Indigeny Part I: Becoming Native To Your Place

Sharon March 24th, 2009

This weekend my family went to see a local showing of the film _Ancient Futures_ based on Helena Norberg-Hodge’s book of the same title.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, part of itit is available on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPT3ILCYGfk and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwT1H0cX100 and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O811tWg7bYQ.

In the film (and the superb book which I’d recommend to everyone), Norberg-Hodge explores the realities of an indigenous culture, which due to isolation created something imperfect, but sustainable, and the loss of sustainability caused by the importation of western modern culture. 

As a homeschool exercise, we went home and looked at other cultures that are, if not fully sustainable, generally dramatically lower users of resources than we are.  We talked about various indigenous cultures, about the stories Edna Lewis tells about life in Freetown, about our local Amish communities, about Green Belt work in Kenya,  and about peasant cultures around the world.  I gave my kids a child-aged summary of Wes Jackson’s superb book _Becoming Native To This Place_ and talked a little about this question of how we might live like that.  The idea is not to test them for pure sustainability, or a perfect life we’d like to emulate, but to talk about what they have in common, and how places that have lost idigenous traditions are reclaiming them.  

It is easy to imagine the goals of Adapting-in-Place are mostly goals of survival and getting through hard times.  I don’t think this is true, actually.  I think that the real goal is not so much to live through it (although that’s good too) it is to come out the other end of each experience with the ability to spare the next generation some of this suffering, and a way of life that offers something more than bare survival. 

I call the project “Indigeny” – that is, becoming local to your place, creating a culture that can go on, not just ’a bit after the fossil fuels run out” but for generations, and one that results in a life worth having.  Without this, we are merely minimizing losses – and all of us need more than that.

My next post is a meditation on what it would take to make my family more indigenous to our particular place.  But here’s our list. \

1. People mostly stay in one place for generations, and there is a pass down economy.  That is, in Ladakh, 90% of the population owns land – but no one buys it.  At one point, one man observes that he (now elderly) has seen 7 generations live in his house.  Because people stay, they can’t afford to degrade the region, nor can they afford to radically overpopulate it, unless there are available ecological niches being created.

2. People live in extended families, rather than nuclear ones.  This was the first thing the kids noticed about the Ladakh film – and the thing that Isaiah said he liked best, that the kids all lived with their grandparents.  There are many hands around to do the work.

3. The technologies the culture evolves are low input, and simple.  If the culture survives into the modern era, they must evolve powerful prohibitions against using other technologies.  These prohibitions must be part of the cultural identity of the group.

4. The identity of the group is both positive and negative.  That is, they must teach their children compelling stories about who they are and why it is good to be part of that culture.  They also must describe themselves against people who are not part of that culture – that doesn’t have to be a hostile definition, but “We don’t watch television because we don’t believe it is good for us” or “We don’t do this because it is part of our faith” must be part of it.  A purely affirmative self-definition that doesn’t say “no” to things seems not to be sufficient.

5. Children spend much of their time in their community and integrated into it – which some places do a lot of schooling and some a little, no successful indigenous culture sends its kids away from them all day.  Nor do they primarily educate their children to do jobs not needed in the truly local economy.  Immersion is the name of the game.

6. The local economy serves most subsistence needs.  That doesn’t mean trade or money don’t exist, but the more one moves primarily into the formal economy, the harder it is to keep up.  A portion, probably the largest portion of each household’s human resources are dedicated to subsistence activities.  This means that the people doing subsistence work are not alone in it, and the subsistence work is viewed as primary, rather than relegated to the inferior territory of household labor.

7. There is a high value placed on getting along, accomodating others, working together, sharing and resolving conflicts.  Traditions are built around these customs of sharing, and evolve for the management of common resources (despite the constant iteration of the “Tragedy of the Commons” commons are often extremely well managed).

8. People eat a truly local diet as their primary foodstuffs.  They eat what grows well and naturally in their regions, including foraging wild foods and growing in ways that do not deplete the soil.  Their crops and animals are not generally optimized – ie, they aren’t necessarily the biggest or best, but the best adapted to their particular circumstances.

9. It isn’t just food that is localized – architecture responds to local conditions, community practices respond to local conditions, and to evolving local conditions.  One of the reasons most indigenous cultures are so often thought to be “backwards” is that when confronted with modernity, their carefully evolved structures don’t work very well.  What serves beautifully in a harsh environment where little imported food is available looks scant and strange in a culture where the markets are full.  What keeps one warmer than average in a cold climate with only a small fire for heat seems drafty and weird when you can just turn the thermostat to 70.  As we evolve back from modernity, and deal with climate change, our local will change – what we need is broad resilience.

10. The culture creates minimal waste, and focuses much of it resources on making full use of what comes easily – rather than forcing what doesn’t come easily into a mold that doesn’t work.  Waste is shocking and disturbing to people. 

11. The culture has a long tradition of music, art, literature/storytelling and spiritual/religious production, as well as other projects that bring beauty and joy.  That is, it isn’t just focused on subsistence activities, but has pleasures that are available to all, that are participatory and fulfill human needs for good stories, song, beauty, uplift and a sense of connection to something greater.

 12. Having contiguity with your past is considered desirable, not bad.  Modernity reduces the past to a few heroic tales, and makes the past literally uninhabitable to the present.  Thus, those who came before us know nothing of value, and the ways of the past are archaic and foolish.  Sustainable cultures on the other hand, focus on the ways that the present future and past are linked to one another.

Now not every culture does these things perfectly – but we thought that some of these characteristics might provide a set of guidelines for the project of indigeny – and of creating a collection of indigenous cultures that can compete with the bright lights of modernity.

 Sharon

34 Responses to “Indigeny Part I: Becoming Native To Your Place”

  1. WNC Observer says:

    Sharon:

    All true. Unfortunately, there are some downsides too, if we are going to be honest.

    The pressure for conformity in such groups can be overwhelming and stifling. Intelligent people who prefer to think for themselves tend to be very mal-adapted and unhappy in such situations. There is a reason for the saying “Statluft macht frei” – “City air makes one free”.

    I know you tried to be nice and gentle in your language for your point number 4, but we all know that the reality is that such groups can often be very ugly, harsh, and even deadly brutal when it comes to antipathy toward the “other”.

    Conservative cultural perpetuation can be a two-edged sword. Good practices can be perpetuated, but so can bad ones. For example, the making of aguadente is a deeply imbedded practice in several indigenous cultures in tropical South America, and serves to greatly enhance group cohesiveness; it is also an excellent vector for the transmission of TB. It is very hard to get them to discontinue it, even when they are informed of the problem. We see this over and over: practices that are bad for people or for the environment, yet they persist for generation after generation, because they are deeply imbedded in the local culture.

    I wish these things were not so, but there is no point turning a blind eye to them and pretending that they do not exist.

  2. kerrie says:

    i have longed for that life since i was a child and looking at national geographic! i’m almost 50 and i want it even more. people say to me oh you must be nuts to want to work so hard but i think living in our culture is hard work, and life seems less meaningful. thank you for this post. i’m going to order the book from the library.

  3. Greenpa says:

    Wow. Major cosmic synchronicity! Yesterday the NYT blog “Green Inc” ran a story on the Tata Nano car- and by pure chance my comment wound up the first one.

    Take a look:
    http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/23/worlds-cheapest-car-boon-or-bane/

    Delighted to learn of Norberg-Hodges; hadn’t run into it (not an area I dig around in).

    The responses to the Green Inc post are very educational; whole spectrum of course; and a list of all the problems as we attempt to move ahead.

  4. Sharon says:

    WNC, I agree with you, and actually this is the subject of the post I’m working on right now – how to adapt these qualities without a complete rejection of what is good about modernity. I’m not trying to understate the disadvantages, so much as articulate the qualities that are associated with them – as always, they can be bad or good.

    Sharon

  5. Greenpa says:

    WNC Observer: “We see this over and over: practices that are bad for people or for the environment, yet they persist for generation after generation, because they are deeply imbedded in the local culture.”

    yes- and exactly how is our first world culture different- or in any way superior- in this regard?

  6. Sharon says:

    Although I should add, WNC, that not all cultures are equally bad about #4 – for example, the Ladakhis managed to live for a very long time in a fairly integrated Moslem and Buddhist population. I think it is an exaggeration to say that all cultures have been hostile to the intelligently independent minded as well – sometimes there are places for them to grow and develop within the culture, sometimes not – and it varies what people are concerned with conformity in. For example, the old Icelandic cultures were completely unconcerned with sexual conformity, and not that much about religious conformity. Others create outlets for certain kind of non-conformity, but not for others – for example monastic communities often operated as outlets for those whose sexual or cultural priority was not the strictures of conventional marriage – but within limited (how limited seems to have varied a lot – some essentially permitted gay relationships, etc…) varied a lot.

    I take your point ,but it is worth noting that not all of these cultures are the same. I do think, however, that the establishment of something like this does probably result in an inevitable reduction in flexibility.

    Sharon

  7. Jim says:

    I live in a horrific desert paradise near an underground river. I ride a bike to school. I garden, recycle and reuse water. I grow native crops: sage, quelites, sixty-day maize. I wonder if I am becoming what you (Sharon) describe.

    Who knows?

  8. Greenpa says:

    Sharon – I think this is the right time and place to raise this subject. I’ve been trying to float the idea of a new Peace Corps for about a year now. An inverted one.

    We desperately need to learn how to run a village well. And there ARE still intact villages around the world; usually in isolated places, where refrigerator lust has not yet penetrated.

    There would be two major impacts from such an effort- a) we could learn something; and b) the fact that we VALUE what they know would be hugely important.

    Overall, one effect of the Peace Corps, unintended but inescapable, is the little message “we’re advanced; and you’re backward.” The children inevitably pick this up- and they’re on the road to discontent with their own heritage, immediately.

    If bright 1st worlders came to their village, and their message was- “You know things we do not. Please teach us.” – what a difference.

    I put that to a reporter for a Polish newspaper a year ago, after the “Intelligent Life” coverage of our blogs- and she was startled and amazed at my saying I thought Polish villagers driving oxen to town had something to teach the world.

    They do; of course. And in many cases, it’s the elders who have the info, and we’re losing them, of course. It’s an urgent rescue need.

    Which usually sells well, PR wise, of course. :-)

    So far I’m just trying to get this idea up and out. You- have an audience. Any interest in trying to help launch something here?

  9. kathy says:

    Did you ever see The Village? It is a wonderful story about a society that forms out of fear of the outside. It is a very sustainable, kind community but relies on fear of the color red and a monster in the woods for cohesion.

  10. Sharon says:

    It sounds like I should see “The Village.”

    Greenpa, I’ve actually had the same idea a number of times – the woman who ran the Ladakh movie has been there, as a student of their lifestyle, and says that the pilgrimage of people who want to learn how to run a planet has done a lot to shore up the sense that one’s society is valuable.

    I’ve also been interested for a long time in the possibility of refugee resettlement – and using refugee agrarian populations as teachers for new agrarian groups – they often need to learn to farm in a new climate, while we need to learn the traditions that underly the society.

    Sharon

  11. Sarah says:

    “The Village” absolutely terrified me…though it is an interesting lesson in how *not* to run an isolationist community: no advantages of modern life like medical care, and it wasn’t at all clear how the elders were going to pass on the secret to the next generation without causing mass disillusionment and emigration to the outside world.

    There’s a lot of learning from “primitive” cultures going on in the field linguistics community. Cultures tend to die out when their language does, and the very presence of a rich white professor coming and asking the elders to teach him or her their language serves to encourage it being taught to the children, especially if the community had previously been persecuted for speaking it. It’s often essentially cultural and linguistic taxidermy, but there are some areas where language transmission might be revived in time.

  12. Mia says:

    There are a lot of refugee populations in the U.S. that have so much to teach us! I have worked with refugees from Sudan, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Congo, Tibet, Burma, Bosnia etc– collecting their stories, learning what I can about their cultures and traditions. Many refugees have been refugees for years, living in camps or outside their country of origin, and in the struggle for survival have lost a lot of traditional knowledge that their parents had. Other things just don’t translate well to northern new england– where to get the palm fronds for traditional Somali basketry? Where to get bamboo for traditional burmese looms? How can you slaughter a cow for a Sudanese wedding when you live in a tiny run down apartment in town? Some refugees from rural cultures are very happy to be in America away from the drudgery of agriculture, and think its funny when I ask them questions. But really despite all the challenges, refugees in the U.S. can be an amazing resource for peak oil people– and there are a lot of refugees recently resettled in small cities near you. Some may think its funny when I ask questions about their traditions and agrarian life, but more often, people are really really happy to share– they are so often treated as children , have to be taught everything about American culture– but so many refugees are experts in ancient skills like scything and bread baking and weaving and drum making and general self-sufficiency– not to mention living through hard times!!!! I recommend to everyone : go volunteer at your local refugee resettlement agency– you will learn so much!! So much more than J.H. Kunstler and all his collapse fantasies can teach you.

  13. Whereaway says:

    I read this post with very ambiguous feelings.

    There are parts I agree with – and parts that scare the hell out of me.

    I agree that we need to adapt our infrastructure to our local environment, and that we need to be able to support meeting most of our needs out of ‘local’ resources (I put local in quotes because I think there’s a huge discussion to be had about what ‘local’ means).

    Any technologies that work against the local environment are probably not sustainable (lawns or water intensive plantings in the southwest, or sealed houses that don’t promote natural airflows in the the southeast US, for example).

    But, I share much of WNC Observer’s concerns about creating exclusivity in a culture. I also think that we are enriched in many ways by creating interactions between cultures. I think having an outlet for the folks who -won’t- fit in any given small community culture is important – and I’m quite dis-utopian, I don’t think there’s a given community or culture that will work for every human being born to it.

    But – I really hate the idea of returning to a mostly agrarian society. I like to think that it’s possible to support fairly high technologies in a relatively sustainable manner, and to support societies that can continue to ‘think globally, while acting locally’.

    For all my concerns about building ‘Indigeny’ as you describe it above, I think you make good points. Modern consumerist culture has created a world – at least in the US, where it’s possible to travel across the country without seeing much that looks like a ‘local’ culture – we see the same stores, the same housing architecture (with minor changes). We go to air-conditioned supermarkets and see fresh foods any time of year, and we’re disconnected with how the seasons impact food production. I won’t mind seeing the Walmart world of cheap plastic imported useless crap disappear. I already look for local craftspeople, local stores, and, to some degree, locally (or relatively locally) grown food when I purchase.

    Michael

  14. Sharon says:

    Michael, I’m afraid I just don’t see how we could sustain the high technologies, being realistic, or the global culture. They are simply too energy intensive, and even given renewable energies, it will be truly difficult to create enough of them.

    Again, I do think it worth noting that there are agrarian cultures that have lived in relative harmony with other cultures. Parochialism does not seem totally inevitable here.

    Sharon

  15. Greenpa says:

    Michael- and: regardless of whether it is possible to maintain the high-tech stuff; it’s also going to be useful, and healthy, to have the kind of agrarian cultures Sharon is talking about be viable. Doesn’t necessarily have to wind up “either/or”.

  16. Whereaway says:

    Sharon,

    I -don’t- know what we can sustain – that’s one of the things I struggle with. I don’t think electricity will go away – although I think automobiles will.

    Much of it will depend on how the ‘long descent’ plays out – I can think of scenarios that are quite bleak, and scenarios that are only somewhat bleak (I can’t think of scenarios that are not bleak at all). The human population is in overshoot, and the world has rather unpleasant ways of dealing with species populations in overshoot.

    I don’t think sustainable energy technologies exist for a high consumption culture, even if the world population were a tenth what it is now. I -hope- there are sustainable technologies that can support a global interaction of cultures. I think it’s possible to be relatively high technology without being high consumption.

    One of the distinctions I -don’t- see being made in the discussion of how the future of technology will play out is the separation of our consumerist, mass-production/mass throw-away implementation of our technological capabilities, vs. examining how many of our technological capabilities -might- be implemented in less wasteful ways.

    You may be correct that high technologies are not sustainable. I hope not – I think the cultures that would result would be far poorer, with far fewer opportunities for us to explore our humanity if that’s the case. This is one of the walls I hit in thinking about our longer term future.

    Also – before the advent of widespread usage of fossil fuels, there was significant (although much of it was, unfortunately, colonial) interactions between cultures on a world-wide basis. There is archeological evidence for trade networks (dealing in flint) that spanned thousands of miles even before the advent of agriculture.

    I don’t want to see a ‘global’ culture (we have too much of that now, and I find many aspects of our current ‘global’ culture dehumanizing), but I fear parochialism, and I think that, without some means of maintaining a ‘global’ awareness of other cultures, parochialism will win out.

    (I also, in the end, have no interest in being a farmer, even though I’m working on learning to grow food)

    Michael

  17. Whereaway says:

    Greenpa,

    Fully agree with your statement. I don’t -want- to be a farmer. I’m better off understand where our food comes from, and what price we pay (I’m not talking about money here, but about the resources and energy involved) to get our food.

    I don’t see any future that is not far more agrarian than the one we live in now – and, by the standards of our consumerist society, far poorer. Our current agricultural methods are so thoroughly unsustainable it’s terrifying to me.

    In the early 1970′s, I read a book called ‘Topsoil and Civilization’ by Carter and Dale (long out of print). This book associated the rise and fall of civilizations throughout history with their agricultural capabilities and the depletion of their topsoil). It was originally published in 1954 (the year I was born) before the ‘green’ movement became popular. It shaped my thinking about agriculture and sustainability long before I heard of peak oil.

    I’d also like to think that we can build cultures that are less dehumanizing than one we live in today, that embraces ‘success’ in ways that leave people isolated (and I work in the corporate IT world).

    Michael

  18. Claire says:

    So far no one has pointed out that “modern” culture also is conformist (in my experience, at least). I don’t find the modern city to be hospitable to free-thinkers. Whenever I tell someone that the DH and I don’t own a tv, for instance, the response is basically hostile. Similarly, try saying to a fellow city-dweller that you try not to use a car, or avoid shopping at big-box stores whenever possible. Or, as someone earlier pointed out, just try growing food plants in your yard in an urban area, especially in a well-off part of an urban area (or a subdivision that wants to pretend it’s well-off) and see how open-minded your fellow residents are. Urban life has its own set of norms that we are expected to conform to.

    I’m active in the local interfaith dialog, and I think the practices of interfaith dialog might be helpful in avoiding the tendency to set up an “other” against which to measure ourselves and our culture and thereby keep it from changing when the need arises. In interfaith dialog we move from tolerance to understanding to cooperation (solving problems together) to appreciation of different perspectives to creative interchange, according to Dr. David Oughton’s paper on the subject. Creative interchange, the highest level, means to expand our perspective through intercommunication with those who have different experiences, beliefs, and values in order to develop community. To do this, our religion/philosophy/community must be open to the possibility of learning from and changing in response to our encounters with other religions/philosophies/communities. Applying this to the Indigeny movement Sharon suggest, we’d strive to keep our local patterning porous and open to learning from others nearby (including those within our locality who in some way challenge the norms) and far away. In this way we might be able to gracefully change with the arrival of new information and new natural and cultural patterns.

    Claire

  19. Whereaway says:

    Claire,

    I agree that much of ‘modern’ culture is conformist – and I think some of that is breaking down with our current troubles.

    We own TV’s :) – but I don’t watch them much (now… surfing the internet, or other computer activities…).

    We have our backyard garden (not real successful – yet) and will expand that to a small part of our front yard this year.

    I rode my bicycle to work last summer, and will again starting this spring, and I’m going to work on adjusting to riding in colder weather as next fall hits).

    My wife and I have taken up other things, like hand-drumming, that somewhat outside consumerist cultural norms. I don’t get the push-back I expected for that, even in conservative Colorado Springs.

    I also think your last paragraph was wonderful – you’re defining a cultural ideal of being open to ‘other’ which I fully embrace.

    Michael

  20. dveej says:

    And And it’s the subject of gay people that most disproves this whole post! These traidional cultures have no room for gays and lesbians. To cite “ancient icelandic” cultures as a counterexample is, er, ignorant: look up the term :bikkja”if you don’t agree.

    Andreligion is behind this refusal to accommodate the new, the different.
    I wish we could have both the benefits of “traditional cultures” and theStadtluft. Soon we’ll have an opportunity to try.

  21. Edward Bryant says:

    Claire said:

    “So far no one has pointed out that “modern” culture also is conformist (in my experience, at least).”

    I agree completely. We garden in the front yard, plant food forests, harvest rainwater and compost humanure. Throw in our secular humanist bent, lack of a lawn and TV and we are seen by many as dangerously different.

    Indeed, modern cultures can be far more coercive than traditional cultures, which often resort to gossip to compel “correct” behavior.

  22. Rosa says:

    We already have generational, moderately unified, clan-sized subcultures. It’s just that they’re spread out geographically and stratified by things like clothes and music and brands of soda (seriously, there’s a novel I read where you know the kid has found Good People because they drink Blue Sky soda). Some of them are trying to sustainable, some of them aren’t. But they’re definitely there – I wonder if, once you add them up, the varieties of religious separatists, the squatters, the libertarian survivalists, the MOVE folks, the TMers and pacifist antitaxers and communitarians, and all the other edge groups add up to a majority?

    It’s just that, like our families, our subcultures aren’t local, they’re scattered all over the globe.

  23. Linda S says:

    If we view a return to indigeny as a spiral, not a circle, then it is possible to envision communities that have relearned ways of living in harmony with the land while retaining the best of modern culture — respect for diversity and the ability to network with neighboring communities in friendly, mutually advantageous ways. I do believe that mankind has learned from globalization and that those lessons might serve him well in the future. It’s conjecture at this point, so why not imagine the future as we wish it would be and then work to make it that way?

  24. Sharon says:

    Dveej, you should consider some of the ways that even quite rigid cultures have included gay and lesbian people. A number of Native American and other indigenous cultures have had positive roles for gays and lesbians. John Boswell has shown pretty conclusively that early Christianity had rituals for the solemnization of gay and lesbian relationships, and certainly chunks of monastic culture were intermittently more positive to gays and lesbians.

    It is worth noting that except for a comparatively tiny portion of the last few years, most secular societies haven’t been that friendly to gay people either.

    Sharon

  25. galacticsurfer says:

    nice to see such an analysis of traditional cultures. All the modern alienation is because we have no connection to past or knowledge of where we are going so that the present seems meaningless. Stadtluft ist frei. Freedom to do what is the question? When life is familiar then rituals grow up to express what is in our soul. Like ancient celtic rituals 4 times a year

    http://www.packrat-pro.com/celts/celtholidays.htm

    At any rate I read a book about the old celtic mythology and culture and they saw things differently than we do and the mythology is not just fairy tales but has deep spiritual meanings. I understand how James Joyce in his internationalist hatred of the small town Ireland in “The Dead” and similar could turn his back on a country already far away from its tribal roots (and poets,etc. reviving nationalism based on such mythological figures, cuchulainn,etc.) but 2000 years ago the people were not just living a small town life lacking in “Stadtluft” but were part of nature. Lacking a comparison with some supposedly better more materialistic more powerful culture(coke, hoolywood, automobile) is probably helpful for the development of a sustainable culture with independent spiritual meaning. Isolation and localization is probably important for cultural evolutuion in this case. Freedom from global conformity is also important for people to live.

  26. Nowherebeach says:

    There is another important benefit from staying in one location for many years: accumulated wealth is passed on from one generation to the next. Wealth doesn’t necessarily mean money. It may be furniture, tools, outbuildings on the family farm, etc. It all adds up and helps families and communities prosper.

  27. Greenpa says:

    Dveej; and Sharon- “These traditional cultures have no room for gays and lesbians. ”

    As Sharon pointed out, there are good examples of traditional cultures that embraced homosexual individuals as “normal” variations.

    I would go on to say there are “many” such examples- but their existence is often obscured by early missionary influence. Christian missionaries were of course horrified at “primitive” sexuality. One of the first things they taught them was that sex was evil- all sex, of course, but homosexuality most of all.

    Consequently, many later accounts of life in the older culture have homosexuality erased from existence- the converted or educated “savages” being now ashamed and horrified to the point of denying it ever happened.

    An example few are aware of; in Melanesian and New Guinea cultures, it was almost universal for young boys to perform fellatio on the adult men, regularly. Because, they said, the boys could not become sexually mature, without that special food.

    That’s not the same as what we consider homosexuality; but knowledge of the existence of the practice- which was virtually universal- has been almost completely expunged.

    I’d be interested in knowing how many of the readers here knew about this practice. Anyone?

  28. Jim says:

    Greenpa….

    and his evil twin, Groinpa!!!!

    I knew, yes, about the Sambia. And other such cultures. But then, I am a history teacher and sponsor the LGBT club here.

    Jim

  29. vera says:

    Modern townies are just about the most conformist, clueless band of humans that ever lived. Oh sure, you can walk in NYC in your PJs and pierced everything, etc etc… but what’s your life about? Free to consume, free to hide if you are a sociopath, free to parasitize on the hinterlands, free to hold cockamamie beliefs thought up by some other clueless intellectuals. That’s freedom? Small groups expect people to hew to a certain set of values, but when it comes to non-conformity to the larger world and its crap, they are often way ahead.

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  33. I enjoyed this piece. I really realized a great deal. I’ll ask buddies to learn from it too.

  34. Renea Munley says:

    I enjoy reading your blog posts but unfortunately this time you may have been too tired when writing because the article it feels rushed.

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