The documentary Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh (John Page, Chris Breemen, Helena Norberg-Hodge & Eric Walton, 1993) provides an excellent introduction to the local, human scale traditions in Ladakh, and how local communities have been affected by the industrialised notion of “progress”. The observation that consumer culture as portrayed in advertisements and Western media appeals primarily to insecure teenagers is apt. I am tempted to qualify the observation from my autistic perspective: consumer culture is designed to target neuronormative teenagers, […]
The specter of plague haunts our world, and it brings with it not only the ghouls of disease and death but vast economic and social uncertainty of a sort only the most elderly among us remembers (the Great Depression and World War II). My father is 90 and when I called him a child of the depression once, he pointed out to me that as someone born in 1929, he really didn’t come to political consciousness until the Depression had […]
This blog is also available in Russian and Spanish. With Christmas coming up, household consumption will soon hit its yearly peak in many countries. Despite homely pictures of tranquility on mass-produced greeting cards, Christmas is more about frenzied shopping and overspending than peace on earth or quality time with family and friends. As with so much of our lives, the holidays have been hijacked by the idea that satisfaction, even happiness, is only one more purchase away. Two generations ago, […]
Tucked within the pages of the January issue of the Agriview, a monthly farm publication published by the State of Vermont, was a short survey from the Department of Public Service (DPS). Described as an aid to the Department in drafting their “Ten Year Telecom Plan”, the survey contains eight questions, the first seven of which are simple multiple-choice queries about current internet and cell phone service at the respondent’s farm. The final question is the one that caught my […]
Important official legal disclaimer: This is a short work of fiction. Any resemblances to real people, people you may know, people you think you may know, etc., is entirely deliberate. When I’m at work I’m staring at a screen. When I’m not at work I’m staring at screens. Checking social media. Scrolling through updates. Scrolling through friends. Scrolling through products. Scrolling through #instagram. Scrolling through #amazon. The customer is always right. Make sure that what you’re selling is something that […]
“We all need nourishment for our psyche. It is impossible to find such nourishment in urban tenements without a patch of green or a blossoming tree. We need a relationship with nature. I am just a culture-coolie myself, but I derive a great deal of pleasure from growing my own potatoes.” — Carl Jung If you don’t have a few fruit flies in your house, you may not be enjoying the harvest as much as you could. Life tries to […]
“Plastic delights, plastic dreams. In the paradise promised to all and reserved for a few, things are more and more important and people less and less so. The ends have been kidnapped by the means: things buy you, cars drive you, computers program you, television watches you.” — Eduardo Galeano, from Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World Local Futures wishes to pay tribute to the Uruguayan writer, Eduardo Galeano, who passed away on April 13th. In a style […]
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti I have a secret that I usually keep locked up inside of myself, hidden from even those who know me well: I suffer from depression. At times it is a deep, bottomless depression, an intense loneliness, serious end-of-the-world-thoughts depression.