Radical simplicity, slavery, abundance

reading this book radical simplicity by jim merkel. he describes cultures in kerala and native cultures in india and how the interaction of monoculture agriculture and schools and private property are negatively changing life. he also describes how the quality of life seems very high for the people there now.

now, to get it out of the way, the depictions seem overly romantic. there is some boomer energy in there. some 'simpler, happier people' kind of language. he talks about well-behaved kids. but he goes so far as to say, they never fight and are pretty much never sad. i mean, people still have death and sadness and difficulty and struggles.

the overall message kind of holds true though. he is astounded, as was i, when looking at the culturally significant practices being demolished by schools. children basically forced into school, and gaining school knowledge and literacy. but then losing 'forest literacy.' i'll give him that. it makes a lot of sense. adults observing that kids in school all day do not want to listen to stories, and songs, and that those explain how to live.

the phrase it takes a village to raise a child makes sense to me now. people think it is about like, well, labor. having someone to watch and feed kids. that seems superficial, so some even go so far as to educate the kids, like live-in nannies and tutors. those things are still superficial. raising a child means like, giving them a somewhat comprehensive view of life and the skill required to live in a society. boarding school and finishing school are attempts at that, but they are not it. to raise a child, you need examples, you need kids to see how the world works, you need to have kids exposed messages from multiple sources. if a parent says going to school is important, that is one thing, but if it is repeated by other parents, and other kids, and the kid can see it. then it seems to be important.

what we have in american cities, for the most part, is like somewhat of a dictated culture that serves consumption. sure maybe you find the rare place that has a culture of its own. but like even in rural areas, that culture mainly centers around some hot button issues that politics says are nice. same as in the cities. in the cities, at least, you get exposed to a lot of choices and options. if you had a self-sufficient village, that would be one thing. but there are few of those.

the book talks about a native group that used to have ability to roam around the forest and collect food. and tend to the different plants. now they have been excluded from entering into parks. and then they have plots of land. but because the land is all divided they grow monoculture and cash crops. you cannot create all the different plants needed for survival on individual plots. the native healers would go to various villages to collect herbs and plants to keep people healthy. now they cannot. and because of these high value plants, now wildlife is coming and 'raiding' these super rich areas. in the book they are referred to as 'candy stores'.

i would say even most rural towns are like those candy stores.

they talk about how this all rests on people needing to be cooperative, sharing, and non-materialism. television and advertising emphasize the opposite. he talks about how a haircut costs 10 cents. but everyone has all their needs met. whereas in america people have to overcharge because of the costs of everything.

seems like without slavery lots of this stuff would not be possible.