Poverty is finding families these days through unemployment, bankruptcy and home foreclosure, whether they like it or not. And mostly, they do not like it.
But in order to survive peak oil, I suggest that those who have not found poverty yet might want to seek it out for their own good.
Prepare your household for a future with fewer products and services from the marketplace once peak oil puts an end to your current age of abundance.
Knowing how to grow and preserve your own food is only the start, then your heat comes from a wood stove, and your job comes from refurbishing salvage.
True household self-sufficiency is more like monasticism, the lifestyle of a Zen monk who has taken a vow of poverty and committed himself to simple living for a higher cause.
I like the idea of transitioning out of the money economy for philosophical reasons. I like the idea to free the mind from money, status-seeking and corporate brainwashing.
But to get to a life beyond money and to do it with joy rather than resentment will take a huge mind-shift.
What might not be comfortable about living in poverty is the loss of status. You may claim that ‘I do not care what other people think about me,’ but it is clear from the way most you act that you care very much about your status, reflected in conspicuous consumption from Versace to Nike to Apple.
Big brands are not just on your body – they are inside your head, defining the good life. Would you die for them. I do not think many of us are quite ready yet to leave behind all the ideas of the good life we have known since childhood and embrace what society would define as personal failure.
The idea of voluntary poverty is to deliberately embrace being poor, in every material sense, in order to avoid the common fate of being possessed by your possessions.
Most of the luxuries, and many of the so called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple life than the poor.
The ancient philosophers, Chinese, Hindoo, Persian, and Greek, were a class than which none has been poorer in outward riches, none so rich in inward …
The same is true of the more modern reformers and benefactors of their race. None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we shall call voluntary poverty – Erik Curren