Self-sufficiency: The ability to be able to provide for yourself as thoroughly as possible without reliance on others and/or society. Besides being one of the 10 Principles of Burning Man, named Radical Self Reliance there, what is self-sufficiency and what is the importance behind it as we continue to grow and evolve as a species? Here I want to talk about how being self-reliant can give you an incredible amount of freedom while also bettering the world greatly.
We are the universe experiencing itself. As much as the stars and the sky are part of the universe we are as well. Consciousness rose out of this physical universe to create something entirely different: the ability to perceive things. The ability for the universe, in the form of consciousness, to witness and experience itself in its myriad different forms. We can see throughout human history one of the things we are most drawn to is adventure and exploration of the unknown. Not only is this something we are driven towards but exploring the natural world is something that has been shown to be extremely healthy for our minds, resetting our cognitive abilities such as memory and attention (Ohly, 2016). Could it be true that consciousness is most in place when exploring and adventuring through the world and the universe at large? Either way, it makes us happy and increases the functioning of our brains so it seems like a pretty good bet on how to spend our time. So what does this have to do with self-reliance?
Self-reliance is the tool we can use to be able to increase our freedom a large degree and thus freeing us up to fulfill the best life we could live as conscious beings. The idea of self-reliance, and why it is such a radical idea in today’s world, is to be able to produce your own food, products, and obtain your necessities like water, shelter, and energy without any reliance on things like grocery stores, water lines, or electrical infrastructure. By doing this you cut your reliance on society and even money at large to survive and start to depend on yourself. You now are spending your time growing your own food and creating your own infrastructure through solar panels and rainwater collection than working away at a job 40 hours a week just so you can buy these things from someone else.
There’s no denying that this is hard work but let’s look at the various benefits this provides to not only your own life but the state of the world at large.
- Less Waste Produced
Producing less waste is a huge benefit of being self-reliant. By creating your own products, growing your own food, and being able to have more time so you don’t buy things like processed foods and fast food all contribute to producing less waste which is great for the world and also your conscience. Whether you are being self-reliant on the road or in a home you are more likely to produce less waste than someone still relying on the system.
2. A Feeling of Independence
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of being self reliant is having a feeling that you can completely take care of yourself. This can be extremely liberating and a big confidence booster as you are now a vehicle in the world that is completely providing for itself and now is more likely to be able to help others as well since you have now covered yourself in a way you know you will always be okay through.
3. Less Pollution
Because you are using less waste and generating less electricity from the grid you are greatly reducing your carbon emissions. In addition, by growing your own food and making your own products you are reducing the distance food has to travel to get to you which also contributes to pollution. Additionally, if you choose to live this lifestyle while traveling you are also reducing the demand on the grid for anything else you may need because you have made your life and needs portable. By doing this and generating your own power you greatly reduce emissions from gas and electricity that you would use in a normal house or apartment.
4. Better Quality, Simpler, and Cleaner Products and Food
By growing your own food and making your own products you are guaranteeing that you are getting fresh, simple, and clean products. You are able to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing the exact process that everything you are using went through before you are using it. It also happens that by consuming food you have grown you are consuming healthier foods because it has not been processed and is fresh out of the ground.
5. Higher freedom of action
Similar to the feeling of independence is the reality of having more freedom of action. I define freedom of action as having as little time-based obligations as possible. In other words, being able to choose how you spend your time all of the time. By being self-sufficient you no longer have to rely as much on working a job in the system to get money so you can buy your necessities. Instead, you are providing most, if not all, of your necessities for yourself already and the rest of your time is yours to spend as you please.
6. An amazing community
Due to the nature of living this lifestyle, you will start to meet others who live it as well. These are people that naturally share the same values as you if you are choosing to live this lifestyle and you are likely to find great ideas all over the place to do it better. Not only that but you are becoming involved and a part of a community that cares greatly about the state of the world and living freely which is a wonderful, loving community.
Being self-reliant doesn’t only mean taking care of yourself but helping the world become a better place as well as joining a larger community and giving yourself a freer life comes along with it. If you’re looking for a great first step in improving your life and the world at large try becoming as self-reliant as possible!