Culture Shock

I went from small town villages with horse and cart to a toxic world where brand names rule, where people are selfish and drivers rude, where TV fills the space where one could be apreciating nature or doing other healthy pursuits, where there is constant noise and an insane busy-ness, for fear that we might get caught thinking thoughts that were meaningful. This is the transition from Transylvania back into the Western world. I couldn´t even do laundry for the chemicals in the laundry detergent.

I realize now that I am experiencing quite a culture shock. And it is very much tied to the different versions of agriculture. This toxic way of living very much supports industrial agriculture, the destruction of our environment and the ill health of our bodies. There is not a moment in all the busy-ness to realize or even care about the effects of what we are doing – its just pure consumption and destruction. Do parents realize that for the first time ever in human history, “the next generation will have a shorter lifespan and poorer health than ever before?” (Hume, Gord. The Local Food Revolution: Municipal World Inc. Ontario. 2010).

A biologist looks on, as his new foal feeds from her working mother
A biologist looks on, as his new foal feeds from her working mother

In Transylvania, I spent my time with people who all had similar principles to mine, from food to farming lifestyles and so many other things. There was no pop (Pop kills- if you don’t believe me, read some of the child statistics on diabetes. 1 in 5 children entering kindergarden is fat). There was no TV. There were no kids glooed to an altered world through social media and ipods. There were fewer buildings and billboards and more natural landscapes. There was less stuff and more local food. Everyone knew someone who farmed, because really, don’t we all need food?

Hardest of all is that I have gone from interesting agricultural scenes to the dull back and forth of a tractor on a field, doing the same thing all day. Is this farming? Or is this about the same as driving a bus? A bus needs to be driven with care for all the passengers and the driver must be attentive and follow lines. How different is this for the farmer?

I’ve stepped up into these new video arcade like combines; I have also seen a young child still with a soother (maybe 2?) fully able to operate a computer. I am not downplaying the intelligence of the farmer, but I do question whether s/he is still farming.

draft horses

The excitement that comes with producing food is suddenly gone. Farmers in the western world are no longer immersed in farming with a connection to the land or partaking in husbandry (I have seen chores for 60 animals take less than 5 minutes). We just skim over the surface now of that which is farming. Once, we knew every animal and worked close with the soil.

Published by Kaytlyn Creutzberg, BSc, NSch, MA

#SayItLikeItIs: Kaytlyn writes not only about applying a spiritual care therapeutic model to farming, but also how collective cultural narratives impact the choices we make that result in a pervasive "don't care" attitudinal construct towards Earth and Her landscapes. (formerly Gayl)

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