It’s this feeling of living in two worlds at once. And needing to be adept in both.
The one world, that I am more socialized to be in, where you make money, and pay people to do the little things. The little things that really are the big things. Basic, but big, in terms of survival. Cooking. Cleaning. Building shelter. Growing food. Fixing appliances. Fixing bodies. Fixing health. Those are the skills of the other world…that skills that support life but that other people do, and do them to make money so they can pay yet other people to take care of their other needs…
Here I am, living in a house, a beautiful home, on Martha’s Vineyard with big televisions. Wireless internet. Two telephone lines. Yet, when a problem arises– the phone connection goes out, the wireless connection is unreliable, the TV won’t switch between cable and internet where I can watch Netflix—I am powerless. I must call someone to fix the problem, or find something else to do.
So I’ve developed hobbies, like cooking, like writing, like gardening, like outdoor sports and activities, that require no one’s expertise or schooling, no technologies beyond my body and the earth and the stuff of nature, and some cooking appliances.
Yet the phone and the internet and plumbing and a car and all these things are essential to my lifestyle as I know it, and so I depend on their functioning without knowing, myself, how to make them function. I’m sure that what I’m describing is a common lack of knowledge amongst many people living in non “primitive” or “survivalist” circumstances. Unless I am just a lone nincompoop surrounded by a sea of more intelligent and skilled peoples.
Sometimes I get the feeling like I’m learning how to live. All on my own. Haven’t humans come from a long lineage of other humans, and before that we evolved from our pre-human prototype? Yes. Learning how to live, if I really think about it, has been about learning how to work successfully at a job, in order to make money, in order to pay people to take care of me and keep me comfortable and alive.
Hmmm. And what if learning to live in a community requires patience to really see the community, to be in the community and see what it wants and needs are, and how to serve its people and receive its gifts, before trying aggressively to push my desire for success onto it? What if learning to live, in this day and age, is about learning, once again, to take care of one another and ourselves in those more basic, essential ways? What if the main motive is not making a buck or a million, but…but something else I can’t quite put into a contrite sentence just yet?
What if value is seen as what we can offer each other, the real people directly around us, rather than what things we can put out there into the universe?
What if my computer broke down, and I could no longer rely on youtube to teach me how to do things, or google to look up the phone number of the nearest computer repair store? I might flail my arms and whine in desperation and annoyance, and then eventually realize that what I need to know is probably attainable without those things.Or eventually could be once we humans re-obtained some more “basic” skills and began to communicate more effectively with one another, once we replace the need for cash with the reality of needing each other.
And now I float between that fragile, lonesome world with a computer and internet that–for now–I can still rely on, and that other world that will always be there, where I go to bed and dream and awake tomorrow.
We live in two worlds at once. To navigate between them, we must be smarter than ever, it seems.