the mercy of customers
that have to spend some money.
In summary, to be a conscious consumer is the first step,
that is why we teach others to make smart food choices right
away. Our food choices affect all the other aspects of our lives
and set us free on the path back to the natural laws of life. (See
our article entitled “Eating for Freedom”). It also contributes
to sustainable agriculture and good health for us as well as
the environment. Living in a large town or city, eating out
in restaurants and shopping at Wal-Mart cannot be the answer for
everyone. It is a system that cannot sustain large populations without
robbing valuable resources from others. Eventually large cities
will have to dismantle; those who don’t get out may possibly perish.
Sustainable agriculture is the only real foundation of a
successful community. It is not technology, factories, nor medical
institutions…sustainable agriculture is the only real answer. Healthy
soil = healthy food = healthy people. This is a formula for success!
If anyone is really interested in further study of this
subject please read Professor Szekely’s book “Cosmos, Man &
Society”. The following quote, from page 127 is one of my favorite
passages, and it inspires me every time I read it.
“We must lead mankind back from the great towns to
the country, just as the peoples of the Bible were lead out of Egypt.
Disease and death and destruction are close at hand, and the new
society can only be constructed if the fundamental equilibrium of
human society is re-established and seventy-five percent of
people return to the fundamental occupations of a simple, natural
life, to a natural agriculture, to freedom, and to harmony with the
natural laws and natural forces.”
(A current booklist of Professor Szekely’s books are available
from I.B.S. Internacional, P.O. Box 849, Nelson, B.C. Canada V1L