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I think it is about time to revisit this topic casually. There is a lot of misunderstanding and, frankly, weirdness, when we have visitors outside of the off-grid/simplicity/subsistence community. Opinions and interpretations are like beards. Not everyone’s got it, but those who do won’t admit that theirs frequently has some pastry crumbs in it. So let’s look at the meaning of it all and be honest about everyone’s differing view on understanding self-reliance and simplicity.

Man standing by roasting pigs by Sebastian Sørensen at Pexels

Every life is different, guy.

Your idea of simplicity and self-reliance definitely and hopefully diverges from mine. If we shared the same vision and direction of what a simple and harmonized life should be, we would have conflicts over property, projects, products and processes. Simplicity is the philosophy of accepting and appreciating having just the required amount of things to live a life. Having nothing more than the needed shows that one can use everything he owns for its actual purpose and utilising it entirely. The less you have, the less you need to maintain, fix and replace. Less consumption means less pollution, less waste and less expenditure. Fewer means more, more savings, more time, more health and more room for new projects.

Self-reliance is possible for everyone and anyone

Self reliance, however, is a different beast altogether. It is a deep-rooted concept that touches on how you think, work, sleep and live. Look at the words, self reliance. Relying on yourself, relying on your community. People probably mostly used to be self-reliant back in time, but those skills have gone to waste on the conveniences of modern life. These conveniences have made us alarmingly dependent on easy money, easy food, turning taps to get water, phoning friends for help and putting our confidence entirely on a very fragile system. Economies are fragile, abused, inflated. Water systems are starting to either run dry or polluted. Food supplies are hanging on a thread as big-agri is buckling. Politics are trying to control everyone into the weak, easy-life because tax payers keep them afloat. Tongue in cheek, maybe, but we are looking at a creepy future.

Rely on your abilities

Self reliance isn’t about being a fierce dude with an axe and the ability to slay a crocodile at close range. Self reliance is the ability to depend on your own physical and mental capabilities to perform the tasks needed to live a good life. Have you changed your own tyre recently, or did you call the guy? Do you know anyone who fixed his own roof in recent years, or did he call the guy? Being able to gain knowledge every day about something new that enables you to say “I did this myself”, is an impressive achievement. Growing your own vegetables is a major step in self reliance. Repairing your own plumbing, building your own tools, and getting things done is another. Self reliance is truly a confidence building strategy, trusting your own abilities fully.

Think about this, think what self-reliance really means, and try to put your ingrained sensitivities aside (or in the bin where they belong). We have become to reliant on others to spoonfeed us everything. As the power goes out, we have nothing to do, no TV, no phones. The water mains shut off and we are furious and unable to shower. The liquor shops close and life almost stops. It’s pitiful, almost. That sort of life is not one of self-reliance, it is one of dependence and addiction. It makes us softer and slower than our adversaries because it turns us into prey. Are you still thinking about where this is going?

A box under the bridge – simplicity?

What we are saying is simply to stop and think. Try understanding self-reliance and simplicity. Stop wasting, stop the excess, save more money, save time, spend more time with your family. Do more of what you want to do, and less of what you need to do. Have a plan, learn new skills, let go of the comforts that put you on a couch all night and behind an eye-roasting computer monitor all day. Sit down and think about what you can do, what you want to do, and what you would love to achieve in your life. Think about the surplus of redundant things, expenses and experiences you don’t really need. The ones that leave no life altering improvements, the ones that leave regrets, ill health and toxic relationships. These are the things we can go without.

Living a simple, self-reliant life will lead to a healthier body and mind, self respect, self-confidence and a toolbox of knowledge to tackle any task.

Too short, didn’t read

So, if you still don’t understand self-reliance, simplicity or true human freedom, then relax.
Try reading some of these, instead:

Thanks for reading. As always, I intended this article to provoke some thought, not to incite resentment. Sometimes I think it becomes essential to break away from the customary writing, and just concentrate on some firmer opinion posts. Give me a shout in the comments on your thoughts, share some examples of where simplicity and self-reliance could solve issues we face.

Stay sharp and healthy.

Marlon van der Linde

Author Marlon van der Linde

A land steward in forever training, figuring out self reliance, subsistence and simplicity in the Karoo wilderness. Searching for balance, abundance and sense in a shrinking world. Marlon is a skilled software developer, electronics enthusiast and enjoys his metal, electronic music and rock. Hailing from the Freestate, now lost in the hills of the arid Karoo, keeping it real (apparently).

More posts by Marlon van der Linde

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