I came across this via Dense Discovery, which is one of a number of additional newsletters to which I would recommend Thought Shrapnel readers subscribe.
In this article, Erin Remblance shows how modern lifestyles, particularly in wealthy nations, have led to a loss of human connection and an increase in mental health issues. She suggests that the shift from community-oriented activities to individualistic, consumer-driven behaviour has not only harmed our well-being but also contributed to the climate emergency.
The solution? Returning to simpler, more sustainable ways of living that focus on human connection and creativity. By becoming creators rather than mere consumers we can improve our mental health and simultaneously benefit the planet.
One of the top 5 regrets of the dying is that they wished that they hadn’t worked so hard. Another is that they wished they’d been brave enough to pursue the life they’d really dreamed of, without worrying about what others thought; that they’d had the courage to do the things that made them truly happy. Which is ironic, really, because according to the 18th century economist and philosopher, Adam Smith, wealth is something that is “desired, not for the material satisfaction that it brings, but because it is desired by others”. People are getting to the end of their lives regretting that they worked so hard – often to accumulate wealth so that others could envy it – wishing that instead they had pursued things that truly made them happy regardless of what people thought. What a lesson we could learn from these people’s dying realisations.
Reducing our consumption is of course important for the health of the planet, but what if one way to do this is by becoming producers, or creators, ourselves? Rediscovering what our human-energy – an abundantly available energy we seem to be using increasingly less of – can achieve, something we once innately drew upon, now buried deep within us as fossil-fuelled energy has overtaken our lives. There’s a clear link here to actions that will mitigate climate change: walking, cycling, growing our own food, and other low-tech solutions such as repairing and fostering community that encourages “social connections … rather than fostering the hyper-individualism encouraged by resource-hungry digital devices.”
We are not supposed to live like this, and it shows. We can see it in the deterioration of mental and physical health of people in so called ‘wealthy’ nations, in the exploitation of people in the Global South, and we can see it in the planetary-wide ecological crisis we face. What if, in trying to heal ourselves, we also begin to heal the planet? Because, in a wonderful turn of events, it would seem that what is good for us, is good for the planet too.
Source: We are not supposed to live like this | Erin Remblance