21 June 2007

Freeganism

Check out this interesting article about freegans in the Times.

I am fascinated by aesceticism, but I don't trust it. What do you think?

6 Comments:

Blogger Dilettante Ventures said...

Ha - you don't trust anything! The article employed the usual "hypocritical" angle, attempting to diminish any potential ethical authority by pointing out that they weren't living COMPLETELY outside the market. Once again, the perfect is the enemy of the good...

21 June, 2007 09:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't think the article was that bad. It quotes the freegan's themselves owing up to the impossibilty of 'perfection' in their endeavour, and then moves on. If it really wanted to make them look bad, it would withhold statements like that, which reveal critical thinking on their part. It also profiles and quotes several articulate freegans, who, because of their former jobs and income, can't help but make the movement appear more legitimate to the average reader (sad maybe, but true). The whole thing has a wait and see tone, which is what I want from a newspaper. I don't want to read a rah-rah piece for the freegans any more than I want to hear that they are naive utopianists who will never amount to anything.
Yes, that "oh, if it's not everything than it's nothing" argument is stale as hell, but I think when Deborah says she doesn't trust ascetism, maybe she means the new rules that always accompany it, the incipient hierachies that are always there, waiting to emerge. The 'leader' of the movement says it's not enough for someone to be a vegan now. That we have to 'absent' ourselves from capitalism.' Is he aware of how utterly divisive and unproductive statements like that are? Would he judge the vegans I know (who have worked hard to stick to their guns over so many years) to be deluded fools who don't measure up to his hip new way of resistance? What about the thousands of organic farmers who have worked their asses off to make organic food (yes, a commodity! Gasp!) a viable option for people? Will they not be invited to the freegan parties (even though they might very well have provided the food, the suckers!)? Does he choose who is and who isn't up to snuff?
The problem is, they are building a way of life on the faultlines of the very system they want destroyed, like ants on the side of a jar. What happens when the jar cracks? No more food, no more movement. They should be supporting people who are trying to set up alternative, sustainable systems of food distribution, not licking the dregs of the old ones.

-JT

21 June, 2007 23:58  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

Hey DV, you're right! I don't trust anything :)

I would argue that freeganism is all about the perfect as the enemy of the good. The reason I don't trust ascetic behavior is (like JT described) it says no to what is actually going on and it's inherently unsustainable.

I would be blind not to see the beauty in the gesture, though.

22 June, 2007 06:13  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

Even St. Jerome recognized the arrogance and pride within the ascetic life - and he "invented" it!
now back to my cave...

22 June, 2007 13:22  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

Hey HighLow!

From the depth and sanctity of *my* cave, I can agree with both you and St. Jerome. Bottom line is that St. Madge trumps all. We are, in fact, soaking in it.

22 June, 2007 20:11  
Blogger prettylady said...

Sorry to arrive so late, but I just had to say that this is ridiculous. I was, myself, somewhat of a 'freegan' for many years, due solely to dire financial necessity, and I do not regard this as virtuous in any way. As JT says, it is mere freeloading in the fringes of the system they would like to destroy, thus at its bottom it is hypocritical, childish and unrealistic.

I would like to know what is the matter with capitalism? Capitalism is what feeds us. Other economic systems are provably less good at feeding people by several orders of magnitude. Plus they tend to become obstreperously totalitarian.

This sort of hysterical 'non-impact' attitude seems to imply a certain fundamental self-hatred in these people. Whatever happened to 'you are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here'? I am All For sustainability, eating locally and organically, etc. etc. But this neurotic terror of leaving so much as a fingerprint on the planet which produced us strikes me as neurotic in the extreme.

31 July, 2007 22:17  

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