Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Reflection on Freeloaders by Daniel Suelo

Here is an excellent post by my friend Suelo - he is the remarkable man who has lived over 14 years with receiving or spending a penny. Life is given to us freely; why does humanity have to make it into a perpetual competition?

I get so many droves of criticisms in comment threads that I'm a freeloader and a drain on society that I just ignore them. But one I couldn't resist replying to:
"M., I can't wrap my mind around why it troubles you that I accept
what is voluntarily given, that I do my work voluntarily, or take what is
thrown away rather than let it go to a landfill. Voluntary means doing without pay. You volunteer because you want to. If you don't want to, it isn't voluntary. Voluntary is win win: win for the giver, win for the receiver. Why should you resent that I want to help somebody or somebody wants to help me? I ask nothing from you, impose nothing on you. And why should you resent that I grab a few crumbs of overwhelming waste from the table of those who take obscenely more than they need? No, I do not want your help if it isn't voluntary, and you have made it clear you resent giving to the unjust as well as the just.
"I decided not to take food stamps or any kind of government assistance, except I do use libraries, walk on sidewalks & roads. The library thing really puts people in a tizzy. One friend of mine said in a similar comment thread that she was a taxpayer but didn't use the library, so she volunteered all her library time to me. Everybody was finally quiet. Reality didn't change, only beliefs in the head.
"If I 'WILL' be living off government assistance, as you assert, it will be because I am forced, not voluntarily. Your system and your rules impose, making my whole life illegal. I ask for very little: daily bread, not even a house, and a place to sleep. Why is it that those who own believe those who do not own owe them? Lords impose. Landlords. Owners. What do I impose upon you that distresses you?
'Free means free. What is free is un-owned. What is free costs no money.
'Do the sunlight, rain, and air also distress you, as they free fall on the unjust and the just equally, even enabling mooches? What energy running your body & the entire world civilization is not free from the sun? Can you pay back the sun if you tried? And if you think you deserve something because of your skillful work, what skill is yours that was not gifted to you? Is there such thing as a creature that isn't a mooch? Everything you are, everything you have, was gifted to you, unmerited, by pure grace.
'Yes, I am dependent upon your work. You are dependent upon my work and nature's work and sun's work. But you will not acknowledge our work, because it does not have arbitrary numbers upon it. Why would you deserve a cell phone while the sweatshop workers who made it could never think of owning one? Because you have more arbitrary numbers? Who decided we own this land that we invaded? Claim ownership of what was free to you, believe you earned it, and refuse to give it free to another, and claim that your whole universe is dependent upon your arbitrary numbers called money, if you like. Your god is what you believe everything depends upon. But your god you defend so vehemently does not erase the reality that all is by grace, that you earned absolutely nothing. Even the Jesus whose cross you display said, 'I can do nothing of myself', and 'no one can be my disciple unless you give up all your possessions.' Enlightenment is realizing we own absolutely nothing, we earned absolutely nothing. Enlightenment is simple reality."

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Facebook Status

By Me.

I hope I don't offend any friends or especially family with the following message. I need to share something. I can't understand how anyone can say "I am bored!" in this amazing age. It annoys me when I see it as a Facebook status or a text. How can you be "bored" while using a magical device that has at least a hundred uses, any of which can sufficiently entertain you? Or you could read a book - you know, those things that are printed on paper that are stored in libraries? They tell amazing stories about imaginary lands; you can't be bored with options like that in the world! Or if that's not enough, doesn't your mind keep you busy? Mine does. And if even that does not satisfy you, don't you have the outside world? The wonders of creation await you.

How can you be bored?

[inspired by Leo Tolstoy]

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"The Love Of Money Is..."

"...the root of all evil." (1 Tim. 6:10)

I was just browsing the website LiveWithoutLovingMoney again, (it's been a while since I've browsed it) and this article, "Why Is Wealth Unrighteous?", really caught my attention. See what you think!  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"It Won't Be Long At All"

I've been thinking back to L.A. a lot recently and wanted to share this video to share my thoughts. This is a music video for the song "Long At All" by the group Everlast (whom I had already admired), which features one of the most endearing personalities of Los Angeles' Skid Row. Pepper is a regular at the LACW "Hippie Kitchen" and a friend of all who work there (and friend to some of the guests). 

My favorite Pepper story that I experienced was on a hot day while I looked after the kitchen's gardens while guests were having their teeth fixed by a volunteer dentist. Pepper showed up with a 3 gallon bucket of ice cream (only God knows where he got it from) and proceeded to make sure we shared it with every last person we saw.

During my time with the LACW, I also remember Pepper living in a teepee on the Fourth Street Bridge and donning a full-sized pirate flag on his shopping cart. The stories are endless.

Enjoy the song.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Author Who Went Freegan in NYC for Research

The following article was written by Nathan Rostron for about an author who went all the way with research for his latest novel. Funpunkyg has not yet read the book, but would be happy to read it if it came across her path. :) The article is lively and thought-provoking, so enjoy!

"Dear American Airlines" author Jonathan Miles' new novel, "Want Not," began with garbage: "Having three children," Miles told Bookish, "I made great mountains of trash, and trash had become a significant portion of my life." Miles took his obsession further than most writers would. He studied not only the people who make trash and who dispose of it, but also those who (gulp) eat it: "I [spent] a little time with the 'freegan' community in New York, who eat out of trash as a philosophical statement." Miles spoke with us about what drives freegans to live off the grid and go "dumpster diving," and what it was like to follow their path while researching "Want Not."
Bookish: What are you most excited for about "Want Not"?
Jonathan Miles: I'm most excited to be finished with it. Writing this thing was like climbing a big mountain of razor blades naked. So the fact that it's a finished beast is an incredible pleasure. It's such a different creature than "Dear American Airlines," so I don't know what to expect.
Bookish: Do you have scars from that mountain of razor blades?
JM: Oh, yes. There is this idea that writing is supposed to be enjoyable--and it can be. For me, it's not terribly enjoyable most of the time. Maybe one out of 30 days you hit that little zone, that little space where things converge and you can sit for 12 hours and feel that no time has passed. So rare and beautiful, and [it's] enough to keep you going. That's enough to make it addictive. As for scars, I don't think [I have] any more than anybody else has.
Bookish: "Dear American Airlines" was written as an angry passenger's screed. Was there a big idea behind "Want Not"?
JM: The book has as its idea: trash. Having three children, I made great mountains of trash, and trash had become a significant portion of my life. I began thinking about ecological ramifications and [about how] I'm putting my trash next to other people's trash. I'm reading these little dossiers about these people through what they dispose of, and I'm thinking: This stuff tells stories. I can create whole characters just out of discards.
I was puzzled by trash as well. Taking the New Jersey transit train, you go through those little valleys, and the trackside is just strewn with all sorts of random trash--couches, bicycles and all that stuff. I don't understand it. I don't understand where it comes from, what the story is and how that couch ended up being thrown onto the trackside. So, I started spinning these stories in my head about where this stuff came from.
Bookish: Did you physically go through other people's garbage?
JM: Yes. It's fun. I highly recommend it.
Bookish: What are some of the things you discovered?
JM: All sorts of things I could've used for identity theft, and may have, but I can't confess. Some of the most interesting stuff I did was to spend a little time with the "freegan" community in New York, who eat out of [others'] trash as a philosophical statement. That took a little bit of courage the first time--eating out of a black trash bag.
Bookish: You did?
JM: Oh yeah. Bagels, mostly. There was one guy who would wait outside delis--the big delis where they have like 200 different dishes in those steam pans from all over the world--and at the end of the shift, they tend to just dump them all into one bag, which is horrid. But he would eat out of that, his reasoning being that it all ends up together in your stomach anyway. That's a tougher muscle than I have.
Bookish: Did the freegans you met have philosophical or economic reasons for eating rubbish?
JM: Both, and they were intertwined. The philosophical idea that really grabbed me about this was the idea of going off the grid--just disappearing--and how difficult that's become in our day and age. Just a generation ago, you could [disappear] in Alaska. Now, there is no place off the grid. There is no frontier left in the world. You can't disappear. So, what do you do to go off the grid? The only thing you can do to make yourself untraceable, to remove yourself from society, is to stop spending money. That's where you're tracked. To opt out of capitalism is really the only way to be off the grid in this day and age. [Freegans] are as off the grid as you can be.
That's what really fascinated me about these two characters as they developed, Talmadge and Micah, in the novel--Micah's father tried to go off the grid in the old-fashioned way, building a cabin Appalachia. That didn't work out very well. Now, she's trying to go off the grid in a different way, which is to completely drop out of the economy.
Bookish: By dropping out of the economy, you're also dropping out of citizenship, right? If you're not voting, you don't own property, you don't get governmental services like health care….
JM: Theoretically, yes. This is one of the problems of going off the grid, and why many people come back to the grid: That kind of absolutism is very difficult to make endurable, to make sustainable. The grid has its claws.
Bookish: Did you meet people who had succeeded in doing this? Did they feel freer to you, or did they feel more constrained?
JM: Both. Some did feel freer. Some really seemed to have a kind of philosophically idyllic existence, in that they didn't need employment. To go back to the question about economics, they could scavenge out of dumpsters, in front of grocery stores, squat and have a kind of untethered existence. Others seemed to be driven by an ideology, however noble. Any ideology tends to be a psychic job--it tends to be psychological work. So, they didn't seem too free, to answer your question.
Bookish: Did you invite your family to join you in any of these experiments?
JM: I asked my wife, but that was instantly shot down: no interest. But my kids were fascinated by it.
Jonathan Miles is a true chronicler of the modern human condition in a smart, accessible and utterly original way. His first book, "Dear American Airlines," was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. A former columnist for the New York Times, he serves as a contributing editor to a number of publications including Field & Stream and Details, and writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


A reader of my blog has created this excellent short film for a contest and has asked me to share it with all of you. So give it a watch and share it around! Good luck, Lucia!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Resource

Sometimes I feel bad that I do not post on this blog like I used to. But we all move on from different things. However I will always have this blog as a proud possession.

Even though I do not update it very often, I am happy to have it available as a resource for people interested in Freeganism and other forms of alternate living. The pictures and information on this blog are available to all who want to use them as educational tools.

Peace out.