Adaptability. And Why You Need It.
Can you imagine what living in a post-capitalist society would look like? If you can, then you are one of the few with the kind of adaptability that can see you through times of great transition.
We have been socialized into this capitalist system. The system that has taught us that the way of the world is in ‘survival of the fittest’, that it’s a dog eat dog world, that that life in general is a competition. The competition to earn more, buy more is literally consuming the planet.
Even our academic systems have taught us that science supports this point of view. We have been told that Darwin observed this notion of “kill or be killed”/survival of the fittest mentality as a natural state of nature, to win out our competitors or be eaten alive. When in fact, this was a misattribution. What Darwin came to understand after countless years of observing nature is the brilliant interconnectedness between all things. He knew exactly what all Indigenous people have known for time immemorial, that harmony with nature, that balance within eco systems is required for all to flourish. It couldn't be more clear that we are the only beings living in such great disharmony with the entire planet and all its flora and fauna.
We realize this, yet find ourselves fighting against those that clearly ‘don’t get it’. The few that continue the destruction, that keep us stuck in this broken down system of further consumption.
Over 20 years ago I became fascinated by a phenomenon called ‘remote viewing’. Apparently both the U.S. and Soviet governments employed specific individuals who had the ability to see things that were outside of their physical environment. These individuals were used in espionage and intelligence gathering missions for their unique ability to be somewhere without “being there” physically. It may sound hokey or sci-fi to you, but I read a lot of the evidence that supports this. After the Cold war ended and the projects that employed the remote viewers was declassified, the remote viewers held several gatherings where they met to forward view, to predict what the world would look like in 2050. Of the 40- or 50 (I cant remember the exact number) not all viewers had the same vision. What was remarkable, however, was that the vast majority saw a very different type of existence than we know now. The general consensus was that there was a vast drop in population due to a virus, and that the economic system we know now no longer existed. Humans who survived did not live in cities, but in small communities. What these communities looked like were very reminiscent to me as an Indigenous way of life. Most communities were approximately 50-100 people who grew their own food and worked cooperatively to provide for the community.
Now I am not here to say this is true, this is accurate, or is an inevitability. I am not even saying I believe it fully, but beyond finding it interesting, the thought of a post-capitalist existence has ALWAYS stayed with me. Not out of fear of global collapse, but perhaps more for a longing for a lifestyle that my ancestors flourished in pre-colonial contact. No one wants to give up our modern conveniences and comforts. Most of us couldn’t survive on our own if we had to gather our own food. But part of me is always acutely aware that Indigenous people nearly always have a sense that their traditional Indigenous skills are not just something we should learn, but something we may HAVE TO re-learn (beyond the basics), to survive in our lifetime. Its the thing we all feel but never talk about openly.
History has shown us time and time again, how great, innovative and technologically advanced civilizations grew to a peak of prosperity and then fell into oblivion; only to be studied by archaeologists and anthropologists to piece together the cause for collapse. As a grade schooler I was perpetually intrigued by the factors involved in the fall of these once incredible empires. Did the citizens see it coming? Did they try to stop it? Was it simply too late?
This brings me back to my proposition about adaptability. What Darwin and other evolutionary scientists understand is that being the strongest doesn’t always help you survive, but being the most adaptable does. So I dare ask, can you imagine a life in post-capitalist society? Because I do, all the time.