Many hands, together

“It’s like before we all had washing machines, and we did ‘wash’ together. Things done together have a different energy and feel so much less overwhelming.” (From a conversation in the Unpacking Whiteness group facilitated by Desiree B Stephens on Mighty Networks.)

Yes! This is so true, about how tasks done together have a different energy and feel so much better. Rejuvenating, connecting, while getting work done.

Recently a friend and I watched a movie called “Hannah.” The two main characters were self-sufficient father & daughter living in a Northern forest. The father was training the daughter to be a hard-core fighter for some secret agency.

And it struck me that most of my fellow white people in the doomer prepper groups I hang out in would be admiring the northern forest duo and using them as the standard to aim for.

But the characters I loved and admired and wanted to hang out with, were the Berber tribeswomen we got a glimpse of in passing (the film plot involved an international chase) who were standing in & around the water at an oasis in Morocco, laughing and singing while doing laundry together. THAT was the world that drew me. Always has been.

Work in isolation is exhausting and divides us all. Capitalist culture!

Work in community is connection and learning together and singing and laughing, and then we don’t need to indulge in consumer goods or consumerist tourist “vacations” to “escape” from our lives.

Laundry in the capitalist world sucks. What a chore, fancy machinery notwithstanding. Same with other chores.

(And: Even being together in a laundromat is at least something.)

(And: Even being together in a laundromat is at least something. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my neighborhood has lost three laundromats in the 10 years I’ve lived here. Anything communal gets devalued and falls by the wayside because only people in the “lower economic classes” use those things anymore and no one cares when they break. The owners move on to a new “business venture,” and everyday people end up having to lug their laundry on the bus, taking extra time and money.)

In unrelated yet related news, three members of a Colorado family have died of starvation or exposure while trying to live “off the grid.” They were found in a tent at an altitude of over 9000 feet. Most of the examples of off grid madness that I see are less extreme than this, but as a rule our individualistic culture is killing us. This kind of thing is a trauma response unless someone is fleeing actual disaster in their faces.

My current nonfiction book read-in-progress in the Deep Adaptation/Degrowth genre is Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse, by Carolyn Baker. She remarks on how so many people try to form intentional communities without really doing the human connection part. Mainly just emphasizing material resources and hard skills. It doesn’t work.

A quote:

“Overwhelmingly, I have observed several groups of well-meaning individuals attempting to form communities or groups based entirely on reason and intellect. It is as if they assume that since they are all rational human beings with good intentions who operate on the same page in terms of a particular issue, if they just work together they will accomplish their goals. Sometimes the same individuals avoid books, workshops, articles, and other resources on emotional literacy and communication skills. Occasionally, I have been told by workshop participants that a process in which I’m leading the group is ‘so seventies,’ and I’ve also been told from time to time that my workshops are “too touchy-feely.” Really? Then why is it so painfully difficult for people raised in this culture to resolve conflicts and functionally communicate with one another? Some of the same individuals who tell me that my work is too touchy-feely contact me months or years later and report that their working group fell apart because of personal conflicts and they want help restarting or reconstructing the group.”