Keith Farnish is a writer, volunteer and activist who, in a former life, was economically viable. The author of several books, including Time's Up and Undermining, he lives in Southern Scotland with his wife and two children, making, growing, organising, listening, talking and being.
He has been involved in environmental issues for many years, initially specialising in energy supply, transport and climate change, and now as a campaigner against the system we call Industrial Civilization. He is continually striving to minimise his impact on the natural world but, more importantly, accepts that what we now take for granted will no longer be around soon -- we have to take back control of our lives and our communities, and bring down the system that is killing the natural world.
free copies of the books to download:
timesup.com underminers.org network.underminers.org
Below you will find ROUGH NOTES of the interview, mostly my questions.
Let's start by talking about your book, TIMES UP.
what do you mean by disconnection and what do you mean by re-connecting?
"The day we lost connection to the rest of the natural world is the day we started killing our life support system."
"In the civilized world we are living a way of life that needs to end-- industrial civilization-- a way of life that is the most destructive that humans have ever lived."
Let's talk about the tools of disconnection.
advertising, authority, hierarchy, direct threat, violence (in the name o f law and order, of trade, of one country having power over another) hope.
Hope as an alternative to getting stuff done-- Hope can be very, very damaging. If you want achieve anything significant, hope is not going to get you there. Actually DOING is.
What do disconnectors disconnect us from?
Dave Pollard from British Columbia
Tools of disconnection
connection and social networks-- scared of social networks
The veil of ignorance.
a lot of effort of civilization is to keep people ignorant of the ways they're being disconnected.
Rob: What is it that the tools of disconnection keep us disconnected from.
Keith- I'm not saying to go back--
Industrial Civilization and Daniel Quinn
Rob: What's the difference between Civilization and Industrial Civilization. You've mentioned that Daniel Quinn came up with an important idea?
While civilization has existed for some for 10,000 years, even 500 years ago, three quarters of the humans on the planet were not civilized.
Keith Farnish: Industrial civilization-- about 200 years
Rob Kall: It might tie into corporate civilization.
Rob: What is it that you want to fight back against?
Keith: the total domination by industrial civilization
Rob: and that brings us to undermining.
There's a difference between having a job and doing useful work.
Community work is a form of undermining-- allows p eople to create bonds with each other.
Rob: Do you think it is necessary to shut down things like the internet-- manifestations of Industrial, corporate civilization for us to move forward?
Rob: But it's very likely that if civilization collapses with the help of underminers, some disasters are likely to happen.
I've recently read EF Schumacher's book, Small Is Beautiful. And there are some people talking about how to do things in small ways. Can you envision a small, connected way that we could have a future that retains our technology?
I loved your article on the Complexity Myth
I've spoken about how dinosaurs were not defeated by mammals and birds. They died out and the others survived.
And, using another metaphor, there are insects that put their eggs in other animals or insects. When the eggs hatch, they consume the bigger creature.
Where does survivalism fit into your vision of things?
Rob: Do you live in a community now?
Rob: your book offers a lot of ways to undermine, like using a magic marker to change posters, blocking entrances to malls-- a lot of them involve breaking laws.
I've interviewed Daniel Ellsberg and others who have engaged in civil disobedience and they've described the feeling of joy they've experienced while they've engaged in it.
Keith: We have to get away this idea of symbolic action.
Rob: If undermining works, what would the world, what would humanity look like?
Rob: Do you feel that the future will include some kind of civilization?
Rob: Daniel Quinn speculated that one key aspect of civilization was having a surplus and police to protect it.
Rob: Concepts from your book please discuss:
Rob: what's an example?
Barter, capitalism, consumer goods, profit
-- we don't have to pay for everything. We don't need to use money--
Rob: so, in your future vision, there is no money, no capitalism
Rob: you encourage local stores to accept and publicize non-capitalist ways
Rob: Jared Diamond-- talks about tribes trading
Rob: Thoughts on: Purpose of fashion-- fashion beyond clothing nature and fashion
Keith: It's a disease, the idea that things become obsolete...
What are some of the Most important beliefs to undermine--
idea that we have to keep progressing, idea that economic growth is a good thing.
You mention callousness. It's coming up more and more in the research on sociopaths.
rob; brutish savages, civilized brutes.
undermining on-line. what are some ideas on how people can undermine on line?
Rob: story of a guy in Spain who borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars and gave them to activist groups, then announced that he did it.
Rob: why should people spend money on your books rather than going to your websites and downloading them.
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