Mad, Maxed Out
I’ve had a bad week, psychologically. My money has begun to dwindle and I have to face the reality; I live as a slave in a hierarchical system. It makes me terribly depressed to imagine myself behind the counter, serving up another latte to another slave as they head to their slave-job.
Let’s define exactly the dilema we all face here. We all know that civilization will collapse (already has started) in our lifetimes. We want to walk away from civilization and live a newer, freer, better life. Yet, to do so we need to learn how the natural world works. We need to build a culture with this knowledge.
Yet, we have jobs that keep us locked away from learning this knowledge, because we need money to feed ourselves because we lack this knowledge. We leave our jobs exhausted and angry and always worried about having enough money. In order to alleviate the psychological and physical pain brought on by civilized jobs (and food), we medicate ourselves with distractions; drugs (perscribed and illegal), television, rock shows, novelty, video games, etc. With out these distractions, we could not continue to do the shit work, and so in a way you can’t separate the two activities, especially because you have to work even more to pay for these forms of entertainment/alleviation.
So with all the time spent working and in my case, drinking, it leaves little time for rewilding. Now on top of that, the time spent rewilding can heal you… but really it amounts to a taste of freedom. This taste can keep you eager for more, yet that eagerness can also ruin you. It makes the job that much more unbearable. To know, to have tasted the freedom, yet not having the abilities to live that way all the time can cause a lot more grief. For me, it shuts down many rewilding adventures, for the rewilding times make my life worse. As a trapped wage-slave, it feels easier to continue to drink and smoke and philosophize and go to the movies than to work on breaking free.
Do ways exist to get paid to walk away from civilization? Or does this present us with an oximoron? Monetary transactions generally only occur when someone (usually the CEO) will get a return on their investment. Investing in walking away will not give you a return on your money, though it could give you an “investment” in a real relationship with the land. But I don’t think most people in this culture feel ready for that. I don’t think Mother Culture will ever allow people to “invest” in another culture… how could she? By nature Mother Culture tells us to continue to invest in this one. Even as this culture collapses, she will still tell people to throw their money at light bulbs and not to build something new, without her.
Obviously I don’t have the skills or community to live outside civilization. So I try constantly to dream up interesting ways of making money. People always tell me to “Do what I love.” That if I keep going, I’ll figure it out. I can’t tell you how many lists I have made over the last few years titled, “How To Make Money As Urban Scout.” Tough I wrote the one below last week, they all have the same things written on them.
Making Money as Urban Scout:
4. Google Advertisements
7. DVD sales
9. Pan Handling
This probably works as the best potential way for me to make money. Though I’ve spoken before on how even that makes me feel entrapped, at the least it would feel better than working as a barista again. At the least, I could teach some skills to people and help further others understanding.
This actually frustrates me the most. Grant foundations do not recognize the changes that we need to make. They don’t want to hear words like “Collapse” and “Post-Oil Economy.” Though I feel my project could have great importance to many, it just sounds too “radical.” If I could change the wording, use terms like “future problems” in place of “Collapse,” and say that I teach “sustainability” instead of preparing people for the apocalypse… I could probably find funding. Though, I have no real grantwriting skills and having to put a linguistic disguise on what I do… well I just can’t. I feel I have to speak honestly about the collapse.
I could write a book. But that takes time. I need money soon.
4. Google Ads
I could put google ads on my site. Text only, no big deal. But I always feel like those sites with google ads look very “busy” in graphic terms. Part of what I do here has a lot to do with style and aesthetic. I don’t want my site looking ugly.
I could keep running parties like the Nuclear Winter Formal, but they take so much time and energy and I just don’t have the knowledge of getting sponsors.
This seems like the most likely form, aside from teaching. Since grant foundations don’t like my language, perhaps a philanthropist exists who has read Ishmael and sees the need for this work, and would want to kick down some cash.
7. DVD sales
Like the book, it takes time to create good, sellable product. I’ll probably work on something of this sort.
Same as classes really.
Seriously, I’d rather panhandle than work a job I hate. I think. I guess I haven’t really ever panhandled much before. It may feel just as taxing.
I always leave a blank spot to remind myself that other ways still exist, though I have yet to think of them. I’d hate thinking these options stood alone.
Of course, I have other, long-term ideas; eco-villages and crap. But the short term anxiety really hits me hard, and makes the long-term seem that much further away. And what of everyone else? What of all the trapped people, dying to rewild but like me, can’t take the psychological mind fuck of wage-slavery?
I once went to see a speaker at Reed College with a friend who went there, and she said to me, “It really impresses me that you never went to college. It takes a lot of courage and self-direction to do what you do.” I thought about what she said and responded, “I don’t think I have more courage than anyone else. I simply cannot sit in a classroom without wanting to kill myself. I can’t take it psychologically. Perhaps I just have a higher sensitivity than most?”
Similarly, I do what I do not because I want to, I don’t martyr myself. I do this because I can’t do the civilization thing without wanting to kill myself. Drugs and entertainment simply cannot take that feeling away.
If you can think of any ways one can make money walking away from civilization, please share.
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