From hashtags to our interpretations.

What’s up with those hashtags? Why #deconsumption, #livenatural and #offthegrid?

These are some easy concepts to start you off on your path to consumer disobedience and activism. Remember, it's definitely not about doing everything perfectly (#perfectionnotrequired) but about slowly and comfortably adopting a new mindset.

In the lines below, we elaborate a bit more on the philosophy and backdrop of these ideas. We are motivated to direct your attention beyond the narrow paradigm that has been laid out for us all.

It is our goal to give you more focus on how you can resist some of the powers that control us, without too much effort. But you will need to believe in change and how vital even your infinitesimal influence can be. And you will need to let go of certain things that you have come to take for granted. Because we have been gravely misled.

 
 

Are we still citizens?

It all boils down to the fact that finance and economy rule the planet and we, in our role as citizens, feel powerless to oppose these forces. In our capacity as citizens all tools have been exhausted and worn down. Voting and protesting are proving ever more useless and the once eminent power of the unions has been completely undermined (in part by their own misconduct and corruption, but there are definitely strong lobbying powers that have nudged them on the way). Our citizen tools of influence have no more meaning. That is why we feel so powerless to oppose those higher forces.
 
 

Are our lives still natural?

We are not a decadent species by nature. But we do have a (sub)conscious psyche and hormonal biology that is more tailored to an environment (prehistoric, yes) where we needed to respond strongly to certain stimuli in order to survive. Letting these stimuli run freely in an unfit environment is not a good idea.
 
 

We are reduced to being just consumers, and worse!

A bit of dirty word: consumer. It feels degrading to be referred to in these terms because it comes very close to being a sheer commodity (which we certainly are in the eyes of the elite). But in these troubled waters, is where we can find our biggest leverage. All industry (meaning finance, market and economy) wants is our compliant and highly recurrent consumption. That is how the model works. So all we need to do - if only it were as simple as I’m about to describe it - is to reduce our consumption to a comfortable minimum, whereas now it is mostly in the ranges of luxury and decadence. Buying less, actually gives us more power. And vice versa.
 
 

What is natural for us?

To rediscover our more natural state, it is important to look at and beyond the flowing currents of discrimitation and dissociation. These sweeping rivers are flowing on riverbeds that are actually strikingly similar, wherever you look. Meaning that underneath all those layers of artificially amplified differences, humans have highly similar needs, contrary to what their leaders, industry moguls and religious icons want them to believe.
 
 

Accountability as a tool

Is all of this our ‘fault’? No, it is not even our responsibility to manage these impulses better. It should be your elected government’s charge. But since they have been in bed with the industry for over a 100 years, more openly so since the Reagan years, I believe we should not hope for any more help from that side. There has been an active policy to desocialise us. To pull us apart. To divide us.
 
 

Critical mass

Our little ray of hope lies in the specific points of control we still have over our consumption. The way we consume can greatly impact industry, which in turn can impact policy to our advantage. We don’t need everyone to be perfect all the time. You are free to participate and contribute within the bounds of your comfort. We just hope to inspire you to reevaluate those limits on occasion.

Momentum for change can only be created by the sum of all our small steps, until we reach critical mass and can no longer be ignored. Some have the means and strength to go far in their commitment and delivery, others just listen to the music. It’s not a contest, it all helps. 

Deconsumption is a term that we will use frequently to describe the various aspects of our behaviour as consumers, where we may exert some influence still. Deconsumption is a string of consequences that start from our own behaviour but is guided by principles such as: ecology, sustainability, fair trade, community, ...

 
 

How do we start deconsuming and inspire each other in the process?

buy less: this is the main directive, I guess. All the others below are just colours for this outline. Can we take pride in minimalism? Can we be creative and express our individuality without buying more shit? Can we make stuff? Repurpose it? Mend it? Share it? …
 
 

What if you want to be a bit naughtier?

If being just a deconsumer is a little ‘light’ for you, you are free to extend your activities to consumer disobedience. I’m sure you can find many ways to stick it to the man.
 
 

What if you are so angry you need to act?

A friend of mine said it more extremely than I can openly advocate, but I want to share his sentiment anyway because it is part of this community.
 
 

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So we are oversimplifying things, for argument’s sake. Obviously, there is far greater complexity in the way our society is organised. People and lives are at the heart of it. But high at the top, something totally different is operating. Something deeply inhumane. A monster that needs our compliance and will go to great lengths to keep us occupied, confused, dependent and afraid of change.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s some Doctor Evil-like omnipotent psychopath, an alien cross-breed shadow elite or mere human individualistic ambition multiplied by opportunity. The fact is, that these mechanisms are very real, widely permeated and doing their corruptive work. Successfully!

 
 

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The original project in 2001 (.calibre) was based around unveiling the grand structures that dominate and manipulate our behaviours. It expressed our feelings of outrage and revolt.

We tried to translate the words of some far more intelligent people to a wider audience. Hoping that some or many of you would gain more insight into how these mechanisms of control are conducted. And maybe some of you have even taken some individual steps to better shield your own life against those influences in the past 20 years.

 
 

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