Trapped in cities

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thrifty++
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Trapped in cities

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:04 am

I was talking with a friend tonight who is quite a bit older and had once lived in a hippie commune completely off grid for about 3 years. They rode around naked on horse back. Grew vegetables and hunted for meat. Made fires regularly. No power. Hot water bath outside. Sleeping in. Doing what you want. Communal gatherings around the fire and BBQ. Roaming beaches and forests. All of this with almost no money. Not an ERE thing just a hippie thing. I think it was in the 80s though.

It got me thinking quite a bit about how we end up in a trap living in cities. In a cycle of dependency. We go to a city for work. Or in my case I was there from the beginning so I just needed to work. The rental costs are high so we need a job. We have to live in a small confined space because of the price. We cant light a fire inside the apartments so we have to buy electricity. We have to be well presented for work each morning so we have to use showers. Then you have to spend money on sufficient clothing and drycleaning for work as well. Obtaining food grown by yourself or hunted by yourself is near impossible when you live in a city without such resources nearby and without sufficient time to cultivate them because you work all the time. So you buy food.

Its all such a viscious cycle. I have been gradually increasing my DIY aspects of living but it is difficult to get too far when you are in an expensive city. It does make me think of the significant potential for my living costs to disappear once I stop work. Its such an irony that working to make yourself wealthier keeps you trapped in having to keep working.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:27 am

We tend to think of cities as a place to go to find work. This is a post-industrial revolution view of the city. Traditionally, the city is a place to meet with other humans to engage in trade. Frequently they are located on rivers or relatively safe harbors. Sometimes they are located in a place convenient for military or government activity, or in an area where there is an important resource to be mined. Cities also offer the freedom of anonymity in the crowd that isn't available in village society. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

The Native American tribes that inhabited the land that is now the city where I reside, did not subsist as hunter/gatherers. Earliest original writings on their observed practices reveal that the men spent most of their time hunting and creating elaborate costumes for themselves while the women did all the work of subsistence agriculture, hauling of water, fishing, maintenance of living structures, child care, etc. IOW, the pure human-as-hunter/forager model is self-sterile because it only provides enough energy to support human males during their youthful dispersal phase (urge to widely out-breed.) That is also why it is an inherently sexy fantasy. Therefore, if you currently feel like you are trapped in a city, I would suggest that you would also feel absolutely smothered in a suburban environment. Much of rural America today is really an extension of the suburbs, completely dependent on fossil-fueled transportation, and suffers from poor location on distribution hub in a way that is clearly manifested in the relatively poor selection of foodstuffs available in rural-located grocery stores, and the "forest of corn" or "sea of soybeans" appearance of the landscape.

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Ego
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by Ego » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:53 am

All a matter of perspective.

There is a wide diversity of interesting people in cities. The further from a city the more monoculture the humans. Living in a confined space leaves room for necessities, nothing more, and encourages a social resourcefulness that is lacking in those who possess everything they need. And speaking of needs, they are diminished when responsibilities are pooled. I don't need a ladder if I don't own a wall that needs painting. The sixty odd people in my building have no use for a lawnmower, a shovel, a hose or a paintbrush. They can spend their time and money like you are right now on ideas that interest them rather than the insane cycle of cutting the grass again so that they house looks presentable for the neighbors. Growing your own food is hugely inefficient. Tomatoes ripen on the vine at the exact moment they are cheapest at the grocery store. You need an extra refrigerator for the game you shot.

Coal fired electricity is not ideal but anyone who has ever lived in a place where fire is the chief form of heat can tell you about how it is terrible from an ecological as well as a health perspective.

https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the ... e-delusion

Oh, also, get an iron and stop buying clotes that are dry-clean only. :D

IlliniDave
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:08 am

We all don't get trapped in cities. Most of us do tend to get involved in a web of communal interdependence that can begin to feel like a tether. Cities offer a lot of efficiencies, which I suppose is the bottom line, but of course there are trade offs.

Being a truly independent homesteader or hunter/gatherer is a lot of hard work. A lot. And the consequences can be pretty severe for failing. Communes don't tend to have much staying power. I definitely get the appeal of wallowing in nature and having the ability to put food on the table and handle other needs autonomously, but I'm also a realist about myself and understand its more of a fantasy. That's why I have sort of a half-arsed plan with the cabin in a fairly remote area. But with running/hot water, flush toilets, and a little town 18 miles back towards civilization.

It seems pretty common for people to feel trapped wherever they are. I know people in the area I've significantly rearranged my life to eventually live in who feel trapped in the place that to me signifies freedom. Rural kids dream of escaping to the big city while city folks dream of escaping to the country or wild places.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:19 am

Ego said: Growing your own food is hugely inefficient. Tomatoes ripen on the vine at the exact moment they are cheapest at the grocery store. You need an extra refrigerator for the game you shot.
So, it's more efficient to apply herbicide to the dandelion greens on your front lawn in Michigan, and then get in your car, drive to the store, go to the highly-engineered produce department, and purchase some Mesclun mix salad in plastic packaging that was grown in Mexico?

Also, maximizing efficiency always and everywhere tends towards reducing resilience and pleasure. For instance, I would wager that I am one of very few people who know where to find fresh water, not from tap or fridge, within walking distance of my current residence. If some virus lays blight to Thick-Skin-No-Flavor-EZ-Ship mono-crop variety of tomatoes my local grocery store was intending to stock, and my Cherokee Purple didn't yield well, and some woodchuck trampled my Mortage-Lifter right out of the ground, I still will have my Pink Elephants, warm from the sun to slice on some sourdough for my luncheon.

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C40
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by C40 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:40 am

Ego wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:53 am
... You need an extra refrigerator for the game you shot....
You need a freezer. But that's actually the cheaper part of hunting. If you pay someone else to process the meat, that gets expensive. And hunting gear can get as expensive as you want. But even with buying a rifle and freezer and it's electricity, if you process the meat yourself, it can be a VERY cheap source of some of the best meat you can find in the world (WAAAYYYY cheaper than buying meat of similar quality)
Last edited by C40 on Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:53 am

...or you could just keep it outside winter in Michigan, or you could preserve it with maple sugar, and/or apple cider vinegar, or you could grind it up and mix it with black currants and dry/smoke it into some really pungent jerky-sticks. Of course, I can't even bring myself to kill a meat rabbit yet, so not exactly walkin' the walk. I think killing a meat rabbit requires approximately the same level of "adult masculine" energy as the ability to evict tenant from rental housing, which I also do not think I possess. Some members of my social circle have volunteered to do my evictions for me if necessary, but nobody has volunteered to kill the meat rabbits.

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C40
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by C40 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:22 am

If I ever make it to your area, I call dibs on killing and processing the rabbits for you. That's something I want to learn.

George the original one
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by George the original one » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:25 pm

Ego wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:53 am
Growing your own food is hugely inefficient. Tomatoes ripen on the vine at the exact moment they are cheapest at the grocery store.
No longer true in the USA. The price of tomatoes in the store barely fluctuates because they are picked green, stored until nearly ripe, and come year-round from Florida, California, or Mexico at roughly $1.50-$2 per pound for the cheapest romas. The vine-ripe tomatoes are shipped straight to the cannery for processing instead of coming to your grocery store. A single expensive tomato plant raised in a nursery before you buy it is the same price as 2-3 lbs of romas and it will easily generate 10x that amount in tomatoes for the mere act of providing it water and a little calcium when you plant it in the ground.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:28 pm

@C40: Thanks for the offer, but it's kind of Catch-22 since I will not acquire any rabbits until/unless I have acquired a rabbit killer (internal or external.) I keep telling myself that if Barbara Kingsolver can kill a turkey, then I can kill a rabbit. I think part of my hesitation may be due to the fear that once I embark on a career of rabbit killing, my entire set of mannerisms and daily wardrobe will evolve into something like unto those exhibited by Elle KIng in her video "Good to be a man these days." and/or a childhood neighbor my mother disdained due to her habit of yelling at her dogs from the porch. So, I confine myself to occupations more dainty and/or citified. Perhaps, if I first embroider the edge of a handkerchief with garland of bloody bunnies, the nerve will come to me.

George the original one
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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by George the original one » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:38 pm

Ego wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:53 am
Coal fired electricity is not ideal but anyone who has ever lived in a place where fire is the chief form of heat can tell you about how it is terrible from an ecological as well as a health perspective.
Pretty much agree even though I burn wood in a woodstove. A modern woodstove, burning hot, with a tall chimney is the cleanest way, but it is still a significant pollutant. From my Oregon perspective, electricity from coal is worse than woodstoves since it pollutes water with mercury, but our local airsheds suffer more from woodstove smoke than the smoke from the lone, soon-to-be-retired, Oregon coal-fired plant.

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Re: Trapped in cities

Post by George the original one » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:41 pm

thrifty++ wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:04 am
Its such an irony that working to make yourself wealthier keeps you trapped in having to keep working.
And yet most people are on the hamster wheel of working without even trying to become wealthier so they don't have to be stuck in the trap.

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