Escaping state dependency through labour
Really enjoying your thoughts on these topics, Ben, as you contemplate what the whole counsel of God says to these matters
Good piece Ben.
"Can you smell it? We’re closing in on paradise."
Yes, I smell it all over, I tell my son that it smells like skunk so that he will not follow the wafts of that foul fragrance into the bog.
“A man, remember, whether rich or poor, should do something in this world. No one can find happiness without work.” – The Fairy (The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi).
I would comment that, at times, the development of "comfort" producing innovations is not a bad thing. That is because they need not be used as a means to abandon productive efforts, but can enable us to endeavour further fruitful works. Time is not synonymous with comfort and idle abandon unless we surrender it to this.
When I heated my house by wood stove for a month (a cold January) there was an element of virtue to the effort. However, I'm glad that my natural gas furnace now does the job for me passively. That frees up time that can be spent doing things that are less mindless and that can be even more productive. If we had not developed "comfort" producing innovations most of us would be illiterate and never have read a word of scripture. That was exactly the case before the time of the reformation.
Back then a necessarily handwritten book would cost you thousands of dollars in today's money, and you never would have been afforded the time to learn to read it, let alone to actually read it. At the age of 8 you would have been collecting eggs, milking cows, feeding wood stoves, and making daily market trips by foot (no refrigerator of course). And you could imagine what the lack of running water would entail. The middle, and even lower class, now at least have the opportunity of education.
It can be argued that there were many virtues lost in this departure from a more direct connection with our environment, but there certainly wouldn't have been any philosophy being thrown around back then. The exception to this were the rich, who had servants to free up their time, not necessarily to waste, but to venture other pursuits.
The ancient Greeks were able to establish an organised and flourishing civilisation only because wealthy intellectuals were freed to be educated, to think, and to plan by the work of servants who took from them the burden of endless physical labour. Now, our fridge is a servant, our furnace is a servant ... you see where I'm going with this.
Consider that a good survivalist knows that it is best to use innovation to save as much time as possible. Passive fishing and trapping are superior to active hunting because you will have time freed up to accomplish other things in your survival effort, like building a more formidable shelter.
I just joined the group, and am glad to be a subscriber of Dominion Press. I'm sure you'll find me typing about in the comment section here and there.
Thanks for writing this. I've been regaling (?) my family of late on the important difference between 'work' and 'toil'. Nice to see it laid out so clearly.