The winter drive from Boulder to Nederland is much less frequented by hitch hikers than in the summer. It’s cold in the Rocky Mountain winter time. A few nights ago, I did pick one up just before starting the ascent. He had a full head of dreadlocks. We started small talking and after not too long he began telling me about his dreams to have a small plot of land and grow all his own food. We talked more about it. He felt strongly about the need to be able to provide for yourself. And was very clear that he didn’t mean monetarily, he meant grow the food that you eat.
The conversation was engaging. He gradually discussed his views, which got more radical by the sentence. He felt that if you weren’t working the Earth, you couldn’t be close to God. That if you weren’t “living off the Earth”, you were just living in Babylon, and falling into the Babylon trap of materialism and the rat race. He said that people who don’t live off the Earth, should just “go back to the Earth” (their physical bodies, that is). I told him that I agreed with the principles of appreciating the Earth, and that when you start to say “there is only one way to God” you might as well be saying “if you don’t believe Jesus died for your sins, you are going to hell.”
We had a very engaged discussion for the remaining fifteen minutes. He stated that everyone should just ignore government and society and take care of themselves, that even trying to change the system only promotes the disfunctioning of the system. I think that depends on how you try to change the system. I brought up Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Ghandi as examples of people that knew how to change the system while being in the system. There are more people that contribute to its disfunctionality by trying to change it inappropriately, but there are those that do it well, and it does create change.
He continued that ignoring the system is what everyone should do. I challenge the notion that everyone should attempt change the same way. I have no issue with people who want to live on the outside of society, but to think that is the only way to live justly is wrong. And even if you would you would still need to gather together with others to trade, help each other out, and relate to. That part of living, and one of it’s greatest joys, is in relating to others. With just a minute before the dropping off point, he said “it would all be better if we just didn’t teach our children how to talk.” That left me speechless.
I really appreciate the opportunity I had to reflect on what’s important to me.