Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thoughts on the influence of my SciFi love on homesteading.

Well, today is a day of forgetting things, but fortunately only non vital things. For purposes of the blog the
most important thing I've forgotten is to take photos. Not by far the Only thing of course as I left the chickens water outside over night which is only non vital because we have running hot water, and that deals with frozen water right quick. I'm not sure if it's the time of year and the changed light that's made me a bit less attentive than I should be, or simply the stress level from non homesteading things. For yesterday I can actually blame creaming the back of my head on a pallet shelf at work so hard I saw double for part of the day Tuesday, this morning was just me screwing up. But, since I don't have new photos to talk about, I'm just going to talk about my thoughts and some consideration I've been giving lately. Oh, and include some of the better photos from the past of the blog. Sorry about the slightly rambling nature of the post below, but if you have the time to read I'd love to hear responses.

For those of you that don't know, I'm a nerd of many stripes. One of the big stripes of nerd I am is science fiction. Actually, it's due to our shared love of science fiction that the Lady of the House and I met at the UMass Science Fiction Society. I can say most of my friends are connections that share love of SciFi and Fantasy. So I'd say SciFi has shaped my life in a fair number of good ways, but one of the big ones is that good SciFi makes you think, social commentary really.

I think a good part of my receptiveness to the sort of back to the land ideas, homesteading, and self sufficiency actually comes from my love of reading SciFi and history. History's kind of obvious, especially with the historically incorrect portrayal of the idealized farmstead settling into the mind quickly even if it never really was true. The SciFi side may be less obvious to those who aren't into that sort of thing. In a lot of Science Fiction from the 50s to 70s especially, and plenty even outside of that primary area have a real focus on the self reliant man. The self reliant woman is often lacking, but that gets into a sociological discussion of the gender and social constructs of SciFi more appropriate to a whole different blog. The point is, when reading SciFi as a young person starting around 8 and continuing to this day when I have time, the core concepts of those you consider admirable becomes something desirable. I loved Arthurian stories and attempted to adopt a young teen's take on chivalry, I admired the dedication and loyalty of the characters in any number of books and tried to live that way. But as a child you don't have the opportunity to act out the self sufficiency dreams idealized in SciFi. On a side note, I wonder how much of that comes from many of the older SciFi authors having a love of history and the Republican Roman ideals of the citizen soldier going back to his farm after the war.

What brought this to mind was recently watching the Ender's Game movie, and re reading the book. Bear with me for a moment, the ideals that Ender's Game instilled in me of empathy and courage shaped how I relate to our animals, and why I choose to face the life and death of my meat rather than saying there isn't anything I can do about it. I mean, don't get me wrong, there's plenty of other reasons, but Ender's Game as a book I read at 8 was one of the first I'm conscious of and helped set the stage for later influences.

How so? Well, there's a few important themes in Ender's Game, not all of which are relevant, so I'm just going to cover the relevant ones.

1: How you do something is important, not just that it's done.
2: Empathy isn't a weakness though it can make things more difficult.
3: A healthy dose of look for yourself and ask questions, though this has been present in a lot of areas in my life from school to parents to friends and beyond.

I can't say I was 100% conscious of all of that as an 8 year old of course, and I only recently as I've been re
reading been making some of the connections. The empathy one is actually something I realized in relation to a conversation with Tevis and Rachel of Crabapple Farm. We were discussing ethical treatment of meat animals, and they noted that the empathy that makes one good at caring for livestock makes it difficult when the time comes to kill it yourself, or send it for processing, which in my mind comes right back to how you do something is important.

So, there's my rambling thought process on how my reading habits as a kid led me to more easily accept that it's important to be self sufficient, and despite the difficulty be connected to my food and give it as good of a life as possible.

1 comment:

  1. For sure what we feed our minds with will color how we see the world later on. I spent most of my teen years in Middle Earth. I must have read LOTR 40 or 50 times. Seriously! I could recite the poetry in Elvish from memory. That shaped my stance on things like honor and duty and personal responsibility in ways I'm still discovering.