Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Severinian

Living off the grid

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I'm currently living in a condo in an urban area, but I fantasize about living "off the grid" when the time comes for upgrading to my own house. By that, I don't mean living in a primitive house with no electricity like a hippie, but just a house without reliance on public piping, electric cables, etc. Also, no immediate neighbours. Maybe even a spot where it's possible to grow food, even though I might not do that, so long as I can buy it from the grocery store.

Now, of course, this is a bit unpractical, since it will be more expensive and one can't have shops, malls and so on in the immediate vicinity, so I'm wondering what the psychological cause of this desire is? Do you have any ideas? Is it irrational? 

When reading The Fountainhead, I got the feeling that there were some clues about this, with Dominique and Wynand both desiring places where Roark or Wynand's house could be untouched by the world, etc. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This story ran recently in my local area. Why this Grass Lake family lives off the grid.

Excerpt:

It’s a way of life Joe and Shelly dreamed of together when they met as students, studying abroad in Scotland.

Neither grew up on farms, but both had an interest in living a sustainable lifestyle, something a growing number of Americans share, millennials in particular.

While Grass Lake is decidedly rural, it would mean planned shopping trips, They heat with wood, probably have well water, and the article describes some of the concerns using a solar powered electrical system.

The article does not have much on the psychological aspect. There is a focus in news stories talking about sustainable vs. unsustainable practices to many things. One appeal may be a sense of self-sufficiency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Severinian said:

... I'm wondering what the psychological cause of this desire is?

Like the fun in going camping with minimal supplies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Severinian,

 If living in a dwelling separated from society truly makes you happy, I would say it's psychologically right for you. It is the pursuit of your happiness. As for a psychological cause for this desire, hominids survived for ages venturing out into unknown territories, but usually as groups. Certainly there must have been some of our ancestors who preferred solitude over community. I don't think it is an unusual desire. However, as you've said, it may be impractical.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2015 at 7:09 AM, Repairman said:

Severinian,

 If living in a dwelling separated from society truly makes you happy, I would say it's psychologically right for you.

Just because something seems nice to you doesn't mean it's right. What a bizarre statement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, epistemologue said:

Just because something seems nice to you doesn't mean it's right. What a bizarre statement.

If someone told me that they wanted to dance around a fire naked and howl at the moon, I would think that person may have a psychological problem. Encouraging this person to engage in such behavior would, indeed, be bizarre. In this case the person merely wishes to keep his human interacts to a minimum. Such a wish in not right for most people, but I don't judge others by the behavior of the majority.  Severinian would be do no harm anyone else, and if he is capable of such an existence. In any case, there's nothing wrong with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2015 at 2:09 PM, Repairman said:

Severinian,

 If living in a dwelling separated from society truly makes you happy, I would say it's psychologically right for you.

OP never claimed that living seperated from society "truly makes him happy". In fact, he said he never actually tried it.

And even if something does "truly make you happy", does that really mean it's right?

1 hour ago, Repairman said:

If someone told me that they wanted to dance around a fire naked and howl at the moon, I would think that person may have a psychological problem. Encouraging this person to engage in such behavior would, indeed, be bizarre. In this case the person merely wishes to keep his human interacts to a minimum. Such a wish in not right for most people, but I don't judge others by the behavior of the majority.  Severinian would be do no harm anyone else, and if he is capable of such an existence. In any case, there's nothing wrong with it.

I don't agree with your reasoning. You say that one action is bizarre and the other isn't, and you attempt two arguments to back up that claim:

1. You claim that the former action is a sign of a psychological problem. I am aware of no scientific study linking dancing around a fire and howling at the Moon with any mental illness...so where are you getting this from?

2. you argue that the latter action doesn't hurt anyone...but neither does the former, and, besides, that's not the litmus test for right or wrong, so how is that an argument?.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nicky,

 The argument I am making, on behalf of Severinian, is that he has no apparent psychological defect merely for holding a desire to find solitude. I will admit that I may have been in error for framing my rebuttal as a (false) choice between one unusual desire over that of another, that choice being living as recluse over dancing naked around a fire and howling at the moon. For a modern man, the choice between living among within the confines of civilization, rather than abandoning it, seems pretty obvious: I'll take living with my job, neighbors, and all of the conveniences and burdens that come along with it. I would point out that the quest for solitude is more acute for some people, and less so in others. Furthermore, I will admit that I am no expert on the subject of psychology, but if a modern man genuinely felt compelled to dance around a fire and howl at the moon, that is one modern man that I will try to avoid at all costs. No litmus test; merely a matter of preference. If you know of anyone who has been raised in a home with a furnace, running water, a solid roof, and knows how to drive car, and in addition to that he or she wishes to dance naked around a fire and howl at the moon, perhaps you can judge their sanity for yourself. Basically, I was defending the rationale behind my statement. I hope this clears it up.

Severinian,

 I don't know what really motivates you to desire to remove yourself from the mainstream of society, and I doubt if it will truly make you happy. But if for some reason you feel that it would, I want you to know that it has been a common trait for men (and women) to seek solitude throughout the ages. I am of the opinion that you have no clinical problem, but of course you may seek another opinion.

happiness,

Silly or not, if it makes the man happy and cause no harm, it is his choice to make.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/23/2015 at 8:40 PM, Repairman said:

Nicky,

 The argument I am making, on behalf of Severinian, is that he has no apparent psychological defect merely for holding a desire to find solitude.

I agree, Severinian has no apparent psychological defect. He also has no apparent physical defect. There's no apparent sign he has AIDS, cancer, mental illness or any other problems, psychological or physical.

Then again, all that means absolutely nothing...because if he had any of those illnesses, there still wouldn't be any apparent signs...on account that he's a total stranger, typing on a keyboard somewhere.

So why are you giving a stranger you've never met or seen not only a clean bill of health, but assurances that his choices are "psychologically right", over the Internet. Do you REALLY KNOW that his choice to move off the grid would be "psychologically right"?

On 12/23/2015 at 8:40 PM, Repairman said:

Furthermore, I will admit that I am no expert on the subject of psychology, but if a modern man genuinely felt compelled to dance around a fire and howl at the moon, that is one modern man that I will try to avoid at all costs.

If a person "feels compelled" to do anything, there's something wrong with them. But you only now brought "feeling compelled" into this. Before, you just said that they wanted to do it, not that they felt compelled to do it.

On 12/23/2015 at 8:40 PM, Repairman said:

happiness,

Silly or not, if it makes the man happy and cause no harm, it is his choice to make.

No one called into question whether it's his choice to make. The issue in question is whether it's the right or wrong choice.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nicky,

I never recommended Severinian to act in any manner. In fact, in my initial statement, I suggested that it was impractical to "go off the grid." The notion of withdrawing from society is not, by itself, wrong. Nor is it an indication of any psychological problem. If a problem in fact exists, I suggested he get another opinion. To be sure, I could get a great deal of information from any number of sources, and I would never be able to determine if it is the right choice for anyone. That choice could only be made for the individual, by the individual. And I know a number of people who've expressed a desire to go off into the wilderness and "live off of the land." And while I don't know of any who have actually done that, I don't know if that choice would be wrong for them, either. In any case, "if it truly makes you happy," is the optimal phrase in my initial comment. If it does not make him truly happy, simply enough then don't do it. It is an impractical idea. To the people I've met that fantasize about going back to nature, I tell them that it is impractical, although not impossible. None that I know of have gone entirely "off the grid", but at least one has achieved a fair measure of autonomy, in addition to his tranquility. Yet there are people who have done it, and if it makes them truly happy, does it really matter whether it is impractical or not? It makes them truly happy. And that's all that matters to them.

So, can we agree that my comment:

On 12/20/2015 at 6:09 AM, Repairman said:

Severinian,

 If living in a dwelling separated from society truly makes you happy, I would say it's psychologically right for you. It is the pursuit of your happiness. As for a psychological cause for this desire, hominids survived for ages venturing out into unknown territories, but usually as groups. Certainly there must have been some of our ancestors who preferred solitude over community. I don't think it is an unusual desire. However, as you've said, it may be impractical.

is in itself not an argument? It is a reply to a question. I never said Severinian is psychologically right. Neither did I say he is psychologically wrong. You're making this into something it's not. The defense of my statement, in rebuttal to epistemologue, has been at the center of this discourse. It may have been poorly constructed, I'll grant you that. But, I maintain the position that Severinian can do what ever Severinian wishes, within his own honest and rational judgement. As for judging my initial comment, what is so "bizarre" about it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×