Is Your Soul Prepared?

The unplugging movement represents more than the mainstream assimilation of modern environmentalism. The trend toward integrating green consciousness into the popular discourse is a step in the right direction. Yet, the notion that material culture can attain existential salvation by buying organics in re-usable bags leaves me unsatisfied, uninspired, and impatient. The consumption of feel-good-about-your-purchase labels packaged around marginally better goods and services only raises questions about the marketing campaign and a hollow feeling. After decades of hard-fought battles, we are toasting victory from a watered-down version of conservation, sustainability, and social justice.

Although good has come from the green movement, consumers still consume more than ever. Renewable energy, efficiency standards, and public policy hold promise for reducing the impact of our lifestyle, but one simple natural law trumps these well-intentioned efforts: if you create more, people will consume more. If more food is available, a species’ population will grow until it exceeds carrying capacity. When the population exceeds carrying capacity, it has to shrink until it reaches sustainable levels.

This logic applies to us as well. Our culture demands that we find a way to consume more. More resources, more energy, more consumerism is the surefire modern recipe for personal success and a growing economy. Technology may allow us to do more with less, but it doesn’t get at the heart of this problem.

We must simplify our material demands and take possession of our own identities. Reducing our dependence on the industrial life-support system for individual purpose, collective identity, and sustenance is the most reliable way to attain equilibrium with the planet and ourselves. Much more certain than waiting around for fusion-powered flying tractors harvesting local heirloom organics (although that would be cool).

Many material, economic, and socio-political obstacles stand in the way of mass simplification of our material lifestyles. What do I have to give up? Where would I live? What would I eat? Are there cars? What do I do for work? Is there even money? Are you suggesting we abandon it all and live like cavemen? These are worthwhile questions.

However, this isn’t where the rapid and spontaneous dismantlement of the current system (the Great Unplugging) begins; not with pondering the physical form of the future and doubts about measuring up to austerity. It starts with one question: “Is your soul prepared for drastic change?”

Win people’s souls and their minds will follow. Win people’s minds and their bodies will act accordingly. The best way to mobilize people to solve our present crisis is to get them excited about answering “Yes!”.

If success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do...
How would I be?
What would I do?
Buckminster Fuller