barn-hens

… or how we need to start developing a real sense of perspective, or perish.

What got me started on this one will probably seem rather silly, but it made me laugh and I think makes a valid point.  It’s about a friend of a friend here, english though has lived in Spain for many years, and recently moved to Nerja, which is a popular spot for expats near Malaga.  He is your typical brit flat-earther type, refuses to believe there is any other culture.  On this occasion he was trying to order a take-out from a local eatery, and in order to facilitate this he used the usual form of communication when dealing with foreigners, enunciate each word slowly, at considerable volume, while reinforcing by gesticulation of the fingers.  Hence the title, F-O-U-R   R-O-A-S-T  C-H-I-C-K-E-N-S.  Oh yes, there really are (very many) people who actually believe english is an international language.  What made this even funnier (for me) was the person it was addressed to turned out to be english.  This may be Spain but in Malaga it is as rare as hens teeth to find a native living/ working there.

Perhaps you had to know him to get it.  Nonetheless what he typifies is a very real issue.  That no matter how many experiences we have, or the passage of time, we don’t change how we see the world.  Two people can even witness exactly the same event and yet still see it in different ways.  This is a big problem, especially in the wealthier parts of the world.  With such a distorted perception, combined with an extremely inflated sense of self-worth (as a species), we are actually fooling ourselves that we are good for the planet, even when the plain facts say we are the most destructive force ever.

It hasn’t always been like this.  If it were possible to turn the clock back just 10,000 years and look at a satellite photo of the world as it was then, the most striking difference would be the complete absence of any evidence of our existence.  Yet we had been around by then for three million years.  okay there were only about 5 million of us, but surely there would be something to see?  Apparently not, because throughout that time we existed in totally harmony with all other forms of life.

Of course after that things started to change.  Instead of being nomadic/ aboriginal we started to settle, permanently, and the effect of this was that forests, which had until then covered most of the surface of the planet, were clear-felled to provide the materials for this new form of culture.  And by the time the Industrial Revolution came along, our numbers had increased dramatically, to 795 million.  A mere two hundred and fifty years later (now), to 7.4 billion.

Looking at satellite photos now, all that diverse lushness has disappeared, replaced instead by millions of tiny brick and concrete cages, where we now live out our short impoverished lives, imprisoned by debt to provide golden eggs for our masters.  Surrounded by a patchwork of non-organic fields growing our feed.  There is no longer a single example of that primeval forest left (which incidentally was there to give this planet life).  We have made 99% of all other species extinct.  We have contaminated everything (soil/ air/ water) with chemicals and radiation (from nuclear testing/ nuclear power station emissions/ and nuclear accidents), which will remain deadly for at least 2000 years.  And now the oceans are dying too.

The rate at which all this is happening (consuming/ reproducing/ destroying/ spending) is increasing by the second.  Exponentially.  This means it is so fast it is impossible to calculate when the remaining resources (those that provide us with life) will be used up, but given that this has all happened in less than 0.3% of our total time on the planet it can surely only be a matter of a few years.

Why can’t we see this?  Why hasn’t our natural instinct for self-preservation kicked in?  Why?  Because we are no longer able to think for ourselves, trust our own innate senses.  In fact none of what we know, believe in (our views/ values/ attitudes) is actually true.  It has all been drilled into us by the state/ royalty/ big business, to suit their needs/ motives.  The only way we can escape that conditioning is to disconnect from their channels of persuasion: internet/ tv/radio/ newspapers, believe nothing you are told and only half of what you see for yourself, and flee the social pressures from living among the un-dead.

Which is what we did.  Found a place as free as possible from any kind of human pollution, tune out and reconnect with nature and our natural selves again.  Which hasn’t been easy, it is not that simple to just cut off completely and rediscover senses that were cauterised at birth.  But this week I had an incredible breakthrough.  Eight years ago (to the day almost), when we first came to see El Pocito, I thought Maureen was mad to think this was the place for us.  How?  The entire six acres was totally devoid of vegetation, nothing whatsoever was growing, it was a desert.  But she was adamant, so we set about doing what we could to improve it.  All that land, and on a steep hillside, is a very big area (25,000m2) to do anything with, so to focus our limited resources we started with just one acre, and forgot about the rest.  This bit got all our experience, of all the previous gardens and isms that had come and gone over the previous 25 years, plus lots of love.  And gradually it has responded.  Still a way to go, but it is noticeably greener now and trees when they are grown from seed then planted out don’t die so much anymore.  Meanwhile in the other five acres, a miracle has been going on without us knowing.  Left totally alone (including no annual brush-cutting, or “cleaning” as they like to call it here) a total regeneration has taken place.  What was once like a desert is now lush and full of diversity.  Seeds which had lain dormant for decades have now decided it is time to germinate and despite the predators have grown.  There are even trees as high as 5m.  It is like a miniature Eden.  I, without any effort or money, have discovered what Science and Progress miss consistently, Nature knows best.

We are not custodians of this planet.  We are not intelligent.  What we are (have become) is no more than battery chickens.  Pecking at each other on Facebook, developing unsocial behaviour with armaments, living in a totally unnatural environment, fed on the cheapest crap, to die pointlessly and early, just to provide an income for someone else.

250 years we’ve been caged like this.  Duped into believing Science/ Progress know best.  60 years of the organic movement/ industry doing likewise.  When in reality nothing has been done to improve our damage to the precious ecology, or replace the trillions of other species we have killed for no good reason.  Unless we wake up soon and realise this, we will all be roast chickens.

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In town there is a shop which sells virtually everything, including tickets for the state lottery.  I’ve never bought one of these, but watching those who do has become a fascinating insight into the current psyche of the populous today.

It seems to have gripped everyone, including the long-term unemployed (who here don’t have the benefit of a welfare state) and the super rich (of which Almonaster numbers more than average).  Which on one hand is crazy, because statistically we all know no-one actually wins (at least more than they spend), but it is also easy to see why.  Ask anyone, they will say without hesitation, it is because they feel they neither have sufficient money or happiness.

They are also obsessed about illness.  The local surgery here even beats the bar as the place to hang out, so much so the council has had to install free wi-fi.

This however is not a city/ suburb/ or a blighted area.  We live among 182,000 hectares of incredibly unspoilt countryside, where the pigs outnumber people.  Almonaster is the friendliest town I’ve ever come across.  And where else is it possible to live well on virtually no income.  So what is creating all this discord?

As it happens I am reading an excellent book at the moment, A PLACE OF REFUGE – An experiment in communal living – the story of Windsor Hill Wood by Tobias Jones.  One of the answers he proposes is that we are currently in denial about our rural past, we don’t want to go back to what we consider were the bad old days, working with our hands and living off the land.  Here that is certainly the case, hand-in-hand with wanting to forget all about the Franco era, which only finished in 1975 and then took another 20 years for them to begin to catch up with the rest of Europe.  Behind it all I would claim social media and advertising as the major cause.  That holy triumvirate of royalty/ state/ & business, who are the real ones behind how we are allowed to live/ think/ and feel.  Not in a scary dictatorial way this time, but subtly/ unconsciously, by polarizing us into becoming ever more selfish and less communal/ less physically connected to nature/ and more focussed instead on their proscribed narrow and infinitely controllable virtual reality.  Which they use to induce I us fear/ anxiety/ and unrest, as a means of compliance, and then offer their products/ services to assuage it.  Hence the beauty of the lottery, which incidentally makes them an obscene amount of profit EACH and EVERY DAY, where for as little as a euro you can feel normal again for a few hours while deciding how to spend those winnings (even if 50% will be taken back in tax).

We are being controlled like lab rats.  The lottery is a scam.  As is the illness thing.  Or at least what they are selling us (the current trend is we are dying younger).  Products which calm and reassure, allow us to continue our toxic lifestyle unfettered, and of course live healthily and happily forever.  All total crap of course, but for most people now that’s all they have left to believe in, they no longer want to take back the responsibility for their own life.

These are the hard facts.  There is no diet which will counteract an unhealthy lifestyle.  Supplements have no benefits whatsoever (even if a quarter of the UK believes they do), possibly the opposite.  And most certain of all, organic now means nothing.

Because everything you buy is a con.  The only reason ANY product (or service) exists is because someone somewhere came up with an idea to make money.  Nothing else.  And to do this they will use the cheapest materials, cut corners, poison the planet, fatally harm those who produce and labour for them, and of course downright lie/ cheat wherever necessary.  Including labelling ingredients as organic when in virtually all cases they will have been grown/ sourced using conventional/ chemical/genetically modified/ non-organic methods.  Wake up.  This is the real world.  Just follow the path of anything if you don’t believe me and discover for yourself.

Nothing we buy or eat (even grown ourselves), or the way we live, is actually healthy or good for us, or any of the other species.  We simply wish it was.  We were never designed or evolved to be like this.  Ask your parents/ grandparents, read about what life was like just two hundred years ago.  We have to wake up and see what we are doing to ourselves and the planet.  Stop this crazy addiction now, before it is too late not just for us but the rest of the planet.

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Here’s another classic on the theme of living a more simple life.

Though the idea for this blog actually comes from something that happened yesterday, while getting on with the daily task of trying to market El Pocito to a suitable buyer.  Working my way through the infinite number of Facebook pages and groups, I came across yurts.  Not something I thought there would be much about, maybe a few makers, but turns out this is a whole new sub-culture which goes by the name of glamping (remember I don’t have access to the media).  Apparently Portugal and many parts of Spain are now covered in them.  Which in turn answered another perennial question, how do all these people who have suddenly emigrated from the wealthier parts of Europe, to Iberia (and cheaper), survive financially?  Money, pots of it.  They come, build an instant showcase organic smallholding, then as soon as possible run holidays and courses from them.  Which is fine, I have no objection to that.  But what gets me is they labelled this enterprise as organic/ ecological/ sustainable/ or some other green ism.  And that is not right.  In the same way claiming to be a vegetarian/ vegan/ frutarian (or whatever) doesn’t help save any animals or plants.

What am I talking about?  Sustainable/ self-sufficient/ being compassionate about other species, can only be achieved when you remove money and reproduction from the equation, anything else is simply a distraction.

The book charts the life of a family from the end of the Second World War until 1981.  Who by choice leave London to be closer to nature, and how that requires sacrifices.  For example nine years without running water, and forty years with only enough income to live a day at a time.  And which they revel in.  Such a refreshing read, especially today, when everyone is so fixated on what they haven’t got, it should be prescribed instead of antidepressants.  I found it a real tonic, especially with all the people contacting me about El Pocito, wanting to buy something ready-made, it is getting me down.  A life like this is an ongoing process, not an instant fix to sell off (at a massive profit) once the novelty wears off.  A place where you put down roots and there is no rush.

Two other things struck me recently also.

What happened to all the concern about mobile phone masts?  When they first appeared (1G?) there were public campaigns to remove them from schools and places where people would be subject to radiation for hours at a stretch.  Now we have wi-fi in our homes, 24 hours a day, and the intensity is up to 5G, probably several tens or hundreds of times more harmful.

And the other is, don’t wait until it is too late.  Many of those contacting me recently are 50+ and finally in a position where the mortgage is paid off.  They are desperate to escape the craziness of urban living, but now find they lack the courage to make a move.  Do not be afraid.  You are only middle-aged, plenty of time left to acclimatise and settle into a better way of life.  Go for it.

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What is worth knowing about self-sufficiency and sustainability has already been published, so why duplicate this precious legacy of wisdom, destroy even more of our precious ecology, lining the pockets of eco-parasites.  This book by William Cobbett, written in 1821, is as apt/ witty today as then.  Get yourself a (second hand) copy rather than inflate any more egos.

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In the North Sea a Cuvier Beaked Whale (total world population: 100,000) had to be put down because it was starving to death.  Afterwards it was found to have ingested at least 30 plastic bags, blocking its intestines.

71% of the surface of the planet is water, and much of it is so deep it has not been unexplored.  Yet despite that, in less than 100 years we as a species have managed to dump so much toxic waste into this precious and infinite resource (compared to the space we 7.4 billion occupy), that the life forms who dwell there are now facing extinction because they cannot avoid eating/ being contaminated by all our crap.

We meanwhile continue to believe life goes on as normal.

This week I have been reading the excellent (and recommended) BROTHER TO THE OX – The Autobiography of a Farmer’s Boy by Fred Kitchen.  In it he writes about his experience of agriculture in England at the beginning of the twentieth century.  His diet then, to keep him going for twelve hours (or more) a day, six days a week, being: breakfast – boiled bacon + milk, lunch – boiled beef + vegetables + yorkshire pud + ale, evening meal – boiled bacon + bread & butter + tea.  All of which was produced on the same farm (except the tea), grown without inputs/ chemicals, and compared to what we eat/ farm today the nearest thing to a sustainable way of life.  There was also zero waste/ pollution.

Whales still behave live like this, as do all other living things.  All except for us.

Also this week I finally made a visit to a newly opened supermarket in a nearby town, as it is a luxury when normally all we have in Almonaster la Real is the equivalent of the corner shop.  And inside it was indeed like an Aladdin’s Cave.  There were literally thousands of different “foods” to buy.  Yet instead of being a pleasant experience, my reaction was horror.  Because not one of these things was actually what could be considered as real food.  Let alone sustainable.  It was all tainted/ poisoned in some way.  Everything we buy is now.  Because that is how food (as a business) is produced now.  Even organic.  Even the wholesome food we grow ourselves.  Our planet is like the sea, polluted by our greed.

No-one wants to hear this, or about sea-life dying.  They want to continue buying this crap, be able to forget the consequence, and when they get ill rely on the Health Service to make them well again.  While the sea fills up with the packaging/ waste until there is nothing left alive there, and the landmass likewise.

High time to start doing something positive instead of believing others always know better.

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I unashamedly believe the system of compulsory (anything) education was flawed right from the beginning.  And it hasn’t improved any since (why else would Spain have the highest unemployment in Europe who are also graduates/ masters/ and postgraduates?).  So surely it is high time now to get rid of it completely?  I wish.  However this isn’t going to happen (who else is going to childmind them all?), so what about a compromise, for the sake of those who currently have to endure this pointless torture, in order that they at least stand some chance of surviving the impending holocaust Trump/ May/ Putin/ and Xi Jinping are hurtling us all towards.

I therefore propose getting rid of all PE/ sports in the curriculum, and replacing it instead with food production.  Pupils converting every spare inch outside their classrooms (including further afield in the community too) so they can learn everything about growing healthy nourishment, sustainably, along with the other skills necessary for when the current social infrastructure finally collapses.

The prison service implemented this a long time ago.  Projects working with people who have learning difficulties nearly 100 years ago.  It also retains all the elements of providing exercise that PE was created for, but more comprehensively and naturally.  As well as making perfect financial sense.  Not forgetting too, it adds yet another facet to local food security, an issue which could become key even sooner than we think.

Simple, neat, so why hasn’t it been implemented before?

(photo: Jerome Osentowski, author of THE FOREST GARDEN GREENHOUSE)

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