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Re-Empowering Localities

By       Message Burl Hall     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H4 6/21/12

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(Don't go loco, buy local)

Small jurisdictions in Maine continue to proclaim food sovereignty.   It appears that every couple of months, a new locality declares their right to grow their own food while supporting local farmers, artisans, makers of clothes and fishermen.   Many of these locavores argue that it is only via food sovereignty and local rule that we can be truly free of corporate and government rule.

As if to predict this healing trend in Maine, psychiatrist Eric Fromm wrote a classic in the middle part of the last century called Escape From Freedom. Could local rule be a return to freedom?   Forced to flee from Nazi Germany in 1933, Fromm settled in the United States and lectured at the New School of Social Research, Columbia, Yale, and Bennington. In the late 1930s, Fromm broke with the Institute of Social Research and with Escape from Freedom began publishing a series of books which would win him a large audience. Escape From Freedom argued that alienation from soil and community in the transition from feudalism to capitalism increased insecurity and fear. Documenting some of the strains and crises of individualism, Fromm attempted to explain how alienated individuals would seek gratification and security from social orders such as fascism.   (See end of article to read more on Fromm).

To fascism, I would add the consumerism hiding underneath the shirt tales of corporatism, which is nothing less than the old feudal class system re-dressed under a different name.   Indeed, I would add all "isms" to corporatism for "isms" are nothing more than ideologies. It appears that people are willing to give up freedom for a false sense of belonging to various fringe groups filled with their respective idealisms such as extreme conservatism, liberalism, scientific and philosophical theoretical positions as well as religious dogmatisms.   For example, in the field of counseling, it is often asked, "what theoretical position are you?"   This is answered by many a job interviewee with a sense of defensiveness and prideful arrogance regarding being a behaviorist, cognitive psychologist, or humanist.   It's as if there is a requirement to fit into some theoretical box. Similarly, in religion we have to be Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or Pagan.   And some of these argue their self-righteousness in the face of a mysterious universe that ultimately doesn't care what philosophical bend you are.   The universe really doesn't give a hoot or a damn what you believe for the Absolute Truth is beyond theisms.   The Sun shines on your face and the stars sparkle at nights regardless if you are Christian, Jew or Atheist.   Even the term a-theist has been manipulated into a belief system held by many whose mindsets are saturated with self-righteous arrogance.

Yet, a-theistic literally means non-theistic.   It is to be transcendent of theory AND theism.   As the play write Goethe said, "Give them the stone of Sophia (Wisdom) and you'll find philosophy gone and, what's left?   The Stone!"  

The universe has worked well for several billions of years and has done so without having to believe in any dogmatic "ism".   Furthermore, since the Intelligence of this universe is infinite, it really has nothing to be jealous of so it doesn't need for you to drop your illusionary money into a gold collection plate.

Does any of this help you with feeling alienated in our age of computers, televisions, and other mind-numbing contraptions to keep you entertained and mesmerized?

According to psychologists like Abraham Maslow, it appears that human beings want to experience a sense of belonging as their foundations.   But are they going to find that sense in a world of theology, philosophy, scientific theory, or political stance?   Or are these points of view acting more like mothers and fathers to alienation by dividing this group against that group?

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Where do we get our sense of belonging?

There is probably nothing existing that would have brought a prouder smile to Fromm's and Maslow's faces than a meeting on 6/18/12 at the Town Hall of Blue Hill Maine.   This meeting may be the beginning for the development of a sense of belonging so desperately needed in this day and age in Blue Hill, the State of Maine and, indeed, all of the world's people.   This meeting discussed local food ordinances.   How much more basic of a social venue empowering individuals can one get than a determination of food choices?

How will the economy look if more local food ordinances happened throughout the nations?   There are several possibilities including:

1.          It will encourage people to get all their needs met locally.   Perhaps a person who loves to build can thrive in building compost toilets or perhaps someone who loves to knit can create clothes for others while using local materials (e.g., wool from sheep);

2.        The goods will be of higher quality.   If you loved to knit, how would you feel if the sweater you designed and made fell apart on your neighbor's shoulder the first day she wore it?   Furthermore, how would that affect your business and even your friendships?  

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3.        A person's craftsmanship will be advertisement enough, thus your intelligence won't be insulted with blonde, anorexic women and abnormally muscular men trying to entice you into buying beer while engaging you into shop-till-you-drop escapades.

4.        There would be full employment with people supporting the community in line with their talents, passions and training.

5.        Communities and individuals would be independent in creating their lives in relation to how they saw fit instead of trying to be pigeon holed into a category of work or philosophical/spiritual/theoretical/political philosophy.

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Burl is an avid writer and publishes to OpEd News. He is author of "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature." As of this writing, Burl is planning to self-publish the book. Alongside his wife, Burl co-hosts an on line radio (more...)
 

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