When I talk about exploring options for “opting out” of colonial consumer based capitalism, by no means am I prescribing a set of actions or steps that one should take in their own lives. The thoughts and feelings and strategies that I write about are personal to me and my own journey and are unlikely to be replicable if someone is in a different position in life.
What’s more, I’m not even sure if the approaches that I am taking are effective steps to move away from capitalism so much as they are steps that help me live more peacefully with myself inside a capitalist society. Like many, I struggle mentally existing within a system that causing so much damage. The individual actions that I take aren’t meant to repair or alleviate the damage done to the world; they’re meant to make life more bearable for me knowing that I’m part of the humanity that oppresses others, that is destroying the planet.
Last night I watched END CIV, a documentary focused on the works of Derrick Jensen, the author of Endgame (among many other books). It’s a hard watch, but there wasn’t content or ideas presented in the film that I wasn’t already aware of. All the same, it was hard to get out of bed this morning. These days are hard to get through, but the moments of joy that I do have are knowing that I am working every day to opt out of capitalist culture. Growing food, unschooling my kids, working for myself, living minimally and slowly – these are all steps that help me and my family. But they won’t save the world. To be honest, I don’t think there is a way that we can save the world.
That might be a hard pill to swallow but I think it’s true, and I’m learning these days that I’m not alone in that belief. In the meantime though, there are small steps that we can take to live more peacefully with each other and more integrated with the planet and non-human people we share this planet with. And those small steps (whatever they might be for you) will likely help you in your lives. And maybe if we all just took a few more steps, we could live a bit better during the challenges that we are sure to face in the next century.