In May of last year I began researching a book about the philosophy of civilization. I’m almost done; but I’m asking for your help.
I would like to hear from people who, one way or another, have moved “out” of civilization— or who wish they could. For example, I’d like to hear from ex-urbanites; off-the-grid homesteaders; residents of experimental or intentional communities; urban primitives; residents of small towns or islands, far from major cities; or anyone who thinks there’s something not-quite-right about civilization, whatever that may mean to you, and who has changed their lives accordingly. I’m curious to hear from people whose jobs or livelihoods regularly brings them to the margins or the edges of civilization— whatever you regard those edges to be. I’ve got some questions for you.
1. What does the word ‘civilization’ mean to you? Or, what is its centre?
2. What is civilization’s biggest problem? Or, are there many problems, and what are they?
3. In your life, or in the lives of others close to you, what have you done about that problem?
4. Why live off-the-grid? Or, why do you live in some way at a distance from the centre of civilization? Or, if you don’t presently live that way, do you wish you could? Why?
5. Has moving to an off-grid way of life (or planning or wishing to live that way) changed the way you think about things?
6. What kind of future do you foresee for yourself and that away-from-the-centre way of life?
7. If you had a chance to go back to the city, would you take it?
Actually I’d like to hear from anyone at all who might be interested in these questions.
Please answer as many or as few of these questions as you like. Take as much or as little time as you like. Post your thoughts to the comments space below, or email me: bmyers (at) live (dot) ca.
Yes, I know some of key words in these questions are not clearly defined. To others whom I’ve already posed these questions, one common automatic answer was “That depends on what you mean by civilization”. I’ve left these key words mostly undefined because, while I’m interested in people’s answers, I’m also interested in how people interpret the questions.
Finally, please share this mini-questionnaire as widely as you can.