Archive for September 2009

Homo Hubris and the Disruption of The Numinous


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Homo Hubris and the Disruption of The Numinous


The Genesis of Homo Hubris

Homo Hubris is the name given to that new sub-species of the genus Homo which has, in the last three hundred or so years, become the dominant species inhabiting the industrialized countries of what is called “the West”.

The genesis of Homo Hubris lies in the rise of abstract concepts such as that of national-identity – over and above regional, tribal, differences and local (“clan”) identity – which began to emerge in Europe, and especially in Britain, some time before what has been termed “the Industrial Revolution”. This concept of a national, somewhat impersonal and always abstract, national identity, is prefigured, for example, in the speech by Queen Elizabeth the First of England, given at Tilbury, in 1588 CE, and in the dramatised speech, on St. Crispin’s Day, given by Shakespeare to King Henry V in the play (c. 1599 CE) of the same name, where the “nation” of England is eulogized. A more overt expression of this particular abstraction is the Commonwealth of England, established by Oliver Cromwell in 1653 CE, which in many ways was the forerunner of the modern concepts, the modern abstractions, of nation and State theorized by people such as Hegel and Fichte and brought into being after the French Revolution.

It was, however, what has been called “the Industrial Revolution” – which began in the early to middle 1700’s (CE) – which led to the rapid growth and spread of this new mostly urban-dwelling sub-species, Homo Hubris, in thrall to, and manipulated by others with, such abstract notions as “the nation” and “the State”.

Homo Hubris, by nature, is naturally rapacious, and rather war-like, and can often be distinguished from Homo Sapiens Galacticus by their profane “lack of numinous balance” (that is, their lack of empathy), by a lack of knowing of and feeling for the numinous; by a personal arrogance, by a lack of manners, and by that lack of respect for anything other than strength/power and/or their own gratification. One particular feature of the life of Homo Hubris is their dependence upon, and their need and often respect for, machines and technology, which machines and which technology have at best disrupted our balance with the Numinous, and, at worst, have severed our connexion to the Numinous and thus to Nature.

In outward appearance, Homo Hubris – that denizen of the Western megalopolis – is often distinguished by their lack of ancestral costume or genuine cultural apparel. Instead, they almost always either: (1) garb themselves in mass-produced products of consumerism (which more often than not sport some manufacturing logo or some manufacturing name, making them walking advertisements for such consumerism), or (2) garb themselves in what they regard, or have been informed (by some arm of the modern mass Media) is “trendy” or “fashionable”; or (3) garb themselves in the apparel, the outfit, of some modern urban abstract and un-numinous “sub-culture” which they identify with, which sub-cultures interestingly include the modern Armed Forces of the West, with their anonymizing uniforms.

The majority of Homo Hubris dress thus because essentially they have no personal, individual, style and generally possess a herd-like mentality, being unwilling and/or unable to be different from their pees, or “their mates”, or their friends, or their colleagues.  Thus, even when some of them regard themselves as being “rebellious” they are more often than not outfitting themselves (outwardly and often inwardly) according to some “trend” or some passing “craze”, which “trend” or which “craze” are always urban-based, always disconnected from the realness of their own ancestral culture (which ancestral cultures are always rural) and which outward signs of “rebellion” almost always become commercialized, given time.

This outward appearance of Homo Hubris may be said to be an outward sign of their true inner nature, for it is in the nature of Homo Hubris to conform, and to belong to that-which is un-numinous and which lacks a feeling for that natural and dignified humility born from personal experience and/or an innate empathy and sense of honour. Their conformity is most often to some abstraction; to some-thing – such as an idea, a dogma, a creed, an ideology – manufactured by someone else or by some established Institution.

Thus, Homo Hubris is essentially rootless, and prideful. Their “home” is what they make for themselves, and/or for their own family, and this home can be anywhere, for it does not really matter to them where they dwell; and more often than not their sense of belonging, if they have one, is to some modern abstraction, such as some modern nation-State, or to some religion, or to some -ology or some -ism, or to some un-numinous idealized urban place, such as some city or some large national region where they were born, which region is almost always denuded of real tradition and real rural living and culture, and more often than not has been manufactured in some past by some government functionary or some committee and made “real” by some abstract law of some abstract nation-State.

The individuals of Homo Hubris have little or no genuine ancestral culture; nothing that ties them to a real, living (and thus small), ancestral homeland; no sense of belonging to a specific local place or rural area which they have a natural empathy and love for and which they personally know through dwelling there for a length of time of many years. They have no feeling for, and little or no practical experience of, the natural Time – the natural rhythm and cycle – of Nature, but instead only have experience of the abstract measured out causal and urban Time of “clocks”. They have little or no awe of and respect for Nature: of their own smallness and impotence compared to the power and longevity and fecundity of Nature; instead, they exhibit that innate prideful and arrogant attitude of Homo Hubris where they believe or feel – because of some machine, or because of some technology or because of some abstract idea or some ideology or some dogma – that they are “powerful”, or “important”, or have some “Destiny” or can “make some difference” or, worse, that they must and should and can “change things for the better” according to some idea, some ideology, some dogma or some -ism.

They have little or no experience of the slowness and the numinosity of regular manual toil or of manufacturing things using only their hands and hand-tools. Instead, they only have experience of using powered machinery and powered machines which serve to distance them from the materials they are using or which they use to manufacture something which someone else wants or desires or which someone or some oligarchy or some product of capitalism has decreed is necessary for “change”, or for “progress” or from which someone somewhere can make a profit.

They have little or none of that genuine learning and personal knowledge that arises slowly from direct practical personal experience extending over many years and from extended contact with those of a previous generation who have practical skills and practical knowledge to impart, individually, in a natural and slow way. Instead, their knowledge and their learning are abstract, learnt in groups in classrooms or in lecture-rooms or from books or other material published by others, or, now, from the Internet (See Footnote 1) – and is almost always of no immediate, and pressing, relevance to themselves. That is, knowledge, learning, have not grown out, slowly, from within they themselves, and are not rooted in a numinous locale, in an area where they belong by virtue of ancestry and culture and toil. Instead, such knowledge and such learning as they possess are abstract, and have been imposed upon them, by some Institution, or some nation-State, or which they have imposed upon themselves because of some abstract interest or some enthusiasm or because it will help them “get on in life” and enable them to earn more money by toiling in some abstract profession or in some industry or some concern connected to some modern-State or some megalopolis.

In essence, therefore, the fundamental distinction is between: (1) a living, rural and ancestral way of life – which living (and which culture arising from it) always derive from some dwelling in a certain small area by some tribes or some clans – and (2) the artificial, manufactured, living of Homo Hubris: the living exemplified by industrialized cities and towns which towns and cities are now part of some large nation-State.

In the former, there is a knowing of and a respect for Nature, born from personal experience and the often harsh nature of a rural working life, which working life is one of reliance upon hand-crafts, hand-tools and the work of animals.

In the latter, there is a prideful ignorance of and a disrespect for Nature – except, perchance, when Nature touches some individual, bringing thus some misfortune – and a reliance upon powerful machines and machine-driven tools and technology, which powerful machines and machine-driven tools and which technology enable individuals to rapaciously and arrogantly destroy Nature and to rapaciously and arrogantly manufacture and build what is lifeless and abstract and barbaric, inhuman, and urbanized.

Machines, Technology, and The Disruption of The Numinous

Fundamentally, all machines and machine-driven tools – those things which extend the power, the reach, the ability, of a single individual beyond that which they could do, by themselves, during a day of work, with or without the help of other living-beings, such as horses or oxen – usurp the Numinous. That is, they possess the potential to: (1) re-inforce and extend the natural pride and natural arrogance and natural hubris of human beings; and (2) distance the user from Nature and that natural rhythm and natural way of life which encourages empathy and from which genuine (numinous) culture arises. Technology takes this usurpation of the Numinous even further.

However, what is wrong, what is un-numinous and un-ethical, are not such manufactured machines, tools, and technology, per se, but rather, the use to which they have been put, by human beings. Let us consider, for instance, two examples: the automobile, and the agricultural tractor.

1) The automobile – or hubrismobile – has profoundly changed the way of life of not only the countries of the West, but of most of the world. This machine – and similar machines, such as the railway engine – has made travel easy, and often affordable. With the building of roads, and bridges, previously inaccessible areas have been opened up, and developed. A journey that might have taken months on foot, or weeks by horse, could be accomplished in far, far, less “time” and without the rigours and difficulties previously encountered. Isolated communities have been “connected” to towns and cities; and people no longer had to live near where they worked, for they could “commute”, by hubrismobile, by train, by omnibus. People from the cities and the towns could, without much difficulty, swarm into and “enjoy” the countryside, and seek out ever more “remote” places where they, without much effort, could indulge in “leisure activities and pastimes”.

Modern-nations – their people just as much as their governments – enthusiastically embraced these, and associated, new machines. The result has been devastating for rural, isolated, often clannish, communities, their way of life and their culture. Furthermore, the hubrismobile – and similar machines – has distanced modern human beings even further from the realness of Nature and from that slow, natural and necessary toiling effort that walking and riding provided, and which effort enabled the cultivation of empathy and that attitude to life from whence true numinous culture arises. That is, things have been made “too easy” and too disconnected from their realness, from their natural place of dwelling, and as a consequence the haste and the profanity and arrogance of the city and the town have spread, displacing the slowness and toil of walking, the symbiosis required to work with and ride a horse, which slowness, toil and symbiosis engendered a certain numinous attitude to life, a certain natural respect and thence a real human dignity. And it is dignity which is so woefully lacking in Homo Hubris.

2) The agricultural tractor – and associated agricultural machines – have transformed agriculture, leading to the decimation of small diversified family farms, loss of work for farm labourers, and to increasingly large “agri-businesses” which specialize in one, or perhaps, two crops, and which crops are grown for profit and resale and not for the consumption of those growing and tending them.

That is, the emphasis has shifted totally away from small family owned farms whose diversified crops and stock were produced and reared for the consumption of the farmer and his family, with whatever surplus, if any, being sold locally for usually a very small amount of money, or bartered for needed items. Instead, there is now the cult of mono-culture and the agri-business (often employing only a few people and cultivating hundreds if not thousands of acres) which depend on making enough profit to buy and keep (often through usurious loans) the expensive farm machinery required to run such concerns, and which profit motive has required the use of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and genetically engineered crops, to artificially increase yields. The result – in places such as rural English counties – has been devastating for both Nature and for the rural way of life, and while it is true that such a machine as a small agricultural tractor can and often has made farming easier on the individual undertaking such work, it has led to unchecked and un-numinous change, and to the spread of the arrogance and the ways of Homo Hubris.

An example may illustrate this. This example concerns a village in a rural English county; what it once was, and what it is now. Less than a hundred years ago, this village was a small collection of cottages and farms. The farms themselves contained apple and pear orchards, and many fields of various crops. These crops had been found to be suitable to the type of soil in the area, and each year several fields were left “fallow” so that the fertility of the soil could be regained following a harvest. Naturally, given the orchards, the village and the surrounding area produced cider and perry – with every farm making its own. Indeed, cider was the regular and preferred drink in those days when the water itself was often suspect, and before tea drinking became common and affordable. The surplus crops, when harvested, were taken to the nearby small town, where there was a thriving market. At this time, most of the villagers worked either on the land itself, or in trades or crafts connected with them. For example, there was a village farrier, and a wheelwright, and thus a relative and local self-sufficiency, for most things the village, the farms, needed for their daily life were made of wood, locally cut, shaped, and crafted: carts, fences, gates, doors, even pumps. And what was not so made and crafted of wood, was more often than not made by the local blacksmith, or of stone quarried from somewhere nearby.

There was a sense of identity among the villagers – they were, for the most part, proud to be from the area, and proud of their local ancestry.

Of course, it is easy to idealize such village life. But there was an awareness of and a real sense of belonging. Life, for most of the villagers, was often harsh, sometimes cruel. But there was real individual and local character in the people. There was a real, living, community which, despite the hardship – or perhaps more correctly because of the hardship – slowly prospered over the centuries. There was a real balance with Nature – with the seasons, and the soil for the most part understood and respected, partly because old ways of doing things were carried on, with these old, ancestral ways having been found to be effective. (See Footnote 2.)

Today, however, in this village, this balance, this understanding and this respect for Nature no longer exist, even on the two farms which still remain. The village itself has grown tremendously. Over three score new houses have been built on land once owned by two of the farms. Dozens of trees have gone, and scores of hedges removed, to make way for these new arrivals. One of the other farms is no longer a “working farm” – it is occupied by a “townie” family, and its Barns have been converted into houses, lived in by other “townies” who commute to the nearby city in their cars. The orchards themselves have gone (save for some apple trees in the garden of one of the farms on the edge of the village) as have the fields of crops. Nearly all the fields now grow the regulation wheat, in large fields made by removing boundary hedges so that machines can plant, cultivate and harvest more. And the tragedy is that this wheat often ends up stored in an enormous warehouse where it forms a tiny part of the great and never used European “wheat mountain”.

Furthermore, even the few farmers who remain seem to have lost their respect for and understanding of Nature, ploughing as they do almost to the hedgerow, spraying the fields as they do with dangerous chemicals, and tearing the heart out of their remaining life-sheltering hedges as they do when they recklessly flail away at the wrong times of year with mechanical flails: stripping the berries and buds off in Autumn and decimating the surviving buds in early Spring. Farming has become a business at worst, and at best an occupation. No longer is the land farmed to provide food for the people who farm, with the excess produce being traded for essential items. No longer is there an understanding of husbanding the soil: of caring for it, treasuring it, for the benefit of future generations.

Nearly all of the new villagers work in the nearby city and the nearby towns. They have little knowledge of, and even less understanding of, Nature and the land around them shielded as they are by their centrally-heated, electric-light houses with its running water and flushing lavatories, and conveyed as they are from place to place by their heated, rain-shielding hubrismobiles. To such people, the place where they live is really irrelevant, as long as it is convenient. One of the few remaining attractions of the village is its lack of street lighting, on even the new estates of intruding houses. Thus can the beauty of the stars still be seen, at night, as there can still be a feeling of rural isolation in the darkness. But of course, the majority of people find this darkness – this intrusion of Nature – dreadfully “inconvenient” and have petitioned the local Council to install street lighting, which doubtless the unfeeling townie technocrats will, in time. Meanwhile, many of these village residents have installed intrusive high-power “security” lights on their houses, so keen are they to dispel anything which is natural, and fearful as they have become due to recent spates of burglaries, often by louts from nearby cities and towns who, of course, have easy access to such “rural” places by means of their hubrismobiles.

In particular, the lives of these new “village-dwelling” people are not connected to Nature: they do not depend on Nature, on the soil, the land, around them. Instead, their living depends on the business, the industry, the commerce, of the towns and cities, with such business, such industry, such commerce being for the most part unnecessary and unnatural, existing only to provide more and more unnecessary luxuries and goods, or existing only to implement abstract political and social policies totally unconnected with the land, and the way and traditions of their ancestors.

The truth is that we still are, and have been, too immature, as a species, to use machines and technology wisely; we have let ourselves be overcome with the power, with the capacity for change, with the pleasure and the ease, that they have imbued us with, just as we have forgotten the natural wisdom that we are and should be toiling, working, human beings who, through the natural toil of our work with our hands or with the aid of other living-beings, such as horses with whom we form a symbiotic relationship, can achieve, can establish and can maintain, a natural and a numinous balance with ourselves, with Nature, and with the community where we dwell. We have forgotten that such a simple rural life, such a way of living, does not need to be harsh if we exist in balance – if we co-operate with – others local to us in an empathic and honourable way for our mutual benefit and for our local needs, accepting that we need a little, but not too much, and eschewing out of choice a life of material wealth and luxury, preferring instead a less materialistic, but more satisfying, numinous way.

Machines, and technology, have undermined and then destroyed this balance, and as a result we have now all but lost our natural connexion to Nature, to other human beings, to other life, as we have lost that natural, slow, rural local way of self-sufficient living which slowly grew, century after century.

Machines, and technology, and the abstractions and artificial goals of modern nation-States and modern ways of material living have grossly allowed us to place profit before individuals, and luxury and personal greed before a natural balance with Nature, a natural balance with ourselves, and with the place where we dwell.

Machines, and technology, and the abstractions and artificial goals of modern nation-States and modern ways of material living have done almost irreparable damage to Nature and to our very humanity. One man with just one machine can now decimate and almost effortlessly destroy in one day acres upon acres of living countryside, of a centuries-old forest, just as one pilot flying one aircraft can in a few seconds, and effortlessly, fire and drop missiles and bombs enough to kill and maim hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands, of human beings.

That is, machines and technology have made us more arrogant, more prideful, and far more inhuman than we ever have been, as they have given us the capacity to be far more barbarian than our so-called “barbarian” ancestors, which barbarity we have, in the past hundred years, shamefully and zealously embraced, as witness the hundreds of millions of people that we have killed, injured and maimed, in our wars and our conflicts these past hundred years, which wars and which conflicts used and use a multitude of murderous weapons and in which wars and conflicts our much vaunted modern technology plays an increasing role.

Allied to the use, and important for the spread and acceptance, of machines and technology, has been the abstract idea of “progress”, which particular abstraction is, along with the abstract concept of the modern, and now increasingly tyrannical, nation-State, one of the most profane and destructive and un-numinous abstractions ever manufactured.


The Destructive Abstraction of Progress

The modern Western abstraction (idea) of progress is inseparably bound up with: (1) a desire for and a belief in “change”and continued “growth”; (2) with the belief that we human beings can and should set ourselves abstract goals, unrelated to anything natural or numinous, and strive to achieve these goals;  (3) with the belief that such “change”, such “growth”, and such goals will enable us to achieve such things as “happiness”, “wealth”, “contentment”, “freedom”, and so on etcetera; and (4) with the belief that we can manufacture various “things” (abstractions) – such as, for example, a State, an economy, some laws, some government policy or planning – which will lead us toward the attainment of the aforementioned “happiness”, “wealth”, “contentment”, “freedom”, “equality”, and so on etcetera. For instance, Hegel’s Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte, Marx’s Das Kapital, and Comte’s Système de politique positive, contain all of these concepts, in greater or lesser degree, concepts eulogized by individuals such as John Stuart Mill, and Herbert Spencer.

Furthermore, one of the fundamental tenets of the Zeitgeist of the modern West is that machines, technology and science can aid, ensure and even achieve the abstract progress that is desired, and that some new “invention” will enable us to make even more “progress”.

All these concepts – like all abstractions – usurp or limit or constrain our own individual judgement, which individual judgement – to be numinous and thus ethical – should and must be based upon empathy, that is, upon: (1) a direct and personal knowing of other individuals, of other life, and of Nature; and/or upon (2) a dwelling in a particular area or locality which we directly know, and have experience of, and where such changes as are made, are undertaken by us or others dwelling there in a natural harmonious way with as little disruption, with a genuine respect for the locality and Nature, and in the knowledge that we are but one small and transitory emanation of Nature. All abstractions distort or destroy our correct, and of necessity our individual, perception of other human beings, and of Nature.

In essence. the abstraction of “progress” disrupts, undermines, decimates, and then destroys our natural connexion to Nature, to other individuals, to our past, and to the Cosmos.  For instance, this abstraction of so-called “progress” often or mostly requires or involves the rejection of the old, tried, tested ways of the past, which ways have slowly evolved in a natural manner from personal and local experience. In their place, there is some new fangled idea or some new theory or some new, “more progressive”, more “enlightened” way of doing things, all of which derive from somewhere other than direct local experience and local personal knowledge, and all of which disrupt or severe our numinous connexion with our ancestral past, with others, and with Nature.

For instance, this abstraction of so-called “progress” replaces the slow rhythm of Nature’s own Time with the abstract “Time” of some abstraction, such as “achieving prosperity and material success” through change and growth, be this individual, regional or national. Thus, and for example, in the name of such material achievement and prosperity, industrial, or commercial, or retail, or some other type of, development is undertaken, and justified as being “of benefit to the people” and a sign of “commitment to the future”, which development and its associated infrastructure almost always disrupts, displaces, or destroys some aspect of Nature, and often encroaches upon, or undermines, or displaces or destroys, small rural, and often locally self-sufficient, community or communities, with the peoples of such communities then becoming dependant upon or part of the new (often local or national government planned) developments and their infrastructure, effectively making them rootless and severing what was often an ancient connexion with Nature and an ancestral way of living.

Thus is the abstraction of so-called “progress” – and the concomitant change and disruption – either imposed upon individuals, by some abstract entity such as a government, or individuals mistakenly impose it upon themselves, singularly, or in collaboration with others, believing that it is “necessary”, or that some other concept, said to make such progress achievable, will improve or otherwise enhance their own life.

However, the numinous reality is that true “progress”, true and numinous change, is only and ever individual and only ever arises – like wisdom – slowly in a natural way, and only “exists” as a greater presencing of the numinous, a reconnexion of ourselves with The Numen, and an enhancement, and evolution of, that connexion. That is. genuine progress – that which is real because it is not a human-manufactured abstraction we have imposed upon ourselves and upon life – cannot be created or achieved by anything other than an inner change within an individual; by the natural evolution of the individual; or by those small, local, and incremental and generally non-disruptive outer changes (for example to our locality) that work with, and which balance, and which continue, what already-is, based as such small and local changes are on the respect for such natural balance that arises from a knowledge that we are but one small and transitory emanation of, and thus a connexion to, Nature.

Conclusion

What, therefore, are the numinous solutions to the problems of the destructive abstraction of “progress” and of the disruption of the numinous caused by machines and technology? What is the numinous way to proceed to restore the natural balance that Homo Hubris has upset?

The solution – the way – is to return to a more rural, less materialistic, more clan-based, way of living. To return to the slow and natural toil of manual labour and a working in harmony with animals. It is a consciously-made – an evolutionary – decision to honourably co-operate with others who feel as we do in order to slowly bring-into-being new rural and clan-based communities where we can live such a way that our natural balance with ourselves, with Nature, is restored.

It is a consciously-made – an evolutionary – decision to restrain and control ourselves, and control our lust for comfort and for luxury, and to place empathy with and compassion for all Life at the centre of our own lives. It is a consciously-made – an evolutionary – decision to distance ourselves, internally and externally, from the profane, materialistic, egotistic, profit worshipping, machine-worshipping, societies of our age. It is a consciously-made – an evolutionary – decision to appreciate, understand and know our place in Nature and in the Cosmos: as but one small nexion of life, which small nexion affects all other living beings and which small nexion has the opportunity to evolve to be the awareness, to be part of the-being, of Nature and of the Cosmos itself.

It is, in summary, the decision to restore, and to then enhance and to evolve, that connexion to the Numinous which machines, and technology, and the abstractions and artificial goals of modern nation-States and modern ways of material living, have severed, and which connexion has its foundation, in genesis, in empathy, in personal honour and in those small clan-based communities where such empathy and such honour can thrive.

David Myatt

Footnotes:

(1) The Internet itself provides an excellent example of (a) the mis-use of technology by Homo Hubris, and (b) of how such technology enhances the profanity and arrogance of Homo Hubris, and disrupts the Numinous itself.

Genuine learning and a genuine wisdom arises from a reflexion born from personal, direct, practical experience: from an alchemical, inner, symbiosis; from that personal and very individual growth that requires a long period of causal time, often in one place. The Internet, however, encourages and easily facilitates two Homo Hubris like things: (1) the dissemination of abstract, rootless, “knowledge”; and  (2) the immediate dissemination of the mostly fatuous, often ignorant and almost always dishonourable opinions and views of the Homo Hubris hordes. In addition, it is increasingly used, and often covertly censored by, functionaries and flunkeys of modern nation-States to spread their grossly un-numinous abstractions and their propaganda; and now possesses a commercialized Media-infested nature.

Thus, there is the availability and the encouragement of the worthless, the profane, the abstract, the lifeless, the un-numinous, the propagandistic, allowing for and encouraging as never before a pretentious pseudo-intellectual type of “knowledge” and of “knowing”, and an immediate spewing forth of personal dishonour.

Thus, instead of being primarily used – as it might have been – as one new means of communication between rational, empathic, enlightened individuals, it has been used and is being used in the service of Homo Hubris, and of those oligarchies and interest groups which have a vested interest in the continuing profanity of Homo Hubris and in the continuing existence of the un-numinous abstractions on which the modern West is based.

As with many things modern, machine-based and technological, the disadvantages of this Internet now far outweigh its few remaining advantages. In addition, and in particular, the truely empathic, the truely wise – those connected or re-connected to The Numen – have little or no need of the immediacy of such a modern medium. The only minuscule value of the medium of the Internet is that it still currently allows the free dissemination of items contrary to the material, un-numinous Zeitgeist of the modern West, enabling those few who might be interested in more numinous matters to reflect upon such matters, and, after such reflexion, if they consider it suitable, to act upon them, in their own species of causal time and in their own individual way.

(2) As I wrote some years, in a letter to a friend:

” Do not believe that I yearn for some non-existent romantic rural idyll. I know [from years of personal experience] the hardness of this life, of how the work, the days, the weather, can wear you down, make limbs, back, hands, ache; of how some days I become wearied with a particular wearisome, repetitive task, and yearn for the day to end, to sit outside in the garden of the local Pub, alone with my pint of liquid food made from water and barley and flavoured with hops…..  But this simple life is my choice; there are good days, and bad days; usually more good days, especially when – as today and yesterday – the Sun warms and I can see the beauty of this Earth’s blue sky. In many ways, I yearn for the warm, sunny days of an English Spring, Summer and Autumn, as I know there must be life-giving rain, and clouds to bear that rain. There is balance, which has brought the numinous beauty of this rural landscape, this land.

The toil of earlier times was often much harder than it is now; but the toil that is necessary, now, to live simply, frugally, is not that hard – although it will be so for those who have never done such work! I remember how many people – especially young people – started work in the fields at my previous place of work. Some lasted a few hours; some lasted a week; a few lasted a few weeks. None lasted longer, leaving us two [old farm hands] with our hoes, our taciturn ways, to knowingly smile.

The important thing is that we now have, and can make, a conscious choice – to live in the world, as it is, has become; or to live as we can, and – I believe – we should, simply, in an unaffected way, in harmony, symbiosis, with Nature, thus restraining ourselves, especially our desire for material possessions, for the things we really do not need, for the things which harm Nature, the living beings of Nature, and we ourselves, if we but knew it…”

(3) This particular tenet – this particular abstraction – may be said to have its modern origins in the writings of Francis Bacon.