Lewis Herridge, Contributor
The dictionary definition of resourceful is as follows; Able to act effectively or imaginatively, especially in difficult situations. It is also closely connected to the words ingenious, ingenuity and inventiveness. All words of which, describe the power of creative imagination, a characteristic that defines our very human experience. It is the ability to use our hands and mind together and is something that no other creature has.
We all have this innate skill that is built into our very psyche. It is as natural as the earth beneath our feet, our ancient ancestors were the masters of this art, and many people worldwide are still in possession of these skills and ways of thinking; particularly those amongst indigenous people and in ‘developing’ countries. Mother Nature even shows fantastic signs of this through her ability to adapt to the harshest environments.
Having recently returned from my third trip to Uganda in East Africa, it has become abundantly clear that the average Ugandan has a far greater ability to be resourceful than the majority of the material grabbing Western world. Particularly those in rural Uganda who make up 84.4% (29.2million) of the 34.7 Million population. Compared with 20% (12.6million) who live in rural UK (total population = 63.3million).
Many of these are self-sufficient in the sense that they require very little outside assistance. Every family grows much of their own food; they keep cows, goats and chickens. They cook using firewood from specially grown eucalyptus trees and occasionally traded charcoal. Many houses are small one or two roomed mud huts, of which the bricks are handmade, kiln dried mud often from their doorstep. It is common to see food such as maize, cassava (yam) or coffee scattered outside, drying in the sun for long term storage or to trade. It is not a surprise to see improvised clothing and shoes or see people carrying water containers (on their head) using well folded banana leaves to protect their head. Look a little closer and you will see people making fishing nets, or fixing cars or tools. As a result, they automatically recycle most things, as somehow someone finds a use for it, to help make their life just that little bit more comfortable.
Their society, laden with problems from HIV, malaria, poor education and a violent political history all contribute to instability but I would argue that our good old friend in the form of worthless paper printed currency is the major culprit. The average Ugandan scratches a living on a measly $2 per day (£1.25). Families are often large and this does not go far. The average Ugandan has a very tough life; in a way that is un-heard of in the western world. However, their resourcefulness shines through.
So why does this matter? Well, apart from the injustice of millions of human beings living in squalor while we sit at home on our smart phones in blissful ignorance to the fact that we possess the technology, resources and knowhow to help these people. Or is it the fact that our supposedly elected governments spend trillions of pounds to wage un-justified conflicts in the name of peace that could be spent making peace.
Apart from these side notes and many more, we as a society have become useless consumers unable to provide for ourselves in any other way apart from throwing money at the situation. We have almost entirely lost our creative flair and our very resourcefulness.
Not long ago at one of my, unfortunately rare, visits to my grandparents’ house I found myself expressing my frustration at this topic. Perhaps not surprisingly in hindsight, they too had lots to say on the subject. Both of them are no strangers to a life of resourcefulness; Gran, a dab hand in the kitchen, able to produce prize worthy cakes, biscuits, jams, chutneys, pickles and other fantastic foods. Granddad; a carpenter by trade with a fully functioning workshop at the end of the garden and a house full of his own hand made tables, chairs and grandfather clocks. Furthermore they keep and maintain a large allotment where they produce many of their own goods.
We discussed how society now makes it very difficult to allow you to be resourceful as technology is advancing at an accelerating rate and one that encourages dependence rather than self-sufficiency. Computer technology makes it very difficult to do it yourself without the technical knowledge that the majority of the population does not possess. Corporations have cottoned on to this and now things are not built to last and you need a specialist to do the fixing, which obviously comes at a price!
The combination of technology and corporations have stolen our human resourcefulness as we are not learning how to do things, not encouraged to repair things and as a result we must therefore buy things from new.
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” came to mind, but perhaps more fittingly for our society is “if it ain’t new don’t use it!”
The conversation deepened and we began to discuss how the new generation has never experienced tough times and times of hardship. The cliché elder generation line of ‘during the war’ was then brought out! The war years (1939-45) saw families put on strict rations and were squeezed in ways that are unknown to us in today’s society.
This got me thinking; those generations were apt to a life of resourcefulness, they had the knowledge and skills in the general population and they lived in close communities to support each other. Much like you still see today in Uganda and other ‘developing’ countries. So, I asked myself, how would the new generation cope if it were squeezed in a similar fashion?
My answer unfortunately was not optimistic! I fear the new throwaway society would really struggle as we are simply not prepared. Our coffee drinking, McDonalds eating, entertainment driven, booze filled, desk bound 9-5ers do not possess the skills or the knowledge we once did. Currently in the UK we throw away 15 million tons of food every year (that’s about 40,000 fully loaded jumbo jets); teenagers spend an average of 7 hours 38 minutes per day (in 2010) wasting away on entertainment media (phones, computers, TV. etc.); many of us are purely consumers and do not produce anything; there are 534,000 people (less than 1% of the population) that farm our land (full and part time farmers) and sadly our sense of community is almost non-existent.
We have become dormant, docile and un-resourceful as a result of our consumer society that has encouraged dependency rather than self-sufficiency.
But this will never happen to us!? Surely we are beyond this… I can hear. Well, I’ve got some news for you. Firstly, unemployment is on the up, and now at 2.56 million people in the UK, 5.7 million people are on some form of benefits, the UK national dept is £1.2 Trillion and the US national dept is $17 trillion (which affects the world). So let me ask you, how long can this continue?
Furthermore, if you follow any type of news outside the manipulated, dumbed down mainstream media then you will know the razors edge that we live in. An impending worldwide financial collapse, the threat of terrorism (from governments), the on-going drama in the Middle East that threatens nuclear world war, the elites de-population plan from GMO, big pharma and food additives just to name a few. (If any of these subjects are new to you then I urge you look them up- they are serious!)
We are beginning to be squeezed and this is just the start. Your natural ingenuity in the form of resourcefulness wants to help and wants to be utilised. We humans are capable of some fantastic feats, particularly when we have our back up against the wall, so start using your resourcefulness straight away. Learn how things work, start using your hands in a practical manner, cook from scratch using basic ingredients, and learn how to sow, knit, whittle or grow your own food. Try and fix something that is broken yourself or repair something, anything. Start asking, do I really need something new? By doing this it allows you to be shrewd with money, gives you a great sense of gratification, it removes you from a state of dependence and allows you to enter into a state of self-sufficiency. It promotes positive thinking as everything becomes a resource and gives you a fresh determination. It gives you a connection with your natural state which can put you in better touch with who you really are and how the world works. All in all it puts you on the path to reclaim your sovereign nature that will be so important in time to come. In short, it starts to release the shackles that have been imposed on you.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” Albert Einstein
About the Author
Lewis Herridge is the founder of Re-Evolving Earth a socially aware organisation that educates people about their natural state; He believes that by using the principles of nature and of our past, we can all live happier, healthier and more contented lives and fast track our spiritual development. Please visit; http://www.re-evolvingearth.com/.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
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