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Moving Forward Toward a Lifely Way of Life
After writing posts about lifely products last week, it occurred to me that I should also write about about what what we mean when we say we are moving forward to “A Lifelstyle Based in Life"
Our underlying directive is to be “oriented to Nature.” To us, this means that Nature is the center of our lives and our intent is to understand Nature and live by its ways as part of the whole of Life, just like every other species.
We are, after all, a species of Nature—Homo sapiens—not industrial consumers. As they say, “When in Rome do as the Romans do,” so therefore, being of Nature, we should do as Nature does, not as materialistic industrialists dictate.
Since humankind first appeared on Earth as a species around 200,000 BC, as far as I can tell, there have been only three basic ways of obtaining what we need to support our human lives.
Hunter-Gatherers lived 100 percent in their natural ecosystems, with everything everything needed to sustain their lives coming from their local ecosystems—food, water, clothing, shelter and everything else. As their name implies, they hunted and gathered and used these materials to make everything they needed by hand. There are still cultures today who do this. It is possible. Around 18,000 BC, clay pottery was created and humans began to work with raw metals.
Agrarian Societies developed around 8000 BC when humans began to control the growing of plants and for consistency in food supply. This lead to the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Mayan, and many others who built the first civilizations and societies. These societies based in agriculture continued for more than 9000 years. And even as these civilizations developed, still for many centuries, everything was made by hand using simple tools utilizing unprocessed local materials from the Earth. The materials were used as they were found, unchanged.
Industrial Societies began around 1750. In 1764, the first machine came into use in the production of goods that would change the world. Instead of spinning yarn by hand, the spinning Jenny allowed yarn to be spun faster, which led to more yarn available to be woven into fabrics. Other inventions followed until the steam power tipped production out of the human hands and into machines. In 1793 the first textile mill opened in America and machine industry became the norm. The population moved from farms to cities to work in the factories and by necessity workers had to buy machin-manufactured goods because they no longer had the materials or skills to make the stuff of daily life themselves. In the 1900s advances in science led to the invention of manmade materials that could be used to make consumer products such as plastics, now producing products from materials not found in Nature at all.
All we need to do is look around to see that industrial society isn’t working.
The Lifely Way of Life
At Lifely, we are exploring ways to think and act like human beings living in Nature, rather than consumers living in an industrial world.
At the heart of our work is the restoration of our natural spirituality. This is the source of wisdom which has been lost in a world driven by materialism. Where industrialism sees Nature as a warehouse of natural resources to turn into products, we see the Earth as a living organism and Nature as a cooperation of species in the ongoing regeneration of Life.
The fundamental activity of all humans is to maintain our bodies, and to do so we must draw upon the ecosystems in which we live. At the same time, we must sustain those ecosystems that provide the wherewithal to sustain our very lives. Without those ecosystems, there would be no life at all on Earth.
We need to move forward beyond industrialization to to a new way of life that sustains all Life. It is not our intention to move backwards into the past, but rather to move forward into creating a new human life based in Life itself. We may draw upon the past for ideas and example, but there is a new life ahead.
One step in that direction is to move out of the industrial system by thinking differently. We have chosen, for example, to not pursue material excess, but instead to fulfill our needs in a simple way and put our attention and interest on learning more about Nature and Spirit and how to live from that perspective.
Part of what we are exploring are the products we all use in daily life—not to be consumers, but to provide for our needs. We all need to wear shoes, for example, so we need to find shoes that are best for our feet and made in a way that sustains all species of Life at the same time. We might forage local forests, archetectural salvage yards, or flea markets like hunter-gatherers. We might grow our own plants and animals, using the whole plant and the whole animal as native people do. We might create new ways of making things that respect Life. All of this in the context of meeting our basic needs as human beings in body, mind, and spirit.
We also are exploring human relationships, between individuals, as groups and communities, and our human relationship to other species specifically and the world at large. All of this is part of our lifely viewpoint.
Over time, a social structure may evolve where villages and their traditional production of goods might replace suburbia, or suburbia might turn into lively centers of cottage industry. We are already seeing this happen.
At deeper level, some people may choose a wilderness experience of living. But that still would require meeting basic human needs. Currently our society separates humans from the wild to protect at least some of the wild Nature from human destruction. But what is really needed is for humans to be integrated into ecosystems in a way that human activity actually benefits Nature instead of causing harm.
What we’re doing is exploring and creating how we humans might live as the beings of Nature we are, in body, mind, and spirit. It’s a process. We’re excited to see where our explorations and creations might lead.
How It Is In Nature
A few days after I wrote this, Larry and I were in a seaside town not far from where we live.
It was time for lunch and we discovered that a restaurant that had been closed for months was now open, so we went inside. They seated us at a table right next to a window, where we could look out on the water and watch sea lions lying on a pier. We had often watch these very sea lions from the shore, so we were enjoying seeing them up close.
As I was watching them, I remembered how in Nature, all species are provided with everything they need to be alive. Those sea lions had air to breathe, water to drink and wash their bodies, and an abundance of food for the taking. And then needed nothing else. All their needs were met. Their entire life fits right in to the ecosystem.
They are a species of Nature, just like we humans are a species of Nature. We have been given everything we need to live, just as they have. Why can’t we see that?