A fool’s paradise

We have some guests (common this time of the year) and they (like others) have asked the question: “Why did you do this?”  I answer differently each time but there is a common thread…”Well, I just got tired of the rat race….”

But ‘Tired of the rat race’ doesn’t really say it and so I add sentiments as my mood dictates and sometimes it is a rant against the ascending forces of greed and ugly that seems to dominate the news more and more these days.  And sometimes I describe the more subtle but still ugly ways the systems we have embraced surround us in our daily lives. These systems include the gouging, cheating, stealing and violation for profit as you might expect from a capitalist system but they also include the more accepted forms of moral crimes from escalating real estate prices to fraudulent investment schemes from police that kill civilians to teachers being ‘locked out’ of schools.

I just keep seeing the systems we support as failing us.  Especially government.

The BIG ugly seems to have succeeded at the trickle down effect where wealth distribution and common good have failed to. It all seemed so ugly to me that it came to be wrapped up in the phrase: ‘the rat race’.

Put another way: I don’t believe my government works on behalf of the people anymore.  I really don’t believe corporations have a moral compass and I don’t believe they work for the people or the good of the planet either.  I still have faith in individual people and the lower they are on the status chain, the more I find to sustain that faith.  Poor people can be petty criminals to be sure but, generally speaking, all the people I have met all around the world have been – on the whole – decent and considerate of others.  In the hoi polloi, I have faith. In the systems and the institutions, I have none.

And so we moved away.

“Surely you don’t think you are safe from the Big ugly, as you call it, simply by living remote?”

“No.  No, I don’t.  The Big ugly is quite capable of getting to me in ways I have yet to even imagine.  I have a smart phone after all. It may, in fact, have me!  I don’t trust it NOT to rat me out in some way some day.  But I do think it will take them longer.  People amassed in urban centres are so much easier to control, don’t you think?  So much easier to influence.  So much easier to intimidate.  Anyone striving to live healthy and happy out here has much more of a chance to do so when they are not immersed and entangled in other’s systems.

“Of course, we are enmeshed in some systems still.  I admit that freely.  But we have fewer and they have less influence.  We are freer.  Of that I have no doubt.”

“So the rat race is not simply about making a living and doing so in a city?”

“No.  Not at all.  That part of the rat race is just boring at the worst, satisfying for some and positively rewarding for others.  I do not hate that.  That is the mouse race. To me, the rat race is a term that describes the bigger systems, the ones that require debt, interest, legal enforcement, jails, wealth and health inequality, pollution, rape of the planet and wars. They are enslaving.  You know, that stuff of mankind that makes for fortunes, power, fear, loathing and many forms of perversions.  The ones that trash the golden rule.  The forces that generate and feed off of inequality.”

“Can you escape that out here?”

“Yes.  To a large extent, yes.  When you live remote and, by definition, rather minimally and simply, everyone you encounter is basically equal.  And they are more independent and harder to round up.  Less easily frightened.  We have a tiny, minuscule footprint on the planet, few if anyone are ever cheated, the golden rule still rules for the most part.  And, for the most part, it is the only rule.  And we have some time to stop and smell the roses.

“We may be living in a fool’s paradise but it still feels like paradise to me.”


6 thoughts on “A fool’s paradise

  1. I agree with you again. Your reasons for leaving the grid are compelling. Have you considered a total news black out? Creating a no news zone as in who is Isis and who cares or why care? So much of what is considered to be news worthy as reflected in the media is manufactured hysteria. Back in on the grid land folks are not leaving but pulling the plug on media swill. Those striving to increase stress turn in to twenty-four hours all talk radio.


    • Interesting comment about the media “blackout”.
      I find myself watching the “news” less and less.
      It seems unbiased reporting has gone the way of vacuum tube television.
      What poses as news these days seems to be nothing more than compliant soft shoeing for whoever is the “paid advertiser” de jour.
      If it’s the govt. they get preferential treatment, if it’s “big business” they get spoon fed questions with the expected political correct “canned” responses.
      I watched Global 6pm “news” last night as I was curious about the neverending teachers strike and I actually felt sorry for Chris “The Jock” Gailus when he was interviewing Keith “Big Hair” Baldrey. The “Hair’ was about as communicative as a opium den addict…….. Answers had to be dragged out of him. Painful to watch. God forbid Keith be critical of Christy……..
      The media is losing market share at an alarming rate.
      They only need look in the mirror to see who’s to blame.


      • “The media is losing market share at an alarming rate.
        They only need look in the mirror to see who’s to blame.” I couldn’t agree more. I don’t believe the problem is the journalists (altho they are somewhat cowardly on the whole) but it is their constraints. Who pays the reporter to track down a story anymore? Where are the scribes over the Mt. Polley spill? The media has dropped the ball and tried to give the public pablum as a substitute. CBC is now drivel-filled. The worst part is that it seems to be working………..


    • I am not a news junky like I used to be. Couldn’t take it. In fact, I can avoid it easily nowadays. But news is ubiquitous. It is everywhere. ‘News’ as summarized just in conversations is enough to keep you drawn in. The latest terrorist item doesn’t hook me anymore but the fact that there is a new bad group (ISIS) identified intrigues to some extent. Like a bad car accident, you slow to see the ugly. Probably a survival mechanism at the root of it all.

      But I am not really talking about the news/lie/propaganda system of infotainment, I am talking about the actual evil that is so pervasive. In fact, it is so common that it is not deemed evil anymore. “Guy’s gotta make a buck, eh?” That seems to resonate with people as they witness a fraud or a theft….all part of a day’s work it seems. I mean there seems to be little outrage at Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin even if there is disapproval. We expect that kind of thing.

      I admit that a sense of that comes from the sensationalist media but one can’t help but believe that where there is smoke there is fire. So, things tend to look dark and foreboding as a result. Or, rather, feel dark and foreboding. And I know I am not alone in feeling this way. We can only be cheated, lied to and hurt so much before we live in a state of suspicion and distrust and our own government is the perp in so many of the cases. And they are not even just suspected as the criminal but it is generally known and accepted as the ‘way it is’.

      That is depressing and requires response. And everyone feels that. My first response as a young person was to rant and lecture (a trait that I obviously haven’t shed) and then to ‘get active’ but, at a certain point, you just give up tilting at windmills and move away. And so we did.


  2. I understand your reasons for being off the grid more clearly than I had understood before. Other than the occasion bag lady paddling along your island community is more of a utopia than a dystopia. We have islands of calm in the big smoke but they are behind tall fences and cameras for security. Isolation is your security!


    • Yes. Isolation is my security….as much as anyone can be secure. But it is also my pleasure and my interest. I like it here and I like learning about it. So, it is 3 in one security, interest and challenge. I actually think it is healthier, too, but we’ll not count that since some people in the city live to be 100 and some people out here die young. So that is a claim unsubstantiated. But – no matter how you define it – it is better for me. No question.


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