A phrase has occurred to me over and over again in different contexts and about different things. It is “the way we organize ourselves.” Economics is just that, “the way we organize ourselves,” our societies and systems of governance. “The way we organize ourselves.” What we don’t often recognize is that these are choices we make every day. We can’t simply choose for the world to be other than it is, but we sure as hell choose to go along with it or not.
I watched Revolutionary Road recently and this is what hit me most. We are the choices we make, both collectively and individually. Those who are brave enough to walk the revolutionary road open up new paths and possibilities for us to walk down. The tragedy is that it takes such enormous strength for those who sense something is not quite right to make a break with the flow of culture and society. The pressure to conform and not rock the boat is tremendous.
Why is that some choose to make a break with the mainstream? Why do some take an unconventional path? Who are these deviants, willing to forgo the affirmation of friends and neighbors? There seems to be something just a little off about those who are willing to disturb and discomfort others. Like the prophets willing to eat scrolls, lie naked on their sides or create a spectacle of themselves to shed light on the lunacy of our lives, some of us are unwilling to accept the world as it is simply in order to live the life we’ve been sold.
Our good friend James Nors, who runs a raw milk dairy down the road in Abbott, TX, is one such non-conformist. He doesn’t fit the mold of a punk. He looks more like your typical farmer than anything else. He wears a mesh baseball cap with some tractor logo on it. He grew up as a dairy farmer. It’s in his blood, he’d say. Somewhere along the way he was introduced to the Weston A. Price Foundation and began to wonder if he could make a living as a raw dairy farmer.
People in town thought he was crazy when they found out. He had stepped outside the circle of what was acceptable. When people do that they challenge the status quo and upset the balance that allows everyone else to continue living as if this is the way it is supposed to be. It turns out that he wasn’t the only one that thought “the way we organize ourselves” wasn’t working so well. He now sells raw milk, free range eggs and heritage breed turkeys directly from his farm. Co-ops from Waco and the Dallas/Fort Worth Area pick up milk every other week or once a month. He sells out of everything he produces.
That’s exactly why it didn’t work out for the couple in the movie. They went it alone. Trying to take on on entire culture, system or “way of organizing ourselves” alone is the definition of madness. BUT when you realize that there are others like you, a whole lot of others, suddenly trying to find a new way to organize life together seems, not only possible, but the only sane option in a crazy world.
May you find others to walk with you on your revolutionary road.