Can we run away from society? Or do we bring it with us?

Do you sometimes wish you lived in a simpler time? Do you want to get out of the rat race and live as our ancestors did, gathering, growing, and hunting your own food? Do and your family want to live  lives free from the distractions of today’s trials and tribulations, away from pollution and political strife, away from murder, terrorism, and mayhem.

I think there is a time when this thought crosses everyone’s mind. And it always has been so. There have always been hermits, vagabonds, monasteries, and those living off the grid as far from society as possible. Does this work?  M. Night Shyamalan explored this topic in his movie The Village.

It’s easy to romanticize about another life, another time, another job, another family, another city, state, or country—but is escape the answer or do we humans bring our own set of issues wherever we go? Simpler does not necessarily mean better. How much time, danger, effort, and vigilance are required to live the simple life of a hunter gatherer? Or form a better society within the small group you have escaped with. Have you read Lord of the Rings or watched Gilligan’s Island, Lost in SpaceLost or The Glass Castle?

You may experience togetherness doing the work a wilderness lifestyle brings—a plus—but is there a way to achieve this living in today’s world?

Perhaps the answer isn’t to run away from progress—which include global declines in child mortality, hunger, violence, and poverty, and increases in life expectancy—but to identify our own moral compasses in today’s world. Wherever we go, we bring our humanity with us. And despite the Star Trek beliefs in human goodness at our core, the reality of humans imperfect has been demonstrated throughout history. We cannot save ourselves.

Don’t run away. Instill a moral compass. Let your light shine.

  • Know what makes you “tick.” Give yourself the margins necessary for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
  • Broaden those margins for your family as well—establish priorities that benefit the family as a whole. Practice agape love.
  • Say “no” to the lures that eat into your priorities.
  • Respect each other in thoughts, words, and actions.
  • Recognize the stage of life you are in and adapt to it.
  • Is your calendar too full to allow any spontaneity? What can you drop?
  • Make sure your priorities for yourself and your family include God, the most important relationship.

Thanks to William Buckner for his article: Romanticizing the Hunger-Gatherer. His article brought me back to reality: my life is now, not then. My priorities should be evident by my life’s calendar.


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