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A decision to move off the grid means profound changes are coming. But many people do not realize what an incredible opportunity for change the off-the-grid lifestyle really represents. This is because most people do not truly understand how deeply co-opted and colonized they have become after living for so long under the camouflaged thumb of a system that comprehensively oppresses our instincts for independence and self-reliance.
Adopting alternative forms of energy as a way to stay off the electrical grid is a practical way to unplug from a social and economic order that has been slowly rotting beneath its shiny veneer for a long time. But more than that, exploring the world of alternative energy and installing or building new types of power systems to provide heat and electricity can help people break their addiction to dependent thinking. Even more so than practical limitations, it is this addiction that throws up the most roadblocks for people who are making a concerted effort to change their lives for the better by going off the grid. What is really required to make it all work is not so much material changes, but a psychological and emotional transformation that can remove the internal shackles that keep us chained to a restrictive way of thinking and living.
The Sun Never Sets
Innovations in solar energy technology have helped bring down costs while reducing the size of the system needed to provide for all the electrical needs of an individual home. Nevertheless, there is no question that purchasing and installing a solar array along with a battery bank to store the power it produces represents a significant enough financial investment and scares a lot of people away. From the standpoint of a pure cost-benefit analysis, it is not always clear whether solar panels for electricity generation are a good buy or not – or, in some cases it may be clear, and the balance may be negative. But approaching things entirely from this perspective is a mistake.
Once a solar electrical system has been set up, it will only require maintenance and the occasional replacement of a worn out part in order to continue functioning. Even if a person comes into it not knowing anything about this technology, once a system has been installed a homeowner can educate him or herself and take over the tasks of maintenance and repair. This type of knowledge has practical utility, to be sure, but it also increases the feelings that underlie self-sufficiency in general. Learning to do it yourself is the most valuable kind of education there is because it shows people what they are really capable of accomplishing once they actually decide to give something new a try.
Beyond its ability to promote self-sufficiency and independence, there is another aspect of alternative energy that helps to free us from the bonds of incorrect thinking upon which the mainstream order thrives. While it is true that a solar energy system, when properly installed and maintained, can give us unlimited access to a supply of free power, we must never lose sight of the fact that it is really nature’s bounty, and not the technology, that is providing for our needs. The sun is the ultimate source of heat and light for all life, shining perpetually and eternally as it delivers its precious gifts ceaselessly and without demanding anything in return. The sun is not just a gift from God, it is perhaps one of the most important one He gave us, and when we rely on the energy it provides to serve us directly we can begin to understand once again how God’s love and nature’s bounty are interdependent and limitless.
The most powerful form of propaganda that corrupts our minds and our souls is the idea of scarcity. Political and social systems turn people into willing slaves by convincing them that they could never make it on their own because there is not enough of everything to go around. Because scarcity is a fundamental aspect of reality – they say – the only way to survive is to stick together, to stay close, and to depend on the corporations and the government to protect you as best they can against the inevitable shortages of material goods that make it impossible for everyone to have the things they need to live.
But alternative energies that harness the power of the sun, the wind, the tides, and the flow of rivers help to reveal how fraudulent the concept of scarcity really is. Social and political orders don’t protect us from scarcity, they actually create it as a way to keep us in a mental prison where we can be easily manipulated and controlled. Nature can provide for all of our needs if we let it, and going off the grid and turning to alternative energy helps us reconnect with this very important truth.
The Gift of Creativity
One of the other ways they keep us in line and under control is by convincing us we are stupid. They will train us to perform certain specific tasks, yes, and reward us well in many cases if we do them well. But we are told that we must be dependent on experts for everything else – for example, if something breaks we have to call a repairman to come and fix it because we could never do it or learn to do it ourselves. Most insidious is the political dependency they cultivate – according to the overarching mythology, the only way to feed our families is to vote for candidate X instead of candidate Y (or Y instead of X, depending on our ideology), since he is the only one who knows how to create the new jobs that will save us from the ravages of recession and economic scarcity.
If you want to see examples that expose this game for what it is, all you have to do is read some of the life stories of people who have moved off the grid and made it work. In virtually every case, making this life change has unleashed people’s creative instincts in surprising and inspiring ways. Off-the-gridders are constantly coming up with new methods for doing things more efficiently and cheaply by using and reusing the things they already have or by picking up new useful things for free or for very little cost.
Inventiveness flourishes in an off-the-grid setting, and alternative energy is one of the areas where this creativity expresses itself most effectively. Many people come up with ingenious designs for solar thermal systems, for example, that allow them to use the sun’s heat to fully meet all of their hot water needs. Others come up with clever ways to redesign their homes to take advantage of the sun’s ability to heat interior spaces naturally during the day. Some have created ingenious bicycle generating systems that use pedal power to run certain types of electrical appliances. Wood stoves are another old-style form of heat generation that has been rediscovered and redesigned by creative off-the-gridders, who have found ways to efficiently use wood for cooking and heating water in addition to keeping homes comfy during the winter.
Finding the Divine in Nature
God’s abundance is present in the natural world and in the nature of human beings. Much like the off-the-grid lifestyle in general, alternative energy is a gateway to a different way of living and of thinking about the world. Alternative energy technologies are, in many instances, quite revolutionary based on their design alone. But even more importantly, the way they help people re-imagine the world is every bit as revolutionary, only in a more profound and significant way. Those who are just beginning to live off the grid should be strongly encouraged to use alternative forms of energy because they are more efficient, promote independence and self-sufficiency, and help people see through the fog of lies and distortions that have hidden the truth about who human beings really are and what the world is really like.
©2011 Off the Grid News