I finished reading this really amazing book recently called A Handmade Life and here is an excerpt from it that really stuck out for me.
“In the past, we looked to experts, to leaders, to national heroes for knowledge and guidance. To continue doing so means accepting a paternalistic way of life that holds us in a state of permanent adolescence. And deferring to the experts is tremendously wasteful, stiffling the imagination. We deny ourselves the joy of full developments at a time when we’re in need of all the creativity we can muster to solve the desperate problems confronting our world. All these leaders and planners, however wise and skillful they may be are simply no match for the challenge. …Expert knowledge is certainly needed in every area, but too little concern has been given to the value of stumbling. If enough people are searching – stumbling as they may – we will make many discoveries and the stumbling diminishes as our searching skills get honed with practice. There is also great value in all of us realizing that our abilities can be improved with use. We need to design our responses to society’s emergencies to involve as many people as possible, and not be afraid of some inevitable stumbling.”
This really agrees with my observations of how a lot of people operate. When we get together with friends and/or family and inevitably get to talking about important issues, I’ve found that time and time again people don’t really end up doing much of anything to address the important issues that they spend so much time and energy talking about. Instead, people defer to the experts, or to the government, or to anybody else just as long as they don’t have to do anything about it or change their lives in any way. I think we all need to grow up a little bit. This is our world, we are a part of it and everything that we do has an impact on everything else that exists. If we want to see a better world, we need to do something about it and we need to quit relying on the “experts” and the “leaders”. They can’t handle all the big issues, they can’t even handle all the small issues. Everyone is needed, especially you.
Anyway, my time here in NE Missouri has continued to be amazing. I’m finding myself learning more and more each day and I’m also finding my skills and passions being put to better use every day. I spent about a week at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, which is about 40 miles away from the Possibility Alliance. The first 3 days at DR were a timber framing workshop, which was a great opportunity to learn more about building with natural materials. JR, one of the other apprentices at the PA, and I biked out to DR together and we stayed for another several days after the workshop to help out with a building project at DR in exchange for some lumber. Getting paid in things is much more satisfying that getting paid with money. We’re going to be using the lumber on a building project that we’re going to be getting started with soon here at the PA. I enjoyed my time at DR and enjoyed meeting a bunch of new people, but was really happy to get back here. The week before I went to DR, I had the opportunity to bike into Kirksville with some folks to help out our friends at the Kirksville Permaculture Education Center. They are fixing up their house and it was a joy to help them make some more progress so they will be able to be more comfortable and offer more educational opportunities. In the afternoon, I went and helped another friend, Kevin, in Kirksville with planting some trees in his yard. Kevin and his partner are both very into primitive skills and it was great to connect with him on that stuff. We are planning on putting on a bow making workshop sometime soon and we’re talking about having some more primitive skills workshops as well. Exciting stuff.
The 3 Epochs primitive skills Permaculture course in early June got cancelled because not enough people signed up, so I’m a little disappointed about that. But, there is another course in the planning phases right now for mid to late august in Madison, WI. It sounds like there is already a lot of local interest in this course, so I’m getting excited about that.
Lots of great things are coming together around here. The neighbor to the north put his property up for sale and the Possibility Alliance has been interested in buying that property for a while, and all of the funds have been raised to buy those 80 acres to the north. 30 acres will be for a family of Ethan’s friends, 40 acres will be for the Possibility Alliance Peace and Permaculture School, and the remaining 10 acres are for one of last years apprentices, Will. Also, Ethan and Sarah have decided to try to have another child. We’re all really excited about these new things coming together and feel very blessed to be a part of all of these great things that are happening.
Alright, time to get back. Thanks for reading this and thanks for doing what you do and being who you are. If we all do our small things with great love, the world will be a better place.
P.S. I started reading the book, Endgame by Derrick Jensen and it has been very eye opening so far, I highly recommend it.