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Meditations, art & Ubuntu

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Didn't make it to OMD, it was just too long a day and all I wanted was to get home.  I did make it to HMV and picked up a couple of DVD'S which I look forward to watching at the weekend.  I was on my way back when I had a text message from work saying they needed the banner for today.  We're doing a presentation on Friday and because I do art, I got the job of making the banner.  So, I made it at my art class last night, and they were all very happy with it.

Talking about art, I was at the opening of a local exhibition tonight, No Jury, No Prize.  Apparently, this began in London a few years back but it was in the Alley tonight so I went down for an hour as I submitted a painting for it.  Unexpectedly, my cousin Paul also had a piece of sculpture in the show and was with a friend of his who was also exhibiting a painting.  There was a broad mix of styles from both amateurs and professionals.  I'm technically a professional, because I have sold paintings but really I'm an amateur.  I'll consider myself professional when I can earn a living doing it which will probably be never! 

I'm sitting here and I saw this show advertised for BBC 4 called, Retreat: Meditations from a monastery (supposed to be writing my assignment and the stress is kicking in!) .  Before it started, they showed a little film of a sunset by the sea with the water ebbing and flowing, and very restful it was too.  If only we could have these instead of bloody ads all the time.  Anyway, it's about a group of monks in a monastery and how they live, making their own clothes and growing their food.

There certainly is a great appeal in the simplicity of the communal aesthetic lifestyle.  I remember a few years ago, there were several programmes on about the Amish community and I have to say, I found their lifestyle very appealing. I loved all the craftwork and cooking and baking and gardening, because I do all that too.  I just don't get to do enough of it as the rat race demands my services and unfortunately, I don't have the means to escape, yet!  Well, I can always dream...

The only downside was the religion, and I've often wondered how you could have that way of living; in a community and everyone working together to help each other out but without all the dogma and rules of religion.  If I ever get enough money to buy a large piece of land, I'm definitely going to try that one out, build my own community - Free the wage enslaved!

I believe in time, we will have to seriously look at alternative lifestyles and eventually move towards a world without money.  The whole capitalist thing just isn't working and isn't sustainable in the long term so we're going to have to try something else.   If you think about it, imagine if you could have access to everything you needed and didn't have to work to earn money to buy it.  All the stress of life disappears. The fear of 'not having' is what scares everyone, me included! 

There are a few movements around who are advocating this idea which I found online but most are in the early stages of development.  One of the most organised is called the Ubuntu Movement, and they have set up the first 'town without money' in South America.  You're only obliged to contribute 3 hours of work to the community and the rest of the time is your own, sounds good to me!  That's as much as I know about it as I haven't had the time, (the ongoing dilemma!) to check it out in more detail at the moment.  A blog for another day...

Oh well, back to the assignment!

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Me in a rare cheerful mood

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Or you could visit Findhorn in Scotland.  Wikipedia probably has the best explanation; their own web site seems to be all form and little function.

We stumbled across it by accident when touring Scotland in a motorcaravan and stayed for a couple of days.  It was an interesting experience, especially the bipolar mentality / culture of the place with those who are engaged with the Earth, spirituality and healing being very different from the engineers who maintain the infrastructure and produce the food.  It is fascinating how the two groups seem to have nothing in common, except values and respect, and so the community works.

Whenever my Good Lady Wife or I mentioned the visit to any of our respected colleagues or friends, they've all responded with something like "Oh yeah, we stayed there one summer back.  We only left because of pregnancy / needing to look after someone / some other crisis.  Wouldn't have thought it was your thing."  It seems everyone we know is a wannabe-hippie.  That is not a criticism, it just implies we have a specific taste in friends.

So such places do exist, it is only one example.  But as one of the long-standing residents explained, having a society without rules only works if everyone sticks to the rules.