NOTE: This essay was the inspiration for the book Underminers.
It takes guts to do something that could change things forever. I'm not the obvious candidate to be a hero, that's a fact; I have children and a wife, and an extended family that mean the world to me. Heroes, for the most part, are seen as those people who, at great risk to themselves, carry out noteworthy acts -- but why does heroism have to go hand-in-hand with great risk?
There is no greater thing that can be done than securing the future of humanity, and in this truly momentous task I believe that everyone has the potential to be a hero. There are many actions available to people of all different abilities, social positions, locations and ages that, together can help free humanity from the terrible yoke of hierarchical, industrial, consumerist living; many actions that entail a wide range of risk and effectiveness, but all of which are important.
At this point it's necessary for me to lose the majority of my readers, for the things I am about to share with you are likely to contribute to the downfall of Industrial Civilization -- the "machine" of the title. If this idea scares you then you will not be alone, for the thought of losing something you feel is integral to what you are (in effect, being a citizen) is not something that most of us have ever seriously considered. But lose it we must: read this article to find out why.
To get the full picture you'll really need to go to my book, "A Matter of Scale" (also published as "Time's Up! An Uncivilized Solution To A Global Crisis"), and read Chapter 13. If you need further convincing, have a look at Derrick Jensen's "Endgame" books or, for a more concise read, try "A Short History of Progress" by Ronald Wright. Come back when you are happy to help with the removal of the Machine. For those who are still reading: welcome, let's do some Undermining.
What Is Undermining?
Undermining is the term for any form of Sabotage that damages the foundations of a system, structure or process. The target, as we know, is Industrial Civilization -- the most destructive human system ever created.
Specifically, the act of Undermining Industrial Civilization seeks to provide ordinary people with the ability to think and act in an unconstrained environment, free of the Tools of Disconnection that civilization has put in place to keep us physically and psychologically dependent upon it. By Undermining Industrial Civilization, you are not aiming to directly damage its physical structure -- although that may be a side-effect -- instead you are impairing its ability to control people. People who are no longer controlled can decide for themselves how they want to live.
The aim is not so much destroying as dismantling the Machine, starving it of energy and making it unable to keep us living the destructive way of life we have come to think is the only way to live.
Undermining has rules attached to it; rules that help ensure that the perpetrator is kept relatively safe, and their (your) actions are as effective as possible. It is vital that you follow these rules for your safety, and that of other people:
1. Make the Tools of Disconnection (see Chapter 13, as above) your priority; anything else is a waste of time and effort.
2. Carefully weigh up all the pros and cons, and then ask yourself, "Do the benefits far outweigh the costs?" Only act if the answer is "Yes".
3. Plan ahead, and plan well, accounting for every possible eventuality.
4. Even if you value the worth of your actions, don't get caught.