Walking the middle road

Middle way between two extremes is best.

A carrier pigeon can be faster than broadband connection to getting information from point A to B.

A carrier pigeon has been faster than broadband connection in getting information from point A to B.

Every outlook in life has its extremes.  Aristotle observed that we live in a world of two extreme opposites, that the best way travelled is the middle between these extremes. the golden mean.  The sustainability movement has two extremes, those that wish us to abandon civilisation, others who wish to embrace utopian advanced technology-driven cities such as the Venus Project.

Yesterday, I read the blog of an extremist in support of no-civilisation, who attacked those of us involved in sustainability as supporting the system he hated.  This extremist would have us live in caves with no electricity for four hundred years.  I opt for the middle way of embracing the benefits of civilisation like electricity and the internet, but in a sustainable way, each individual generating their own food and electricity, living in harmony with nature, on the community level.  Most people act out of self-interest, so if sustainable living saves them money, gives them a degree of personal liberty, then it is a win-win for them and nature.

The Venus Project is an extreme that campaigns for technology-driven cities, which whilst efficient and sustainable are soul-destroying places that cut humanity off from nature and self.  The Venus cities are like the wind turbines I see at St Osyth near Colchester which are energy-efficient ugly, soul-destroying monsters on the landscape, most people hate, out of harmony with their environment, bird-killing machines.

I embrace the middle way of combining the past with the future.  A community can live with hobbit style buildings but have electricity and internet incorporated. There is a sweet irony that a steam train is faster and more reliable compared to a modern locomotive in the UK; there is a reason a steam train catches a child’s imagination of becoming an engine driver, because they are living visually interesting machines compared to ugly modern locomotives.  The UK can reactivate the canals to move freight around by water. The sailing ships are faster now than the modern cargo ships that travel at a crawl to save fuel costs.  In Feering near Colchester at least one family has abandoned their car for horse-and-cart, which saved them money.  Carrier pigeon has beaten a rural broadband connection to get information from point A to B the fastest.

8 responses to “Walking the middle road

  1. don’t give up medicine — or pubs :)

  2. While I love the idea you offer, I’m also conscious that it is the romantic side of me that does so. I have this terrible fear that the practicalities of ‘turning the clock back’ in this partial way would raise as many new problems as the ones it was trying to resolve.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the present way of living in our ‘modern’ world is doomed if nothing changes in the next 20 to 50 years. However, I suspect that the world that does emerge in, say, 50 years, would be unrecognisable to present inhabitants.

    • It will be an interesting future. I suspect that the roller coaster will end in a train crash for many nation States which is when the paradigm shifts will happen, hopefully in a positive direction.

  3. Exactly as I have said, what they call progress… isn’t.


  4. Middle works fine for me. I enjoy my internet and heat at the touch of a dial in the winter, although I would like to be able to produce my own energy, Yes, I want to continue to grow more of my own food, but I am happy to share my bounty and receive what I have not grown myself in return. I don’t think we can turn the clock back, but we can choose what we need, for instance I don’t need, or want, a microwave. As for the futuristic cities, I don’t want to see that come to pass, it’s not for me.

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