Mar 18, 2010

What's so Radical about Homemaking?

#2 in a series of responses to Globe&Mail comments
I'm not sure that reverting to traditional, out dated ways of life is necessarily radical.Its wonderful if you can do it but I don't know that I'd call it all that radical.
Now if you insisted on doing so entirely in a vinyl pink bodysuit that might be radical.
- "BC Philosopher's" comment on the Globe and Mail article

We're not doing anything new here. There's nothing radical about wanting to be connected to our food sources, live slower, spend out time engaged directly in activities that nurture our bodies and souls and communities. As another reader commented, "If that is radical, then so is watching television or wearing a sweater or getting a library card."

What's different from our grandparents' life is that we're coming back to it. Choosing to forgo the trappings of consumerism makes it much more Joyful than if we just couldn't afford them; much like deciding to go on a fast is nothing like not being able to get enough to eat. In this regard, "Teapots" was somewhat correct in her comment that this "reminds me of Tolstoy walking around his estate in sackcloth pretending he was a peasant."

I would argue that while our life is "traditional", it's not "outdated." While we wake up to the timeless crow of rooster, we also get to enjoy modern conveniences - we have not gone Amish and given up power tools, the station wagon and trailer, the smoothie blender, the high-thread-count bamboo bedsheets. The internet and easy transport options give us many more options for secondary income, and let us remain connected and involved in the wider world. There are homesteaders who choose to go into the woods with a few hand-tools and re-live Little House on the Prairie, but most of us pick and choose from the wide menu of tools and trends that support the path we've chosen.

The main thing that's new about our life is the intentionality, the statement that this is our contribution to environmentalism, social justice and community. Our grandparents took good care of the earth, produced and ate local food, helped their neighbours, etc etc just from a practical and instinctual knowing that it was the best way to live and pass along quality of life to future generations. We've grown up in an age that has lost that natural connection and innate knowledge, so we're having to push ourselves to reclaim and start living it anew.

The only thing radical about remoulding our lives to honour the environment, social justice, community and family is that so many people perceive it as radical.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Rick--you nailed it again--the only thing radical about it--is that so many people view it as such!
    I concur my friend!