by Jonathan DeJong (penned about two weeks ago)
Today is a day to celebrate! One year ago today, after more than 2 years of searching, we closed on our farm. One year later and we look back now on the amazing amount of work we have put into it is enough to make our heads spin. What an adventure, what a dream come true. JAZ Farm become reality, as described here.
For my collapsitarian friends: Because purchasing the farm gave rise to tons of frustrations because it was a foreclosure, I began waxing prophetically back then. Writing is a great way to expunge poisons destroying your inner peace. I needed to channel my inner rage to keep going and working to get this dream done without arriving at the bank that owned the property and finding myself in jail. I dug down and pulled this out of my gut. This was written well before I knew any of you existed.
Many have told me to get off my ass and write. So here we are.
For my non-aware friends, maybe I’ll lose you for this one but I hope not. Not because I’m targeting anyone personally, just because it is my personal indictment of our human predicament. Those who really knew me as a kid probably will find this something of the same old. I told myself on my 50th birthday that the 2nd half gets to be mine. Part of that has been a journey to live as true to myself as I can. That assertion is where this diatribe came from. Peace.
PS: Also, this kind of thing really gets the conversations started. I prefer this kind of thing to posts that say, “Buffy went to the mall and her BFF is buying new sandals to show off her pedicure. Yeesh.” LOL.
** So why would life with me be “different”? Written to a person in my head asking the question. **
Intellectually you know pretty well who I am. I don’t think there would be too much of a surprise there. I do go through a lot of emotional roller coasters over the way the world is; Especially with the rise of the Fundamentalist movement, the Crooks on Wall Street and corruption like the world has never seen before. I do not like people. I hate our society. I am the idealist that sees the stupidity and insanity for what it is and am not afraid to say so. With respect to that, it can make one feel pretty alone.
So the first point: I am not social. Social/extroverted people gain energy and fulfillment through the interaction with others. I most decidedly do not. It is exhausting. I prefer to be alone or with my family. Occasionally, like with my astronomer friends, I enjoy company, but plants and nature are much better friends than the general public. The bi-pedal virus infesting this planet is killing my best friends. Just like you watched Katrina, I have watched millions of trees die and now they are on fire. My best friends have been murdered.
My wife had to learn that if she wanted to be a “joiner” that she needed to go ahead and do it. She has. She knows that if I am in a group of people I am quickly drained of energy. My therapist said, “I’ll bet you feel like you can read all of their minds at once and the noise gets in your head and makes you not only want to, but NEED to leave.” yes.
From my Jeremiah Johnson Mountain Man days to — hopefully — the farm, you know that I completely hate civilized society. I am going NUTS living in a suburban setting working a “proper” job. I’ve found success and I find it totally wanting. I would be at complete peace if I could do nothing but work to sustain myself and write. I work hard to try to get there but it is a very steep mountain to climb. (Hell, just me writing like this is “different” — how many other people do you know that think, talk and act like this?)
Suburbs and the urbanization of this country that requires the use of automobiles in order to do anything is “the biggest mis-allocation of resources in the history of the world” (JH Kunstler). We are going to see immense suffering because of it. The people who live happily in this type of world are the frogs slowly heating in a pan of water. They live like baby birds in a nest waiting for the mother to come and puke food into their mouths. In fact, that is a great analogy. An environmental activist by the name of Derrick Jensen, defined civilization as “any geographic concentration of people that requires the importation of resources.” The trucking and shipping industry are the mother birds, the urban/suburban dwellers are the never maturing babies. They are completely incapable of taking care of themselves and if one day the truck mothers (Mothertruckers?) stop coming … omg.
I have held these views since I was in high school. I have had fights with friends/girlfriend’s parents back even then about these issues. I see our “accomplishments” as a species and I hang my head in sorrow. I hate who we have become and I do not share in the idea that we are some sort of “advanced” species.
I look at the casual slacks, button down oxford shirt wearing, moderate to high-end SUV-driving, golf-playing, idiots out there and am awestruck that they see this as success. I watch the 90-pound suburban housewives withthe spandex, ponytail through the back of the baseball cap, latte in one hand, cell phone in the other, driving her SUV to soccer practice to cheer on her High Fructose Corn Syrup-eating spawn and it makes me fucking ill. I see the enormous asses that our society has created among the lower classes due to poor nutrition and I feel like I am living in a freak show.
On either side of the scale, be it the hyper-groomed, upper-middle-class automatons, or the lower-class, over-weight, corn-sugar, McDonalds-Kentucky Fried Chicken eating mother fuckers and I SEE NO DIFFERENCE IN WORTH. Both are blind. Both are ignorant. Both are destroying the planet. ALL are sucking off the mother pig’s tit with no sense of what the world really is and where we came from and what living naturally and in balance is. Hell most of them don’t know what dirt is until they launch a drive on the 9th tee and dig up a divot. “Food comes from the ground? I thought it came from the grocery store.”
I was at an adviser’s meeting last fall. There was a 20-something there representing Goldman Sachs. I, and a more “earthy” adviser, were talking about recessions and depressions and I said, “the thing that is going to make this depression worse than the 20’s and 30’s is that no one today knows how to kill and dress a pig”. She agreed totally. The kid from Sachs looked at me in amazement. He raised his hand sheepishly and said, “I don’t.” I laughed and said, “I bet you think your steaks all come from Safeway wrapped in cellophane.” He nodded.
We Are So Totally Fucked!! Imagine the Zombie like carnage that will happen if the trucks can’t get into Chicago for even a couple of days!!! It’s coming, and our country is absolutely NOT ready for it. We need people back on the land… a reverse farm crisis. We need to kick out big ag and get all of these people who were forced into urban centers back on the land to grow and work together. Most of all they need to be told the TRUTH. Something that is no longer a virtue in our culture. Spin is the new way to communicate. Don’t look at facts, SPIN it to your favor.
Fuck everyone else as long as they buy your agenda.
So the “different” part is first, knowing that I hate society. Not just disappointment. This is a fully charged visceral hatred. I never have had much positive to say about our society. I can’t look at people and think like we’ve been taught, “Jon don’t judge — you don’t know what they are going through themselves.” True enough about judging but you can’t say they are all being unique when they all are chasing after the same empty goals. Entire lives revolve around working so they can go purchase entertainment instead of creating it (the US is one giant SUV-loving, mall-shopping, Disneyland-is-reality, movie-watching bunch of self-destructive lazy assholes). They are soft, lazy, clueless and incapable of thinking critically.
So my life is trying to be a self-sufficient, self-reliant Thoreau type of individual. I value the true Transcendental philosophies espoused by the one intellectual school of thought America has ever had. Now, of course, it is largely forgotten so we can have big-box franchises, free-trade agreements in the name of trickle down oppression. We have lost a sense of community and inter-connectedness. Our nation was founded by a nation of Barn Builders not the Marlboro man. Communities would get together and help one another build the infrastructure for their farms and towns. They shared and cared and had community, food preservation and quilting bees. If one hunter shot a deer and someone else went without, they helped each other.
We have traded all of that for Walmart, Monsanto, slave-labor-manufactured crap and a world based completely on a finite resource that we should be using to work for the well being of all people. It shouldn’t be used for 7/11 big gulp cups that wind up in the ocean, asphalt, beach balls, golf balls, and cheap trinkets for profit.
So that is how I see the world. The way I live has always been a running to try to escape this insanity as much as I can. As an analogy, in Texas, there are exotic game hunting ranches. Typically they are about 1000 acres. They are totally fenced in. These “hunters” go out there, pay hundreds of dollars to go run down an animal in a 1000 acre pen and shoot it. My life feels like the animal. I run and run and run trying to escape and I always end up bouncing off the prison fences. Suburban/Urbanites run around thinking they are free, thinking they are “making it” as individuals; they think that all they see is right and proper and never see that not only are they in prison, they are the jailers as well. My life experiences opened my eyes to see the prison walls and the jailers. I scream at the insanity and no one hears it. It is torture. My favorite quote in the whole world is by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “Man is born free, yet everywhere is in chains. One who believes himself the master of others is none the less as great a slave as they.”
George Carlin: “That’s why they call it the American Dream … because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
I have told people that it is one thing to feel that you have been “called” to the ministry and tell people about it. “How wonderful!” they expound. It is quite another thing to tell people that you were “called out” of the church because your intellectual/spiritual being discovered just what a complete hoax it is. “You are just misguided,” they say. “Your faith isn’t strong enough” … whatever the phrase … you are, for the rest of your life, saddled with that story of exit and ostracized by the mainstream.
Sure you find folks in the fringe. Sure, you don’t completely go through banishment, but you have to tell that story over and over and over again, and you never see the world the same way. You never trust. You never get your hopes up too high. All you want to do is escape the 1000-acre prison.
I also think that one of the most sinister members of our society are psychologists. Not those that help individuals and do group counseling and help others to assimilate back into the prison. I mean the psychology majors that work on Madison Avenue and the political machine. We are constantly being brainwashed to either buy things, vote for things, believe things, and MORE importantly, BE AFRAID of things. These sinister futher-muckers have learned how the brains of humans tick (they themselves being humans) and use it to torture, brainwash, manipulate and scare the living shit out of people to the point that they are no longer capable of thinking for themselves even if they wanted to! That is worse than any war we were programmed to support. It is an ongoing mental war. The battle for your mind. The battle for your soul. The battle to dehumanize you, to make you a dutiful consumer … not a citizen … not a creature of a magnificent creation. Technograndiosity, to use a Kunstler term, is going to create an eden — they think — a future of hovercrafts, jet packs, a paperless society and total leisure and prosperity for all. We have been taught that a natural earth-based existence is wrong and somehow our earth — an eden that we once had — an eden we have turned into a festering pile of steaming shit — is primitive. Eden, after all, is making things so they can be future landfill.
I never stop moving. I am busy all the time trying to escape. I wake up stressed and I go to bed exhausted. As I have mentioned and maybe is now somewhat clearer, I don’t understand weak. I hate having to buy food when I know I should be growing my own. I would rather make something or do a needed project than hire someone to do it. I truly believe in Emerson and Thoreau’s ideas of self-reliance.
Getting one’s hands dirty is natural. Feeding one’s self, caring for your environment, putting up food for the winter, hunting, fishing, growing, are the more natural and wholesome ways of life. Not being a leach on society is the natural order of things. Giving back to your environment instead of demanding it give and give to exhaustion is the natural order of things. Digging in dirt, shoveling shit, killing for food, is existence. I try very hard to live that way. I also expect anyone who is in my world to live that way, too. If they don’t, I don’t want them around. As a result, it can get kind of lonely.
Here’s what I mean. I would have a great deal of trouble being around someone who understood that the chicken needed to be killed for dinner but wouldn’t be willing to do it him/herself. I would do it without blinking an eye. I would have trouble being around people who find getting dirty detestable. ” Let the immigrants pick it and live in slavery. Just make sure unblemished aesthetically pleasing food is in a box at Kroger.”
Now someone will always say, well that may be fine for you, but that might not be right for everyone. WRONG. If one can’t engage in a way that is sustainable and somewhat self-reliant, then whatever one does is “taking” from the planet and leads to the importation of resources which leads to desires and greed, which leads to a military, which leads to horror. Civilization requires violence. Competition breeds hatred. Ergo, it is all poison.
We need a native american, matriarchal, hunter/farmer/gatherer society.
With climate change now the grim reaper at our doorstep, I look forward to a return to that for as long as it lets me last. I don’t relish the panic and upheaval that will happen on our way to that end, but the days of happy cruising, halfway around the world supply lines, big-box, big-ag days are over. I wish I could live on the other side of the bridge we have to cross, but as “they” say, “It is what it is.”
So what is different? I don’t get weak. I do get mutual cooperation and the inter-connectedness of all people. The problem is, most anymore, do not. After all, it’s all about me, eh?
So if I were to be social it would be that kind of social: those of helping and being helped. That of no one lording power and resources over others. I would gladly be a worker bee in a tribe. I loath the idea of being a slave to a machine relying on spin to keep the lie of existence going. I work with my hands, think with my brain, and try to be one with the beautiful blue ball. Astronomy helps us to see the vastness of the universe but evidently we simply cannot grasp “infinity”. Our world need not be the 1000 acre ranch floating in space creating agony and oppression. It could, and should be, a place to live and love. As the Buddha said, “man is just a thinking reed”
We are an animal with a big malfunctioning brain that has told itself it is more special than anything else. One day, I hope in my lifetime, we all wake up and discover that we got it all wrong. There is no ultimate end goal or end game. There is only the cycle of life. The way our illness drives us forward there will be only one end. Extinction. In the meantime, I try to find my life of Thoreau. A Zen master was once asked by a student, what happens when you become enlightened.
“Nothing” he responded. “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water…. after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” My fight to escape the 1000 acre hunting ranch is enlightenment. “The cause of most of humanity’s problems is the inability of a man to sit quietly in a room …”
Thanks for playing.
Jonathan DeJong is a chartered financial consultant by profession. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver. He is an avid homesteader who began urban farming with his mother in suburban Detroit back in the early 1970s. Out of college, knowing that the urban/suburban monstrosity was a ruse, he left Michigan to follow his “go west young man” voice calling him back to nature. He worked with ranchers in the Rockies, is a certified archery coach, and amateur astronomer. He and his wife are now building a 40-acre homestead farm on the high plains of Colorado east of Denver. They live there with their dog, 2 cats, and 31 chickens. DeJong writes at JAZ farm.
The latest from McPherson’s email inbox includes this note from an acquaintance he met briefly a couple years ago: “Hey, take a guess who was inquiring what was the nature of my consorting with a ” guy McPherson”…? Canadian borders agents. I think they zip drove extracted my laptop. At least that’s what it looked like from my window view inside there customs station.”
McPherson was interview for the Guardian regarding climate change and slavery. The resultant piece was published 13 December, and is linked here.