As I am often fond of doing, I will begin this contribution bringing to attention to the concept of the theme that I am discussing and that is: sobriety.
In the traditional dictionaries or online, we find the following definition: character or quality of who or what is sober, he who controls himself; and continuing in the specification of the term we find: elimination, especially if luxurious or exaggerated, of the superfluous and a return to what is essential; simplicity.
The aim of this article regards the necessity to make a substantial reflection on our lifestyles.
We all notice how hard it is for this society to find solutions and new ways to resolve or to overcome the great emergencies of this time.
We are often so busy looking to find those responsible for this ecological, social and economic disaster that by always looking away from us we hardly find time to reflect.
Reflection seems to have become one of the least practiced activities; yet it is from here that we have to start in order to reconstruct everything. Revolutionizing ourselves.
The departure point is that of sobriety: this quality that is only human by choice but is universal in the real state. Looking back on the definitions we can say that sobriety is the ability to control oneself, the elimination of what is superfluous, a return to what is essential; simplicity. Perhaps all of this is the contrary of the qualities of our life, of our society, of our way of being and of our way of intending our social activities; from Science to Politics. Today nothing or almost nothing is sober; indeed, the paradigm that has become second nature to us in the last half century has been that of consumerism; of exasperated productivity; of the impoverishment of the resources; of the exploitation of the weak and of their children. The wealth (fictitious) of this world (or only of a part of this) has been built on a series of unfair and irresponsible activities. Yet still today, although the scenario is before each one of us, we hear speak of an increase in consumption, an increase in agricultural and industrial productivity, a rise in the retirement age, a rise in the taxation system, etc. It is an insane rush comparable to that of a skier who launches himself in a descent without any control or possibility of stopping; he has two options: to keep on descending faster and faster, until he still has a slope to go down, crashing against the first real obstacle, or to decide to throw himself to the ground, hoping to receive the smallest number of fractures.
The error which has led to this dangerous descent was born with the industrial revolution, when someone theorized the hypothesis of an assembly line, both mechanical and social, to increase the availability of goods.
This social model has generated the great employment aggregates, large-scale assembly lines, large-scale systems of distribution, great organizational aggregates, on the one hand, destroying human identities and on the other, harming the resources of the planet with their entropic load.
Consequent to this hyper-production and availability of (non-renewable) resources, social lifestyles have been radically transformed and changed, so much so as to create an “addiction” on this drugged and corrupted system.
When we contest modern Governments, which increase taxes or formulate manoeuvres of debatable economic improvement, we are right to do so, but we do not reflect on the fact that part of the evil is inside us and in our habits.
We have to re-attune ourselves to the order and the style of the universe.
Think of how an atom, a cell, tissue, a living being, an ecosystem is organized. Everything is based on small units and on their sharing; everything is sober and gradual; everything is linked; everything is supportive.
There is no point in producing more on farms when every year we lose land because of the process of desertification or we abandon whole territories for lack of economic convenience. There is no point in producing, in a disposable style, only for the benefit of maintaining and increasing the wealth of the large economic groups. There is no point in accelerating the skier’s descent if he will have to suddenly stop, and we do not know with what consequences. Sobriety is the essence of matter, of Life. It is the real principle which is fundamental for the social and ecological sustainability of life. Our ancestors and the real economy have taught us that saving, essentiality, simplicity, were at the base of the wealth of men and of a people. Someone has wanted to rewrite the rules but that someone was not at the service of man but in the pockets of the speculators and liars that tried to contaminate the hearts and the lives of men in every century.
It is not true that decreasing consumption will cause this world to regress. This is also a falsehood sold as truth by the usual unscrupulous corruptors. Try, as you run, to decrease your speed; it does not seem to me that anyone has ever died from it: you will have relief from it, along with greater breath, the ability to reflect and liberty. The gaze you direct towards the horizon will give you the possibility to organize your life better, along with that of others.
It is true, many equilibriums will change; people who work for large economic groups will be sacked, aggregates at work will change, as will the distribution of work itself, we will have to return to the only sober economy: microeconomics (craftsmanship, agriculture, small-scale services, etc.). We cannot eliminate the fractures (remember the skier) but there can be no other way. Any other road is not in favour of man, but against him.
Have a good revolution and watch out for the enemy!