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Those who travel in off-the-grid and prepper circles obviously put a lot of emphasis on survival, and rightly so. But life is about more than just survival. God gave us the gifts of creativity, intelligence, and the capacity to experience joy because He wanted us to use them, and one of the biggest indictments against modern society is that it denies people the opportunity to fully develop their natural abilities and live in ways that would allow the human spirit to flourish.
One of the best indicators of how oppressive our current social and economic environment really is can be found in the latest statistics on mental health. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2010 20 percent of all Americans suffered from some type of mental illness. The numbers were especially high among young adults aged eighteen to twenty-five, who had rates twice as high as those over the age of fifty. Perhaps most disturbingly, in 2010 8 percent of all teenagers experienced a bout of clinical level depression, even though you wouldn’t think these young people had been alive long enough to be depressed about anything. This survey also revealed that 8.7 million adults had contemplated suicide  during the year, which tells us a lot about how deep the sense of hopelessness really runs.
Of course, statistics like this are actually cause for celebration in the halls of government and in the laboratories and boardrooms of pharmaceutical companies. From the government’s perspective, any epidemic of any sort is good because it will give them an excuse to expand government-run health care and subsidize corporate medicine, while high numbers of mentally ill people leave pharmaceutical company executives with visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads. More depression, schizophrenia, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorders naturally means more prescriptions for pharmaceuticals, since drugs are the only answer these days for everything that ails us.
But of course, the explosion in mental health disorders among the American public has actually coincided with dramatic increases in the consumption of the anti-depressants  prescribed to treat them. At best, it seems clear these drugs are doing very little to help people overcome mental health issues, and at worst it could be that excessive pharmaceutical use is actually causing some of the problem. Pharmaceuticals are notorious for their horrifying side effects, and anti-depressants are especially dangerous because of the chemical changes they can cause in the brain . Young people are extremely vulnerable to the mind-altering effects of these powerful toxins, but this has not stopped doctors from prescribing them frequently for adolescents and even for children .
Indicting the Usual Suspects
What are commonly referred to as mental health disorders are really the mind’s immune response to excessive physical and emotional stress. We used to live in a society where people made a place for themselves in the world as farmers, shopkeepers, craftsmen, inventors, skilled practitioners, or small-scale entrepreneurs, but now most people have become dependent on corporations to supply them with stress-filled jobs and on the government to give them hand-outs when these jobs are outsourced and shipped overseas . This lack of independence and self-sufficiency results in a learned helplessness that leaves people feeling vaguely anxious and depressed just about all the time. Minds under this kind of consistent stress and strain can eventually blow a fuse, and mental illnesses are what result when a mind that has been under siege for too long is forced to try and find a new equilibrium.
But it would be wrong to blame everything on stress alone. We also cannot overlook the role played by poor diet, as the junk foods and processed foods that comprise 70 to 80 percent of the typical American diet are filled with all sorts of chemicals and additives that can alter brain and body chemistry in subtle but significant ways . Too much exposure to noise, light, heat, and strong odors can also play havoc with body chemistry, and these side effects of the modern urban lifestyle assault people’s senses on a daily basis.
Leaving the Insanity Behind
Even though most Americans probably recognize on some level that something is seriously wrong with the way they are living, the off-the-grid option probably seems pie-in-the-sky to almost all of them. But this is because people have been brainwashed into believing that dependence is the only way, that the world is just too big and complex and scary to manage all on your own and that you need to rely on the government to protect you, doctors and pharmaceutical companies to make you well, and corporations and banks to run the economy so you will be able to find a job.
But here is the truth – human beings are possessed with extraordinary natural abilities, all of which are expressions of God’s love and grace. People really can accomplish just about anything if they truly believe they can, and this includes successfully escaping from the hopeless treadmill of our dead end society.
The off-the-grid lifestyle can be challenging at first; it is true. However, when people actually have the courage to give it a try, they discover that they can indeed run their own farms, grow their own gardens, build and maintain their own homes, supply their own energy and heat, create their own thriving small businesses, and overall do just fine without having to rely on anyone or anything to help make good things happen. Off-the-grid living works because this is the way we were all meant to live all along, free and independent and self-sufficient. People who choose this lifestyle will certainly face many challenges, but what they will discover is that meeting these challenges and succeeding despite the obstacles will increase their confidence, happiness, and inner peace of mind.
The most important thing to realize is that a lifestyle that produces mental illness in one out of every five of its citizens is, by definition, highly unnatural. The only thing that modern society has perfected is the skill of public relations, which is why government, the media, corporations, and financiers have been able to convince the majority of the people that the way they are forced to live is the best of all possible worlds.
Fortunately, a growing number are beginning to see through this veil of lies, and more and more people are looking to escape from the madness by going off the grid. Much emphasis has been placed on the value of going off-the-grid in order to be prepared to survive the coming chaos and disorder, but the truth is that mainstream society as it exists in the year 2012 would not be worth saving even if it were possible to do so. Even if we could travel into the future and see that collapse had somehow been averted, going off the grid would still be the best thing anyone could ever possibly do for the sake of their health, safety, and sanity.
©2012 Off the Grid News