cycles and various kingdoms that God has created to live on this planet, such as the insect, plant, and animal kingdoms. God then made his master work, man, in his likeness and image, to be the master of all the earth. Man was then given a divine mandate to subdue and rule over all of earth's creation using all of his human faculties. Even so, it was to be understood that mankind was (and still is) interdependent on God himself, and also upon his natural creation. We are also interdependent upon each other through fellowship.
A fellowship, in case you're wondering, is a group of people who forge a strong bond by working in cooperation together, through good and bad times to achieve a common goal, without losing their sense of self. I am not by any means advocating communism, which preaches about the collective. You can be interdependent without sacrificing your individuality of will and purpose. And the very first interdependent fellowship, or building block of society, is really the family unit. Father. Mother. Siblings. Individuals whose independent intelligent thoughts and ideas work for the common good, under the headship of the patriarch. This model seems contradictory, but then again, paradoxes seem to be just that - contradictory. I could write volumes about how "the powers that be" have worked tirelessly to destroy the family unit, but that's for another time. Anyway, I think Princess Diana is right to an extent. The most important thing in the world is the family!
In regards to homesteading, usually, large families were a blessing and helped make a homestead work easier. As the saying goes, "many hands make light work." But on the other hand, a large family could be a detriment if the quality of the land, and other resources, such as livestock, water, and trees, were not ample enough or able to help support them. And so, homesteaders eventually developed into homesteading communities out of necessity. Communities, in which each individual family worked together in the spirit of being a good neighbor toward other homesteaders, was the neighborly attitude that helped build and support their growing community. Now seriously, I'm certainly not talking about a hippy commune, okay? Hippy communes share far too much with each other, if you get my meaning. And again, I'm not talking about communism either, which is another Utopian ideal that only works beautifully on paper, and not in real life application, which whenever applied, always results in social/ economic disaster!
After giving much thought and starting to write this post, I think it is ironic that a nation that prides itself on its "independence" also has the word, "United" in its name. Yet another paradox for us to ponder. I think, perhaps, that we Americans are really more united in our distorted definition of "independence." And perhaps we need to consider the reality that the only being in this universe that is completely and truly "independent" is the Almighty. So, anyone selling the ideals of total "independence" and complete "self-reliance" are, I feel, really selling godhood.
Now even though we human beings do require some "alone time" to help keep our sanity, we are not meant to be entirely isolated, which can also result in the losing of ones marbles. Nor were we meant to be entirely "self" oriented beings; as that mentality, according to Scripture, also gets us into lots o'trouble. Eventually, at some point, we all need something, or someone to help us survive and live good lives. Besides, logically speaking, no one, and nothing is an island unto him, or, 'itself'.
Consider The Lone Ranger. Was he really alone? No, he had Tonto and his faithful steed, Silver. What about Grizzly Adams? He had Mad Jack, Ben the grizzly bear, and Nacoma to help him survive the rigors of the wilderness. Hmm... it seems that Hollyweird likes the idea of pitting the combination of a single white male, a strong animal, and a Native American against the wilderness, and evil people. Anyway...really, "self"-reliance is yet another Utopian misnomer. Even survivalists should realize this. I mean really, did they learn all their survival skills strictly by trial and error on their own, or did they learn most of their skills from someone who learned them from someone else? While struggling through their own survival situation, did the weather and fortune work in their favor while they made their way back to civilization? If so, then who, or what provided those things? The good Lord, or dumb luck? Our survival depends on many things that are out of our control, and not just on our own know-how that we received from generations past.
Even so, we can and do learn and acquire information on our own through the human rite of intellectual reasoning, and the not so fun act of trial and error. Personally, that is not my favorite way of learning, but it can be highly effective. And, if we live long enough, then it is in our nature to, in one way or another, pass that hard won information on to others. That way, no one has to reinvent the wheel, unless of course, they really want to. There is a wise saying that goes something like this: "A wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a genius learns from the mistakes of others." The Bible also has much to say about the subject of self-sufficiency, if we care to look and glean from its pages. As it is written in 2 Corinthians 3:5 "not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God;" Just think about that. Our sufficiency, or competency, or ability to do anything, is from God! That doesn't mean we are robots, he did make us in his own image after all, we each have our own capacity of intelligent thought and the ability to act upon those thoughts.
Our pioneering ancestors understood that their posterity, their future, depended largely upon their own competency (they had from God), the cooperation of the people who lived with and around them, and many of them looked to God himself for help with supplying their daily needs. God and man working together to bring about a good end. Thus I give you what homesteading should really be about: God-dependency, and inter-dependency, not merely the worldly and skewed sense of "self"-sufficiency. Next I will be examining the aspects of cooperation and compromise with in the art and science of homesteading.