Sunday, November 25, 2012

What Comes Next

In the cracks of capitalism's retreat, we plant the seeds of What Comes Next. We share resources, skills, time, and care. I'm not about to name this blind elephant, but there are parts I can feel and describe. Certainly terms like mutual aid and community come to mind.

After a natural disaster, when the hierarchy we take for granted abruptly breaks down and suddenly no one is in control, we as individual people remember and do what comes naturally:  we share, both blessings and burdens. We remember the essence of being human, given the disruption of the daily rut.

As capitalism fails more people, What Comes Next becomes more real and defined. Do we walk away from a promise that capitalism cannot possibly fulfill? We are. We are doing it in 7 billion plus ways, minus a small number of those firmly clinging to the top of the pyramid.

What Comes Next is already here. It is what fills the gaps capitalism leaves behind in its slash and burn adventure through our present moment. It is growing food, sharing, reclaiming the waste stream as a resource, rediscovering manual skills, making friends and having a great time, and countless other ways. As capitalism burns through people and the earth beneath their feet, increasing numbers of us are creatively reacting to capitalism's obsolescence.

I like the thought of billions of people asking themselves what makes sense in their daily lives, and trying it out--7 billion people taking their minds away from destruction (whether unintentional or deliberate--"Hey man, I gotta pay my rent!"), and putting their thoughts and energy toward making a life, letting go of the hold of the promise of capitalism. It's a veil, it seems, this idea that money is a good way to live, and the way out of this prison is ...what? There are infinite answers, as we each pump out feedback in our reaction to coping with the lack of access to money and what it means--protection, basically, from the legal system --"Our basic needs have been turned into private property, and in our culture, private property is always violently defended."

We are each, in our small ways, adding white noise to the cacophony of KYRIARCHY SUCKS. The power they (the 1%, the elites, etc.) hold over us (the 99%, the masses, etc.) is an illusion. This power does not exist.  Yes, isolated pockets of demonstrators can be taken to jail, sometimes even beaten and shot. But we the masses are free. There are no slaves in the landscape of consciousness.  It is here we plant our feet, push down our roots, break out of the shell we thought to contain ourselves, and push forth into new life.  We have no idea what awaits us.

Capitalism contracts, and what seeps up through the cracks but pioneer weeds, growing in the harshest conditions, creating an environment for flourishing, for reproducing fecundity? This is why I can't help but be an optimist. There are no if onlies. The world is changing rapidly, and our adaptations cycle into the feedback loop, creating yet more rapid change. Hold on to your seats folks! What a fantastic time to be human!

Gardens spring up in the wastelands of corporate retreat. We ask ourselves, “What makes sense, given the reality of what I observe with all my senses?” Being honest with ourselves becomes a map for this new unknown territory, the inevitable What Comes Next.

“The future exists. First in imagination, then in will, then in reality.” --Barbara Max Hubbard


  1. When I was younger and just starting to figure out how the system worked, I had no idea what poverty really looked like, or wealth. I had no idea how one could possibly live on less than $50,000 a year, or how to find anything outside of the corporate system. My childhood and my schooling only prepared me to be a cog in the machine, trained me to learn how to represent a company from a young age (literally), taught me to compete with my friends to sell more things for some corporation that, if we sold enough (without pay, of course), they might donate a small portion of their profits to my school. I was told there was no way but the corporate way, no way to function without credit and a checking account etc.

    Now that I'm older and meeting more people and more creative people, I'm learning how important the local economy is, how it's possible to meet most of your needs without mainstream corporate America, but it's not easy. It's taken years of research to find anything non-corporate, and I'm still looked at oddly for doing this. Even my Green-minded friends spend a lot of time developing corporate loyalty.

    More people need to talk about the way they live their lives that's not touched by corporations. How they find food, or make clothes, or learn new skills. If we don't have any models how can we imagine new ways to live ourselves?

  2. I think these are conversations worth having. I grew up dirt poor and, except for a few miserable years of being middle class, I have remained poor as an adult--poor in money, anyway, but often rich in community. I wrote a series of articles about unjobbing and unschooling (they go well together, like beans and corn bread) starting here (four parts):

    1. part 2 is getting me a 404 not found.

  3. Not sure why the links are not working. A web tech I am not.

    Part 2:

    Part 3:

    Part 4:

    1. These worked, thanks. Interesting articles, and definitely a good deal to think about.