In reading the comments below articles about Mark Boyle or German Sterligov, gentlemen who have renounced the modern world and live simple lives in the country, the former in rural Ireland, the latter in rural Russia, a certain theme was readily apparent: the suggestion that these men, and those like them, are not living up to their own standards and are therefore delusional, self-righteous frauds. Mark Boyle has rubber boots and a plastic greenhouse, so the obvious implication (for some) is that he is a fraud. People, who I would bet, have 2 or 3 TVs switched on at home at all waking hours and are probably on anxiety meds are trying to bust Mark Boyle’s balls for having a plastic greenhouse! Hahaha. Give me a break.
Boyle even states explicitly that he is a work in progress:
“My life has its fair share of irony, and it can look hypocritical. Despite originally writing these words (a technology) with a pencil (a technology) in a hand-crafted cabin (a technology), the irony of this being an online blog is not lost on me. That is my compromise for now, for if you want to contribute to a healthier society, compromise can be a healthy thing if you know your boundaries. Being a hypocrite is always my highest ideal, as it means I’ve set higher standards for myself to strive for than I’m achieving at any one moment.
“We know that, at the very least, some technologies are harming our natural world, our societies and, ultimately, ourselves. Therefore we can recognise the need to reject some technologies. If we’re to avoid technological extremism we’re going to have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. I’ve drawn mine, and I will only move it in the direction of my home.”
Sounds like a fair man to me. His line about “hypocrisy being a high ideal” – obviously limited to a certain way of thinking – struck me as both humble and ennobling. And this line here is especially valuable:
“if you want to contribute to a healthier society, compromise can be a healthy thing if you know your boundaries.”
Neither Boyle nor Sterligov have totally disappeared from the modern world. Both are quite active, each in their own way, of promoting a back-to-nature agenda, and I think this is what must be done. Retreating to the woods entirely does nothing. The system is coming after your woods. By all means, start transitioning yourself and your family to a pre-industrial rural lifestyle, but don’t abandon the work that must be done.
Sterligov makes all kinds of appearances on Russian media. He’s very provocative, engaging, and likeable. You can see how even people who don’t (yet) agree to giving up tech can’t help but like him and agree with him on certain points.
Unfortunately, very little about him exists in English, but I think it is worth translating some things and I would like to do that in the future.
Bottom line, none of this anti-tech stuff is a holier-than-thou competition on a personal level. The goal is to wean as many people as possible off of it. In order to do this, you’re going to need to keep a foot in the modern world and mingle with moderns, at least for a little while. Sure, binge watching a whole season of some Netflix series is not helping you out and is not what I mean by keeping a foot in the modern world, but a guy having a plastic greenhouse or rubber boots is not at all something to find fault with – not in 2018 anyways. Mark Boyle will have probably learned how to makes his own boots before some of us will have turned off our computers for the last time.
Let’s respect the man and respect the potential in all of us to regain our former dignity.