We had never had any real conscious drive to self-sufficiency. We had thought, like a lot of other people, that it would be nice to grow our own vegetables. But living here has altered our sense of values. We find that we no longer place the same importance on artifacts and gadgets as other people do. Also, every time we buy some factory-made article, we wonder what sort of people made it – if they enjoyed making it or if it was just a bore – what sort of life the maker, or makers, lead.
I wonder where all this activity is leading. Is it really leading to a better or richer or simpler life for people? Or not? I wonder about the nature of progress. One can progress in so many different directions. Up a gum-tree, for example. I know that the modern factory worker is supposed to lead an ‘easier’ life than, say, the peasant. But I wonder if the supposition is correct. And I wonder if, whether ‘easier’ or not, it is a better life? Simpler? Healthier? More spiritually satisfying? Or not?
So as far as we can, we import our needs from small and honest craftsmen and tradesmen. We subscribe as little as we can to the tycoons, and the ad-men, and the boys with their expense accounts. If we could subscribe to nothing at all, we would be better pleased.
John Seymour, Fat of the Land, 1976.